Brighton Transformation – Small Spaces

From a restricted and tight space, to an effective and functional courtyard; this garden was transformed thanks to a combination of simple design principles, creating the illusion of comfortable depth and space.

The challenge of this recent project for Jane Jones Landscapes was how to overcome the problems presented by small gardens, specifically narrow garden beds and lack of space for plantings. Faced with the restriction of space, we needed our design to make the most of the environment at our disposal.

The first task was to turn the small and inconspicuous front entrance into a more functional entrance to the large home. It was also a chance to make more of a statement of the space. By widening and repaving the entrance path to the front door, straight away it appeared larger and was easier to access. Such an improvement for the space!

Though by widening the entrance path, the side garden beds were even smaller and narrower than before. When you can’t go across, you must go up! In this small space, the use of vertical planting and layering gave the yard a greater depth, interest and complexity. As versatile plants, climbers can provide the perfect solution for small gardens. They require very little foot space, can grow in narrow garden beds and can be trained onto walls or fences via fixed cabling or lattices. We used Trachelospermum Jasminoides in this project; it provides rich and beautiful evergreen foliage and where there is no room for trees and planting of height, a climber can bridge the height difference between house and garden, unifying them and providing a softening appearance.

Opposite the entrance we had a deeper garden bed to work with. Within this space we placed two feature pots, which are visible not only from the front door, but also the gate entrance. These pots are to be treated like large ornamental vases that will be replanted around every eight weeks with seasonal plantings, ensuring constant colour and impact, giving greater interest and complexity to this garden. The client constantly fills the interior of her home with beautiful floral arrangements, so we felt that it would be appropriate for the exterior to reflect and mirror this.

The last feature modified in this project was the front entrance gate, which we replaced with a more decorative and transparent gate. This not only created a greater aesthetic appeal to the garden as a whole, but also created more visibility for the client to enjoy this newly renovated and improved space.

Through the use of vertical layering and a simple, limited plant spectrum, this small courtyard garden avoids a cluttered appearance and as a result has ultimately been given a greater sense of space.