The great outdoors

Posted on 10th July 2020

Over the past few months, as our horizons have necessarily shrunk due to lockdown, we’ve all been spending more time in our gardens.

No matter how big your space, simply being outside has a multitude of benefits, from lowering your blood pressure to improving your memory.

In fact, size really doesn’t matter when it comes to gardens – small is very definitely beautiful, and so we’ve rounded up our top tips to help you create an oasis of calm all to yourself.

Compact and colourful

You’ll want somewhere to sit, but don’t choose furniture that will swamp what little room you have. Look for brightly-coloured bistro sets to brighten up the space – if the chairs fold up when not in use, even better.

Or, for the ultimate in relaxation, a hammock can be squeezed into the smallest of spaces and will definitely give you those on-the-beach-in-Ibiza vibes.

Keep it contained

Containers are your friends in a small garden. Even if you only a have a few square feet of yard, a selection of pots filled with brightly-coloured plants can transform your space from drab to fab.

Some plants that work well in containers are begonias and petunias, but, really, the world is your oyster. The only thing to consider is where your plants will be placed – like everything in life, always read the instructions!

Level up

If possible, try to create layers in your courtyard, with raised beds and sunken areas. This gives the illusion of space, as the eye is drawn to the different areas, and also allows you to use each space in different ways.

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Use shelving or A-frames to stack trailing plants, creating an oasis of greenery, or even invest in a mini-greenhouse to grow your own veg – it’s all about giving the eye plenty to look at.

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Don’t look down

So, you may not have much floor space to work with – but what about the sides? Hanging containers and trellis are a great way to add instant colour without taking up valuable room.

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Or, if you’re not feeling very green-fingered, lighting and bunting can help create a cosy, welcoming atmosphere – without you having to get your hands dirty!

Small backyards with high walls on either side can have a tendency to feel more cramped than they are, so create a feeling of space with clever lighting and possibly a coat of paint.

White walls will give you that Mediterranean vibe – especially paired with a glass of sangria at the end of the day!

Waste not, want not

Make sure you use every inch of your space. Brighten up an unloved corner with a colourful plant, or have some large, sturdy cushions available as emergency seating.

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Or if you feeling especially creative, you can make your own bespoke, built-in seating with storage – perfect for hiding all the clutter when you’re not using it!

Light it up

Using lighting in the right way can make all the difference in a small space, and happily, there are loads of options on the market to brighten up your life.

The right lighting can highlight the areas you want to draw attention to – using uplighters for plants or spotlights in your decking – while disguising those you don’t – fairy lights in a past-its-best tree, stake lights in an unremarkable border. And best of all, with so many solar options available, it won’t even cost you a penny.

Fun for all the family

So, you’re probably not going to fit a trampoline or a Premiership-sized goal in the garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it a fun place for the kids too.

Chalks are a great way for children to practice their artistic skills, or draw up their own hopscotch grid, and, best of all, they wash off in the great British weather.

Or, if you don’t mind a bit of muck, a compact mud kitchen can be squeezed in a corner or attached to the wall and provides hours of good old messy fun!

Whatever outside space you’ve got, your imagination is the only limit. A small courtyard can be just as inviting as a three-acre plot – and best of all, you never need to mow the lawn again!

Do you have any top tips to help refresh the look of a small garden? Share your ideas with us by tweeting @ventureprop.