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Owning a large garden is a dream for many, but with a large space comes a similar amount of time to maintain it. In fact, a big area just doesn’t have the cosy feeling a small garden possesses. And getting the most out of your small space doesn’t require intuitive and expensive solutions, just careful and considered planning.

Patios, lawns and abundant borders are all features that you can squeeze into thumbnail outdoor spaces. The key to making them miniature friendly is simply proportion. Strike a balance between green space and a patio and you can double the size of your garden, or at least feel like you have. Narrow borders will actually make your space feel smaller, so be bold and brave. Extend those flower beds out and keep planting bright. As a general rule, hot colours, like reds and dark yellows make a space feel more intimate. Cool colours like light-purples, whites and blues recede the field of vision, making a small space feel larger, while lush borders filled with green leaves and structural planting will create exclusive jungle vibes.

Natural lawns aren’t for everyone or the style of your garden might not call for one. Courtyard gardens are often tiny, mostly paved spaces which still need to be broken up into compartments. And, an entirely paved space can feel even smaller. By blending a gravel garden into a courtyard you’ve opened up the area for pockets of ground planting which are lower in maintenance than container planting and more tolerant to drought. As you know, courtyard gardens are very warm places. Specific seating areas can now be highlighted, and focal points can be achieved for a more interesting space. As for your patio, soften the edges. Remember, straight lines train the eye to not look beyond them. So, stagger 16 paving stones to blend into a lawn (known as ‘racking off’) or curve it around the boundary of the home. A curved patio allows more space where it’s needed, around patio doors or in a position where the garden gets the most sun, and limits patio space in areas only used for access. Of course every patio needs furniture, but the style of furniture is also critical to the size of the space. Bulky, solid furniture will compromise the feeling of space. Instead opt for loose weave garden furniture such as cane or rattan. These almost see-through styles create a light and airy feeling that don’t block any views.

You can find room for a water feature in even the smallest garden and they often run using their own reservoir pump. Water features make great focal points and create a tranquil environment. The market is saturated with many suitable options for small spaces. Blade water features perform vertically and are great for when floor space is limited. Or, if you’re looking for something more traditional, slate monolith water features are great for blending into a cottage style courtyard. Another great way to create the illusion of a bigger space is by adding height. While this may feel intimidating, introducing structures or tall planting in your garden draws the eye upwards and makes the space feel larger in the process. As small spaces are often victims of overlooking neighbours, a pergola or a small garden tree can help fix a privacy problem.

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