Not all of us are blessed with large gardens. Those of us who live in towns have very small ones. Fortunately, with a little imagination and a bit of work, you can make any space look bigger than it is. Professional designers use some very simple tricks to make any garden look larger than it really is. So after experimenting on our own outdoor spaces, here are some simple tricks professionals use to make your garden look bigger.
Using different shapes within a garden space can play tricks on perception that can help it look larger than it is. If you have a square garden, using circles or ovals by making the eye follow the round shape. Using a large circle close to the house and then smaller ones further away can play interesting tricks with perspective. Create a circular or semi-circular patio for a similar effect.
Being clever with your materials can also make a small garden look bigger. Think smaller paving stones than usual to fool the eye with the number of them. Smaller pieces of wood or brick for garden features to make the surrounding plants look larger. For narrow ones, run any decking widthways to make it seem wider. For wider but short gardens do the opposite. Similarly, use smaller stones for gravelled areas or smaller tree bark to protect beds.
Use a mixture of plant sizes to create interest while also making the garden look larger. If you just use small plants, the garden will look small. Just use larger plants and it will look crowded. Mix it up and play with height to create interest that draws the eye away from the edges.
Usually, the proportion of open space to planting is 4:1 in favour of lawn, patio or open areas. It is often worth increasing this in smaller gardens to make those open areas seem larger. When planning your garden, limit bed sizes and plan to trim back plants to keep them in their place.
Clutter is the enemy of small spaces so organisation is key. Anything that isn’t absolutely necessary for your small garden should be put away and out of sight. Use inside storage or subtle outside storage and hide it with your planting. The less clutter there is in your garden, the better it will look.
Use a path
Having a curving path running the length or width of your garden is another perspective trick. The effect is even better if you can hide where the path ends with some protruding beds or tall plants as it makes it look like the path continues forever. Use small patio stones or gravel to increase its effectiveness.
The clever use of lighting works wonders in any space and the same is true for small gardens. This takes a bit of trial and error but you want to create areas of light and shadow with enough light to make the garden inviting but not too much that it looks like a taverna.
Using one, many or all of these tricks to make your garden look bigger can have a dramatic effect when done right. After all, didn’t someone say ‘all the best things come in small packages?’