Small but perfectly formed

I love being able to help people make the most of their outdoor space, but often that space isn’t as large as they would like, and lets face it gardens are getting ever smaller as builders maximise the number of homes they can build on the land allotted for development.

It’s often thought that a tiny garden isn’t worth the effort, that so little can be done in the space, but nothing could be further from the truth. No matter its size, our gardens are where we experience nature most closely, the changing of the seasons from the pleasure of the first flower of spring to the falling of the last leaf of autumn. The insects which pollinate the flowers we choose to grow, the surprising frog hiding in the damp shady patch and all the garden birds we tempt with tasty treats.

I admit that small gardens are challenging, every centimetre must be made to earn its keep, every detail is on show and there is very little margin for error. The budget is often tiny too, but the finished garden is non the less a treasured space, an oasis of calm and colour, bringing nature back between newly built brick walls.

In this garden, besides the owner, there was a very big dog to accommodate, so a small patch of potentially muddy grass wasn’t an option, neither were beds of plants for him to dig up (and worse!). So raised beds full of colourful perennials as well as carefully chosen small trees offered immediate height and a sense of seclusion around a central open stone paved space just big enough for a lounging dog and owner.

There is still plenty of ‘pottering’ opportunity with one bed left for next year’s vegetables, spring bulbs to be planted and for tiny plants like alpines or succulents to be popped in among the pebbles.

In the month since it was technically ‘finished’ on a shoestring budget, a nest box, bird feeders, bee hotels, solar lights and reclaimed finds have been lovingly placed in this tiny space and as a designer I’m as pleased with it as I am with the biggest garden. I know that it will flourish because my client loves it, what more could I ask for.