As property values have increased over the years, a natural consequence has been the reduction in size of the average plot of land. This has been well suited to those who have less time to dedicate to garden maintenance. It’s common for design clients with a small section to request a landscape design with no lawn and a low maintenance garden that can be locked up and left to look after itself for months on end as they travel.
A smaller space can offer distinct landscape opportunities. The possibilities can include defined intimate courtyards, clever use of vertical surfaces, highlighted foliage texture and lighting to create evening ambience. In a smaller spaces, the design becomes more important. A steady, restrained approach is needed to ensure you get the features you require without it feeling cluttered and ‘ad hoc’.
A couple of hints to maximise the impact of a smaller intimate space:
Paving: Use a large paving unit size. This will help the space feel as big as it can. Lots of small paving ‘lines’ will feel busy and overwhelming. Choose a 600x600 paving unit over a 450x450mm if you have the option. Put grouted decorative concrete cuts in a 1000mm grid pattern to give a large format paver effect. Select a wide format decking board over a standard 90mm profile timber.
Focal point: Create a focal point with a design element that becomes the centrepiece of your space. It could be a stunning tree, a feature pot, a piece of sculpture or a decorative corten wall steel wall panel. Position your hero piece where you intend to draw the eye.
Detail: Work hard to ensure the details come together well. Think through the finishes and colours of your material palette, to make sure they are blending to create the contrasts and subtleties you’re looking to achieve.
Plants: The atmosphere of the space will be largely defined by the plant selection. Choose plants with good habit and form that won’t dominate the space but will add colour and texture that reinforce your design outcomes.