Garden Planning Tips Narrow Gardens


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Garden Planning Tips Narrow Gardens : Gardens come in all shapes and sizes, but more common now are gardens that aren’t regular shapes. This creates narrow spaces which might be side alleys or gardens that taper into a point, and these are always a little tricky to design. The problems these odd spaces create is how to maintain usability without the shape dictating the options.

Narrow gardens create three main problems;


  • The boundaries are close together creating a tunnel effect.
  • Space is too limited to grow anything big enough to hide the boundaries
  • Light and Rainfall are in short supply at ground level


garden planning tips narrow gardens. thin narrow courtyard space with an ugly fence between tall houses
Narrow garden spaces can be designed to be better

These boundaries dominate the visual space – you can’t help but notice them. But the second problem is less obvious, but it severely limits your planting and design options. Light and rainfall don’t reach the ground, there are dry shade rain shadows and wet shaded areas that never see any sunlight – so how can plants grow

Lastly, how can the ugly boundaries be hidden when there isn’t enough space for much of anything!


Stopping the Tunnel Effect


The key point you need to remember is how our eyes see the world and we prioritise lines and movement. In the above image your attention will be held by the straight lines. The lines highlight how narrow the space is, so how do you counter this.

Step 1 is to break up the lines – we need to punctuate the long horizontal with vertical elements. Here in this sketch, the mirrors are strong vertical shapes plus these will reflect light into the space.

Step 2 Add movement, use plants that will dance and move with the slightest of breezes BUT only use really tough plants. This area will suffer from low light levels due to the high buildings but also is likely to be in a rain shadow. Plants that thrive in dry shade, with poor soil are ideal; so grasses and plants like Vinca are ideal.

However, because the space is narrow, raise these planters off the ground, the increased light levels above ground will help the plants thrive.


Simple design suits narrow gardens


Garden Planning Tips Narrow Gardens – Top Tip….


Plant up high and use mirrors to create light and depth

Now clearly we could write a book on garden design that will help you plan even the narrowest of gardens better – which is brilliant because there IS a book to help you

I Want to Like my Garden by Rachel McCartain available at Amazon and other online bookstores in eBook and Paperback


garden design book I want to like my garden by rachel mccartain
A little book plug 😉

Get some more design ideas by looking at the gallery of gardens we have created.


Or Contact Rachel@plantplots.com – a little advice is always free.


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