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Nobody can deny gardens are a joy! Not only are they welcome pockets of peace and positivity in an otherwise frenetic and fast-paced world, but they’re also just plain good for you!
Research has shown that gardening in our green spaces is beneficial for our overall health and wellbeing.
Unfortunately, many urban dwellers are low on space. They may feel that having access to any green oasis just isn’t attainable or practical when living in a city apartment or “lock-up-and-go” type of home. But that’s not the case at all. The good news is that with a little imagination and ingenuity, you can transform your abode into a lush oasis. In fact, small gardens have big potential.
Even the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) agrees that a pint-sized “postage stamp” garden can be perfect. Having a small space (which may or may not be entirely paved) is simply no barrier to creating a lush and rewarding living environment. It just takes some savvy space-saving planning and loads of inspiration.
Greenhouses for the gardening win
If you love a bit of sowing, growing, seeding, and weeding, don’t rule out the possibility of a greenhouse in a small garden. It’s the perfect place to escape after a tough day at work to immerse yourself in Mother Nature’s tranquil bliss.
Including a small greenhouse can add a delightful and viable plant-growing dimension to your small but sensational garden space. For some ideas, browse Rhino Greenhouse Direct’s range of greenhouses – there’s one for every budget and space.
Rhino Greenhouse Direct also has a superb array of staging, shelves, and seed racks to maximise your storage and space.
The ”baby” of the Rhino Greenhouses Direct range is only 6ft x 4ft, so it could fit neatly into a convenient corner, and you could surround it with a colourful “mini” mix of perennial plants, which would come up year after year. Whilst it requires very little floor space, there is an abundance of room inside.
Raising the “wow” factor
Adding raised beds or borders, especially if your garden soil is of poor quality, is a quick and easy way to create impact. These Aluminium Raised Beds from Rhino Greenhouses Direct are just the ticket. Once in place, you can get planting straight away. Small raised beds like these can grow a wide variety of flowering plants, herbs (such as mint, rosemary or basil), vegetables (courgettes and cucumbers are popular choices) and fruit (granadillas make great climbers and can be easily contained). The addition of a few flowers provides a pretty pop of colour.
When you’re low on space, you’ve got to think out of the box (or should that be flat or apartment?). If you can’t extend your garden horizontally, why not expand it vertically? Increasing the height can also make your green space appear more spacious by drawing people’s attention upwards. Choose vertical plants and other design features to create a living wall or lush green latticed trellis against a vertical surface.
You can use wood planks or old pallets to construct a shelving unit that will accommodate several tiers of pot-grown veg, herbs, or blooms. Add a few hooks at the top of the unit and suspend some hanging baskets for more variety. Fill your baskets with cheerful flowers such as petunias or delicious fruit and veg such as strawberries or tomatoes. You can also use tall, narrow accessories to create the illusion of height, such as vertical planters or umbrellas.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but smaller areas sometimes benefit from a daring imagination or dramatic décor. There’s no reason to keep things modest – using huge potted plants, bold garden sculptures and decorations can act as eye-catching focal pieces in any small or paved area. Plants such as cannas and philodendrons can add interest and intensity to smaller settings.
Colourful outdoor furniture such as stools, patio tables, seats and benches can immediately transform a petite garden layout. Not only do they add interest and character, but they also serve a practical purpose.
Installing mirrors in your outdoor area will instantly provide the illusion that the space is more extensive than it is. Select a romantic antique mirror for that quintessentially “English country garden” feel and allow climbers and seasonal flowers to grow around it. Or mount a long row of mirrors on the fence or wall at the end of your garden if it’s narrow – due to the optical illusion created, the length of your space will appear doubled. This is a fun idea and ideal for those who enjoy a bit of thrift shop bargain hunting.
Taller planting can make a small garden appear bigger by drawing the eye upwards (much like vertical gardening or living walls). Ironically, trees are one of the most valuable elements in smaller gardens.
There are several trees that are perfect for smaller plots to dot around your paved areas. Bear in mind you want to contribute height without blocking out the sun or your view (if you’re fortunate to stay in an apartment with a drool-worthy view), so slim, tall trees or small to mid-sized trees with light foliage cover providing dappled shade are good options.
Try these tantalising trees (some have lovely blossoms in spring and berries which attract birdlife):
- Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckii)
- Flowering crab apples (Malus Evereste)
- Hawthorn (Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’)
- Rowan or Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
- Silver Birch (Betula pendula ‘Fastigiata’)
Potty about pots
Pots and containers are a natural choice for those who don’t have the luxury of space. Positioned on balconies, patios, around doorways or on paved areas – pots can enhance any outdoor space with welcome bursts of foliage and colour. Many plants that work well in containers are also ideal for border planting in small gardens.
Try the following:
- spring flowering bulbs (alliums, narcissi, tulips)
- Cordyline ‘Pink Star’
- Acer palmatum
- Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Golf Ball’
- dwarf rhododendron
- shrub roses
- Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make some pocket-sized or paved garden magic with these helpful hints and tips.