Small but perfectly formed – design solutions for small gardens from around the world

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I was fortunate to attend the Society of Garden Designers’ Autumn Conference this weekend. It focused on what can be achieved with small gardens (defined as those with plots of 150 square metres or less).    As part of the event and in my role as SGD Council member, I was able to meet the panel of speakers at dinner the evening before.  The dinner and conference combined offered a great opportunity to discuss garden design solutions with eminent designers from different parts of the world, including headline speakers Takeshi Nagasaki (Japan), Willett Moss (USA) and a panel of leading British designers.

One of our small shady garden projects

One of our small shady garden projects

The difficulties presented by small gardens are well-understood: they are often an awkward shape or shady/overlooked, creating a sense of mystery is harder, not to mention tricky access and specific client requirements.  What may be less understood is how inspiring and transformational the design solutions to these issues can be.  For me, despite the clear differences in design philosophy between the speakers this weekend, there was a common thread running through the discussions.  As professional designers we already know that we need to be able to justify every design decision and in a small garden there is absolutely no hiding place for the design choices made. Every detail is on show and therefore has to be extremely well considered.  As one speaker pointed out: ‘every inch of a small garden must earn its place’.

One of our small sunny garden projects

One of our small sunny garden projects

We are lucky at the Garden Company to work on a wide range of schemes, from large country estates to London communal courtyards.  However, I always enjoy designing small spaces because of the potential to really ‘wow’ the client in a short space of time.  Our construction teams find this very rewarding too. A small, well-designed and carefully considered garden can positively transform the way a client lives with and enjoys their garden – it may become a quiet, intimate haven or a place to entertain friends and family in the warmer months. Of course, creating a beautiful space – however small – will enhance the home’s overall appearance (and property value).

If you have a small garden/outdoor space that is underutilised, why not try to look at it through ‘new eyes’ and consider its potential to be transformed into something beautiful? If you are based in London or the
South-East, we would be happy to talk this over with you – do call us on 01442 832666 or email me at james@thegardenco.co.uk

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