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Small Garden Design

Få en liten trädgård att kännas större

trädgång trädgård liten

Här är min trädgård. Jag möts av den här vyn när jag öppnar altandörren på baksidan av vårt radhus. Trädgården är inte mer än 80 kvm men med några små designknep känns den större.

Ett av knepen är att vi har lagt gångstigen på diagonalen. En diagonal stig blir längre än om den hade varit rak. En längre stig får hela trädgården att kännas längre.

Ett annat trick är de små nivåskillnaderna som är mellan stigen, altanen och soffplatsen. Nivåskillnader får ögat att uppfatta trädgården som flera, mindre rum snarare än en helhet. Uppdelningen får det att kännas större än vad det faktiskt är.

Gångstig på diagonalen får den lilla trädgården att kännas större

Trädgången svänger av i slutet och skapar en känsla av att det finns mer trädgård bakom väggen. I själva verket står där en kompost =)

Buxbomhäcken i slutet binder ihop trädgården med den gröna backen ovan. Det får ögat att tro att den stora backen hör ihop med trädgården. Plantera växter i kanterna av den lilla trädgården som smälter in i omgivningen.

Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’

Rhododendron 'Midnight Beauty'

När jag trodde att kvällarna i trädgården inte kunde bli vackrare så börjar Rhododendronen att blomma. Å så fin den är med sina stora blommor och djuprosa färger. Dessutom är humlarn himla förtjusta i den.

I min trädgård kikar fram från bakom pergolan. Den kommer växa till sig lite mer och då synas ännu mer.

Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’ blir 150-175cm hög och trivs i halvskugga, gärna under större träd eller buskar som släpper igenom lite solljus. Den bör planteras i jord Rhododendronjord.

Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’ kikar fram bakom pergolan
Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’
Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’ passar fint ihop med den färgen på Palettblad som står på bordet
Pergolan med den Japanska lönnen ’Orange Dream’ som nu skiftat färg från orange till limegrön.
De djuprosa blommorna Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’
Även knopparna är fantastiskt vackra på Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’
Min storbladiga, skuggiga rabatt med Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’, Rodgersia Tabularis, Parasollblad (Astilboides), Japansk lönn (Acer japonicum ‘aconitifolium), Funkia (Hosta ‘Gold standard’), Strutbräken (Matteuccia struthiopteris) och Vintergröna (Vinca minor) som marktäckare.
Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’ går fint ihop med de mörkröda bladen av Blodplommon ’Nigra’ (Prunus cerasifera)
Omtyckt av humlor!
Pergolan och Rhododendron ’Midnight Beauty’ på kvällen. Mys =)

Stunning Fall Colors in the Small Garden

The colors in the garden at the peak of fall incredible, much thanks to the huge oak trees. The brownish foliage creates such a dramatic backdrop. They will keep on to their leaves for just a couple more weeks. Then come a windy day and and a lot of the leaves will fall into my garden. It’s worth it though. The show they bring is stunning and I don’t minde spending time outside, raking.

I made a post about the importance of incorporating the surroundings into a small garden. Here’s an example of the color of the boardwalk blending with the color of the oak trees.

Garden Makeover – 4 Tips on How to Design a Small Garden

Trädgårdsdesign göteborg natalia lindberg

I found these old pics of the garden. I though that I would share them and also share my learnings from designing a small garden.

First year in the new house was all about cleanup. We removed all things broken and old. Among them was an arbor with ”sticks” stuck to it. Turns out that the sticks were a climbing rose.

Tip #1 – Do not remove any plants the first year in a new garden!
Wait it out a whole season and see what you’ve got. You might be lucky enough to inherit a garden full of lovely plants! Some of them, like bulbs, you won’t even be able to see at first.

Next step was to get grass! I had a romanticised idea of walking out into the garden in the morning and feeling the grass between my toes. What I didn’t know was that grass requires drainage. Rain water needs somewhere to go or otherwise the grass roots, and any plant roots really will have no air and die. Our soil was hard clay with no drainage what so ever. Rain would cause water puddles to form and the grass looked miserable.

Tip #2 – Check the soil type and drainage. Don’t spend money plants before you’ve got those two in place.
The solution in my garden was raised beds. I’ve build 20-50 in (25-50cm) high raised beds out of wood. I’ve lined them with plastic and filled them with well draining soil.

Year two was about planting. Since I didn’t know much about plants I started off small. I planted a shrub in one corner and a handfull of perennials here and there. I remember feeling a bit disappointed. The end result wasn’t what I had imagined. The garden looked cluttered.

Tip #3 – Small gardens need big plants or big groups of plants for impact.
Choose one type of perennial and plant groups of 8-12. It might sound a lot but that’s how many you’ll need to avoid it feeling cluttered. Also, repeat the same groups throughout the garden. For example, I use red Heucheras in several places to create a coherent impression.

Eventually I got fed up of stepping around in wet soil. I wanted a material that I could walk on that felt soft and dry. Wood met that criteria and also was easy to work with. So I built a wooden boardwalk all though the garden and behind the pergola. I’ve described why I put it on the diagonal in a previous post, a design choice I’m very happy with.

Tip #4Challenging parts of the garden like wet areas or shade can become the most interesting with some imagination and creative ideas!

Before and After

My Little Helpers 🐰🌳💛

Giant Bird Feeder

Giant Bird Feeder from Wildlife Garden

I love wildlife in the garden! We get quite a lot of birds, butterflies, bees and occasionally a mouse and a toad. Since the garden is small and can’t fit that many things at once I usually swap the bee boxes for bird feeder in the fall.

This year I’ve got this giant bird feeder from Wildlife garden. I hope to pack it full so it will last more than a few days before I need to go out and refill it.

Giant Bird Feeder from Wildlife Garden
Giant bird feeder
Giant Bird Feeder from Wildlife Garden
View from the pergola. The bars are there to keep our bunnies out of my plants =)
Giant Bird Feeder from Wildlife Garden

Smooth Serviceberry ”Snowflakes’ – a tree for a small garden

Amelanchier Laevis ’Snowflakes’

The serviceberry glows in the morning sun. It has just begun to turn color and the orange and red leaves are looking beautiful.

We planted this tree in early spring. It’s still quite small but has already given us a taste what it will bring in terms of year-round interest: pretty white blooms in spring, red berries in the summer and gorgeous colors in the fall.

It’s a perfect tree for a small garden since it only gets 13-15 feet tall and wide.

It can grow in sun to part shade. I did read that it needs full sun to get the prettiest fall colors. However, mine get only 6h sun a day and it doing just fine.

Make a Small Garden Look Bigger – Incorporate the Surroundings

At the end of my garden is a green boxwood hedge. The green color of the hedge is similar to the color of the large trees in the background. They blend together so well that if you look quickly, it almost looks like they are the same. The hedge adds an impression that these huge trees are part of the garden – making the garden appear much bigger.

Take advantage of you surroundings and incorporate the colors, structures and plants into you garden, especially to the borders.

Behind the boxwood hedge is a small road that the hedge hides so neatly. All you see from the garden are the gorgeous trees.

Virginia Creeper Climbing Vine

The foliage of the Virginia Creeper goes from deep green to deep, dark red in the fall

In a few weeks the foliage of this Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) will turn deep, dark red. It will look even more dramatic than it already does against the black trellis. This is one gorgeous and tough climber.

Virginia Creeper to the left and Boston Ivy to the right. The two intertwine and will bring year-round interest

I planted the Virginia Creeper just a few months ago and it has grown like crazy, despite half bad conditions. It’s in a shady and dry spot where other plants have died. This one doesn’t seem to mind at all.

The Virginia Creeper can take full sun to shade and pretty much any type of soil.

Climbers are a must in a small garden. They bring lushness and coziness even to the smallest of spaces.

Virginia Creeper to the right and Boston Ivy to the left

Focal point in small garden with Hydrangea ’Limelight’

Hydrangea ’Limelight’ really glows, especially during dusk. The blooms shine even more when planted against a dark boxwood hedge. There, they create the most beautiful focal point.

Small gardens in particular need something that directs the eye to the furthest part of the garden: a strong focal point that adds depth. It could be a tree, or a shrub. Or perhaps some furniture, a pretty container, or some other garden decoration.

Hydrangea ’Limelight’ glows during dusk

How to choose your focal point

Here are a few things you should think about when choosing a focal point for a small garden.

  • To not disappear into the surroundings, a focal point needs a background. It can be a hedge, a wall or a group of shrubs of the same kind. To not blend into one another, make sure the colors of the background contrast the focal point. Bright blooms against a dark background never disappoint!
  • Go for big rather than small. A good size shrub or small tree makes e a bigger impact than a few perennials. Then again, a proper group of perennials with some height makes for a beautiful focal point.
  • Make sure your focal point has a long peak period. You want it to last for the most part of the season.

Make your garden appear bigger – place a path on the diagonal

The longest line in your garden is on the diagonal. Take advantage of it by placing you main garden path on the diagonal, making it as long as possible. A long path will make the whole garden appear bigger.

To trick the eye even more we’ve made the end of the path slightly narrower. Point A is only 65 cm (25 inch) wide while point B is 70cm (27 inch) wide. This adds to the perception of perspective making point A seem further away than it actually is when viewed from point B.

Point A is narrower than point B

The main path in my garden is a wooden boardwalk but the idea of a diagonal path works with any any material.

The boardwalk takes a turn behind the pergola, creating even more interest. Wonder what’s hiding there?