1 Small weedy lawn is shaded
2 Fences dominate the space
3 Wheelie bin on show
4 Tiny space for dining
Create a diagonal layout
Setting the garden design on a diagonal slant visually lengthens the area at the same time as distracting from the fences
Lose the boundaries
As soon as you can see the boundaries of a garden you sense how small it is. By clothing the fences in climbers they blend in with trees and shrubs in neighbouring gardens giving the impression the garden never ends.
Scale the features up
Although the temptation may be to place small objects and accessories in a tighter space, this can lead to a twee, dolls’ house effect. Far more effective is to use large items such as the paving slabs, pots, bubbling water feature and key plants in this design.
Double the views with a mirror
You can create the impression of a much larger space by placing acrylic mirrors in the garden such as those used here behind the trellis arch and on the fences. Just remember to ensure these reflect back planting rather than the surprised faces of your garden visitors.
A small space will look fussy if you use too many hard landscaping materials, so here it is kept to a minimum with just the natural stone paving on the ground.
Maximise space, minimise maintenance
The lawn has been removed to make room for a much larger entertaining and dining terrace – a space that can be used year round and requires little upkeep.
With no need for a mower, the shed can be downsized but also upgraded. Here a beautifully stained tool cupboard with a shingle roof no longer needs hiding away in the corner, but instead can become a feature to enjoy.
Hide the bins
The bin is still easy to wheel out of the rear gate but is now hidden behind a trellis screen and the mirror-backed arch.
Frame the garden with a tree
A prunus ‘Accolade’ flowering cherry tree provides a spreading shape which will frame the garden year round and mask houses behind as well as providing spring blossom and autumn colour.
Choose the right plants
Good shade-tolerant groundcover might include Geranium phaeum and Geranium nodosum, Asplenium scolopendrium, hostas, Arum italicum, Lamium maculatum ‘Beacon Silver’ and Convallaria majalis – a lush green and white mix that will go well with ferns. In the containers go for a fern such as Polystichum setiferum – like a scaled down version of the tree ferns.