Pitfalls To Avoid When Designing Small Gardens

Small gardens can present a host of unique challenges, from unwanted shade to restricted access. This article discusses some common pitfalls to avoid, and considerations to keep in mind, when doing the all-important planning for your small garden makeover.

Limited space gardens have to work harder to look good and be functional all year round. They are also often the only private outdoor space an urban dweller has to relax in. Here are some common challenges to keep in mind to make the most of your small garden’s limited space and the limited relaxation time you have to spend in there:

Carefully locate hard landscaping

Trees and large shrubs can have intrusive roots that can leave even the best laid paving stones unlevelled. Ensuring that your new patio or stone paving is strategically positioned around underlying roots and the surrounding planting is vital when planning.

Consider delivery access when choosing materials and furnishings

Urban housing is often located on narrow streets or densely populated blocks with limited access for large delivery vans and trucks. Also, tools and maintenance, and how they are transported to and from the garden, need to be thought through. There is no point installing a lawn in your back garden if there is no side access to get the lawn mower to it for the weekly trim. Traipsing dirty garden tools through the house is a recipe for a lot of cleaning, and will prevent you from considering your garden as the tranquil oasis it should be.

The success of any garden design is often founded on good planning. This is even truer when dealing with small gardens or limited space urban garden projects. I hope this article doesn’t fill you with too much doom and gloom when thinking about your small garden and it’s potential. Small gardens are often the most fun, and rewarding, outdoor spaces to design.
Key planning steps that it’s worth re-iterating are – assess the site thoroughly and carefully. Define areas for privacy. Careful dissection of the space into ‘garden rooms’, using tasteful fencing or contemporary garden trellis, can bring your small garden together into a well-designed whole. Your revamped small garden will give you pleasure and satisfaction for many years to come as it grows and matures.

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