Få en liten trädgård att kännas större

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’

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 =)

Cleaning Out Oak Leaves from the Garden

The big oak trees above my garden dropped their leaves over night and made a huge mess. At the same time I’m happy that they’re all gone and I can clean it up in one day.

Oak leaves don’t decompose for at least 2 seasons
Hydrangea ’Limelight’ still looking pretty at the end of the boardwalk

I usually leave most leaves in the flower beds over winter. They make a great mulch and provide protection for the plants. Oak tree leaves however don’t decompose for at least two seasons and look quite messy during that time. So I try to get rid of them during fall.

All nice and tidy!

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

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 ???

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?