Small Spaces


Small spaces are a delight. They are perfect for garden rooms, human size. They can be  challenging, depending on the shape, light and soil limitations, but so worth the trouble. What a delight for urbanites to find an outdoor sanctuary escape after the stresses of urban existence.

Some courtyard gardens consist of deck or patio with a surround of plants and ornaments, while others have small lawns or multiple rooms because of the way the space is laid out. Each client dreams of a space to do something outside and this informs the design. The existing elements within the space that cannot be changed, such as buildings, garages, trees, and neighboring properties all affect the design in more important ways than in a large space. 

The amount of light in the space affects not only the plant palette, but the placement of elements within the design to take advantage of available sun for plants or avoid placing seating in a location that will be uncomfortable. While clients are often not knowledgeable about plants, they have preferences for glossy leaves, large leaves, a particular color or two and some plants and colors they don’t like. It is more important to learn these preferences in a small space, because the plants are fewer and closer to the occupants.

Soil in urban sites is often less than ideal so soil tests may be required to identify what needs to be done to help the soil support the design and excavation or amendments may be required. It is important to understand how the space will be maintained and watered so these factors can be addressed in the solution. After all, a poorly maintained garden is not a sanctuary, just a disappointment.

Improving your small outdoor spaces and curb appeal can increase your enjoyment of your home and improve the value when it is time to move on. 


Posted on June 11, 2012 .