How to make a small garden feel larger

Cleve West garden tips | DancingRedRanch.comAfter a vigorous morning out in the garden yesterday, I continued the experience inside by reading through my takeaways from last spring’s British garden tour. One of the highlights was the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which included a substantial brochure about seven-time RHS Gold Medalist Clive West’s contemporary paradise garden.

The brochure profiled West, a leading UK landscape designer, and featured his six keys to long-term garden success. One of the keys focuses on the small garden and how to make it look larger. Here’s his advice:

  1. Plant or make screens to obscure the view so you don’t see the whole garden at once.
  2. Greening your fences with climbers helps to disguise your boundaries and soften them, providing more interest than bare timber.
  3. If your garden is long and thin, try dividing it into compartments to create a journey through a series of ‘rooms.’ Lines of hedging or paving going across the garden will make it feel wider than it is.
  4. Place a seat to the side of the garden so that your view is across into the greenery of neighbouring gardens. You are, in effect, borrowing the view. Planting similar trees to neighbouring gardens can increase a sense of harmony.
  5. Changes of level can provide more interest — stepping down into a sunken garden will make the space feel bigger than it is.
  6. Adding a body of water to the garden will reflect the sky.

(Pictured above: Contemporary Paradise Garden by Clive West at the 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.)

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