Small garden design
Gardens are really good for us, helping reduce stress, relax, watch wildlife and soak up the sunshine. However many small gardens don’t live up to the dreams of their owners. The key problem is one of fitting everything in, without it looking cluttered, squashed or muddled. It is just harder to hide ugly sheds, storage units or any ugly views because they are more visually prominent in a small garden. So we’ll help you understand the simple design principles to apply to any small garden design or courtyard space. If you still need some advice, we offer a virtual service to help sort out the design issues in your garden
The most important design principle to understand first is Dead Space.
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What is Dead Space?
It is easy for any small garden design to lose the battle between usable space and dead space.
Avoid creating dead space.
Dead space is space you can’t use; the area under a table is dead space. Dead space is also very visible and will emphasise the lack of space. So to make a garden feel bigger, the first step is to work out where any dead space is and minimise it!
In the above garden, the area around the little brick BBQ has to be kept clear of the flames, this can’t be used for anything else; it is dead space. This volume of unusable space can easily begin to use up a significant portion of any small garden unless you plan for it
Garden sizes have been shrinking for decades, the average size of a typical garden in London is little over ½ the size of a tennis court. The rest of the UK fares a little better but is still on average only 12x16m in size. How you design this small space is key to making the most of the garden.
The best way to minimise dead space is to think about the area and the features you need in the garden in 3 dimensions. It’s a bit like 3D Tetris, you need to box together those features in such a way as to minimise any gaps – the gaps constitute dead space.
If it all fits together neatly, you will pack more into the garden and it will be the most efficient use of space.