How do you turn a small garden space, deck or balcony into a beautiful and functional space?

Design ideas for small gardens Melbourne | RenoVogue

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and when dealing with a small garden the creative drive comes from the need to optimise the space available. With some thoughtful design, and careful planning,  a small garden space can be made to appear bigger than it is, creating an oasis from the world outside.

Here we have eight great ideas for making the most of small spaces.

1. Go Vertical

Vertical gardens are a great way to use the most of the available space. Green walls soften the hard lines of buildings and allow far more plants to be used than otherwise would be possible. Vertical structures can be used to create intrigue, or sections that give the illusion of depth within the garden.

Modular kits are available commercially, or you can create you own an assortment of materials, such as reinforcement mesh, wooden pallets, changing pots or repurposed canvas storage organiser to name a few.

Vertical gardens aren’t restricted to just decorative plants either. You can plant crops such as strawberries, lettuce, herbs, etc.

2. Incorportate Climbing Plants

Climbing plants such as star jasmine, roses, ornamental grapes, etc add drama to a garden while not taking up space. Whether planted in pots or in the ground, climbing plants are perfect around pergolas, verandah posts, train along walls, etc. Like vertical gardens they help soften the environment, and add a interest to a small garden space.

3. Visual Transition of Inside and Outside

In small spaces it helps to create the illusion of space by transitioning the indoor and outdoor areas visually. Use similar materials and colours to create a feeling of continuity between the spaces, making each feel larger. Continuing a floor covering such as tiles form the inside to the out helps to create a seamless flow. This can be further enhanced by the use of similar colours and accessories in both spaces.

Screening an outdoor area on the side can make it feel more room like, and and adding lighting, outdoor rugs, heating and art make the area functional and inviting.

Design ideas for small gardens Melbourne | RenoVogue

4. Layered Plantings

Layering plants in the garden beds helps to create the illusion of depth. Start with low-growing groundcovers at the front and small shrubs or perennials behind them.

A back layer of taller plants such as small flowering trees, bamboo or dwarf fruit trees, helps provide screening and vertical interest as well.

5. use Pots & Planters

You can add greenery to your deck or courtyard with big pots and planters large enough to grow small trees, shrubs and possibly herbs and vegetables as well. Plants of different sizes can add layers and interest to the garden, even if room is limited.

It’s important to choose varieties that work well in pots and that are suited to the local environment. Consider having some of the larger pots sit on bases with castors to allow them to be moved easily. This allows you to change the environment to suit your needs at will.

Design ideas for small gardens Melbourne | RenoVogue

6. Espalier and Pruning

Fruit trees may seem impractical in a small area, but a great solution is to espalier the trees to grow horizontally along guide lines or walls  and fences. A small garden using this method is no impediment to having a garden that provides a bountiful crop.

Pruning shrubs into hedges can create zones or architectural lines in the garden. Larger shrubs and trees can be used to create privacy screens. Topiary can be used to add design and flair to a garden with taking up large amounts of room.

7. Go For Evergreen Plants

Evergreen plants are great for small gardens as they maintain their appearance year in, year out without the need to be replaced. Choosing the right colur foliage can make small areas feel larger.  Go for lighter colours such as light green, grey and silver..

Design ideas for small gardens Melbourne | RenoVogue

8. Hang those Baskets!

Hanging baskets are another way to use the vertical space in a small space.  You can grow a multitude of varieties in basket from colourful perennials, cascading plants or herbs.

These 8 simple tips can help turn a small space into a garden area that is welcoming and a pleasure to use. Happy gardening!