If you’ve got a postage-stamp sized garden and it's, well, a little lacklustre, relax, you’re not alone. We had a natter with the green-fingered demigods ofWinterbourne House about upgrading your lawn to a mini piece of paradise.
Location and scale
A small garden doesn't mean you need to keep features equally diddy. To maximise impact, throw caution to all the weathers and go big with large plants or focal points. Planting vertically is a great use of space — utilise walls, fences and balconies.And never waste a good view but conversely, if the view is less than salubrious, use an evergreen climber to cover it. Something with a small footprint, such as a clumping bamboo, will give the desired effect and create movement.
Landscape and lawn
When planning the garden layout, use curves to divert the eye. A curved path adds interest, especially if you can’t see what's at the end. For winter colour aim for between 60 and 70% evergreens and shrubs. In the warmer months, good lawns essentially add an outdoor "room" to your house, but it doesn’t need to be bowling green smooth. Avoid mowing too regularly to encourage a wild-looking, textured lawn with long grass.
Add interest and colour by planting in containers. Pots are useful to change things up throughout the seasons, if space won’t allow for seasonal beds. At Winterbourne they have acres to play with, so can plant large herbaceous borders, but when space is limited, ‘luxury plants’ (ie. those that don’t have longevity or give interest for an extended period) are not ideal. Don't let them tempt you, damn it!
You don’t even need a garden to grow veg – rocket and spring onions can grow on a balcony. Runner beans are perfect where space is tight, but you can grow upwards. If you’re feeling confident 'companion planting' involves growing different produce in the same container, harvested at different times. If the area is shady, it's best suited to leafy veg, while a sunny spot is where your fruit and root veg growing should be.
If you don't have a garden or balcony, bring the outside in. Apply the same principles of scale, using many, smaller plants or a few big pieces of green to achieve a whole lot of impact. Ivy and ferns — such as the Maiden Hair Fern — grow well in bathrooms due to the damp environ, as do air plants. Cacti and succulents also do well indoors — a cactus can survive months without water but require light aplenty.