Firstly, it’s important to note the size of your outdoor space, some spaces can handle certain furniture and accessories, even plant pots. I understand having dreams of an open pizza oven with a luxurious double-seated egg chair, shaded by the grand pergola covered with rose climbing Zéphirine, but this would be far too chaotic for my little oasis. The idea is to be realistic with what could complement the space.
It’s exciting, decorating your petite plot but try to add accessories a little at a time, we don’t want to make the area cluttered. The intention is to create a well-portioned outdoor area, with furniture that compliments the space, this could be egg chairs (I won’t be jealous, promise), sofa seats or even a bistro set. Ensure it allows room to manoeuvre, nobody wants to stub their baby toe on the metal leg of a chair, ouch!
Creating zones in your outdoor space can help to make the most of what you have and consideration of where to have your seating area is important. Most importantly deciding if you’re placing this area in the sun or the shade. Of course, if you have a balcony for example, there may not be an option but a simple parasol could combat any sun exposure worries. If privacy is a bit of an issue, well-placed shrubs, plants and even artificial hedge trellis or bamboo-style reed fencing for a more natural look, can create some screening and make the area more cosy.
Once you’ve planned your garden arrangement, choosing space-saving designs will be your best friend. If you enjoy entertaining, outdoor dining (let’s face it, nothing beats starting your day with breakfast in the sun), or just a relaxing lounge area, there’re some great compact furniture picks out there.
● Foldable furniture is fantastic as you can easily tuck it away in your garden or even bring it indoors when you’re not using it.
● Tall garden furniture is an ideal option for narrow gardens or balconies as it doesn’t command much floor space.
● Cubed furniture is the ultimate space-saver hero as it can neatly interlock and be tucked away neatly.
Designing our smaller outdoor space requires us to get in touch with our inner Derren Brown, we must create the illusion of additional room. A clever and easy way is to simply draw the eye up and around the space, why not try and create a walled or vertical garden with pallets, and free up that precious floorspace or get yourself some lovely outdoor lighting and string them along overhead or on your fence. If you’re working with a balcony or courtyard garden and you’re wanting some additional depth of colour, an easy and hassle-free option would be to lay down some good quality artificial grass. Larry Speare offers artificial grass which is sold at a competitive price and is of a really high standard. Of course, outdoor rugs are a great alternative and can create a lovely boho vibe to any outdoor space. Creating levels is a fantastic way to separate areas and create zones which I previously mentioned. Decking is great for uneven terrain as you can float the decking over it - an inexpensive alternative can be wooden pallets.
Of course, we may all be manifesting that bigger plot with a swimming pool and a tennis court, but until there, let’s talk plants and pots. The natural thought process would be, a small garden, small pots and plants, right? Nope. In fact, it can make your space look quite fussy and let’s not even talk about how high maintenance it would be, not to mention all that extra back bending! The only thing your back should be doing is laying out in your garden with a cool glass of something delicious!
Choosing a few statement items will have much more of an impact in a smaller space, and remember, draw the eye up and around the space. Place hanging baskets or ornaments on surrounding fences, placement on pedestals and plant stands will have a great impact.
We all know the importance of colour and the roles they play paying tribute to anything from your clothes to your home, but this is especially powerful when it comes to visually enhancing your garden.
Darker tones can make your space feel enclosed and small, which is the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve. Opting for light, cool coloured tones whether that’s through the selected plants or furniture and materials, it’ll help to open up the space. Don’t doubt those neutral colours either, they’re anything but boring. Paired with the perfect potted plant or coupled with a cosy cushion, it can make your space feel refreshed. The same goes for your fence too, banish harsh boundaries and choose a colour that blends in with your garden.
What better way to double the size of your garden, than placing a large mirror against your wall – I recommend using acrylic mirrors rather than glass for health and safety. Ensure to meticulously place the mirror as nobody wants to tuck it into their evening meal with the site of the wheelie bins reflected at every angle. Remember, we’re channelling our Illusion skills here, so be sure to hide the mirror’s edges with either close-knit hedge trellises or climber plants. For continuality, perhaps cover the rest of the wall with it too.