Small Garden Design: The Problems
A small garden design comes with big challenges. Perhaps your property abuts the two-story blank wall of a neighbor’s townhouse. Maybe the space is all straight lines and right angles. Or you’ve remodeled your home, changed the elevation, added a new room and reduced the size of your backyard, all of which affect the relationship to the existing landscape.
Turning Liabilities into Assets
With small garden design, as with all landscape design, the goal is to create spaces in which the home and architectural elements have a relationship with the yard and surrounding area. First, consider the big picture-your assets and liabilities. Begin by looking at the large, possibly immoveable factors, such as trees, a long fence-line or pool equipment, and decide if they are liabilities or assets. In this way, you test the viability and capacity of the site, a determination that will help clarify your landscape design options. Landscape designers or landscape architects can bring expertise and experience to this process.
Small Garden Design: Features to Consider
Hardscapes. Decks, patios, pergolas, arbors and gates can be used to help define a small space, break it up or create interest. These choices, in effect, create other rooms. Your material selection adds further texture, thus making the space livelier.
Water features such as swimming pools or outdoor water fountains. Swimming pools can be custom-made to fit into a small garden design. Also outdoor water fountains can be used to good effect in small gardens. Water features create movement and pleasant sounds, both elements that heighten your enjoyment of a landscape.
Landscape lighting. Landscape lighting, in particular, can bring an element of drama to a small space. It is good to keep in mind that your landscape is viewed at night for about 30 percent of the time. Since so many people work and don’t come home until after dark, landscape lighting means homeowners can still enjoy their outdoor property, whenever they get home. It turns the landscape into a 24-hour event. Landscape lighting is also very practical as it provides security and nighttime lighting for any tricky steps.
Infrastructure, like irrigation systems and drainage systems. Irrigation and drainage systems are the work-horses of Houston gardens. Sprinkler systems deliver water to plants during our long, intense summer months and drainage systems take away excess water when we get our infamous torrential rains. They save money, time and worry.
The Heart of Small Garden Design
Jeff Halper, landscape design specialist with Exterior Worlds, says, “The overall objective of any great landscape design, including small garden designs, is to create a space that breathes with the home and has a relationship to its surroundings. It should reflect the client’s visual desires and functionally work together in every aspect.”
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