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A long, skinny yard can be a design challenge, but there’s still a lot you can do to create your perfect outdoor space. Start brainstorming your narrow garden ideas by considering whether you want to keep the shape or change it.
Perhaps you want to be able to see the length of your garden backwards, perhaps where you’ve planted a beautiful tree, or perhaps you want to zone the space to distract from its narrowness. If your narrow garden is also short on space then don’t panic there are still plenty of small garden ideas that you can incorporate.
Small garden ideas
Tom Massey, director of Tom Massey Studio and designer at BBC2 Your garden perfectedShe’s a big fan of zoning a narrow garden. “It just means dividing the garden into different areas,” he shares. “Try to place your dining area at the end of your garden rather than outside of the dining room, which means you have to take a journey to get there, making it much more of an event and experience.”
A narrow garden should be nothing to fear; Think of it as an exciting design opportunity, a way to literally push those boundaries. Whether you want to zone a garden or run wild, plant, cover or pave your way to a new looking garden, you will find many narrow garden ideas to inspire you.
1. Break up a narrow garden with straight lines
The temptation with a narrow garden is to push everything back to the side boundaries and leave as much space as possible in the middle. However, just as moving the furniture away from the walls of your interior makes it feel bigger, this stylist’s trick can also work outdoors.
Create a seating area that spans the width of your narrow garden by varying the length of your sofas or built-in seating, while planting behind them helps break up the length. Use different landscaping designs to avoid a “runway” from one running the length of your yard. Sod, decking and bark create different textures and divide a long, narrow garden.
2. Share it with Landscaping
Splitting the width of a narrow yard can make it feel wider, especially when there’s a big change in landscaping materials – such as a garden tile. B. from turf to slate. Avoid choosing just one material – and if you want to draw attention to your garden, try mowing your lawn with strips running its length, while stepping boards running across it can make it appear wider.
There are many tips and tricks when it comes to planning a small garden; If you share the length of your narrow yard with materials, then a decking or decking area that runs across the back of your narrow lot brings those two parts back together.
3. Play with angles
Create a fun geometric design with pavers – it’s the perfect solution for a narrow garden, as the eye is drawn to the hard lines of the flooring rather than its narrowness. Position furniture across pavement lines like that… it’s all about having fun with those angles.
Use the planting to cut into the paving shapes and soften where needed, while trees planted two-thirds the length of the garden draw the upward gaze, provide canopy and space set out.
4. Zone a dining area
Just as we zone areas in a large garden, so too does a narrow plot – it’s a great way to divide up your length. These zones can blend into one another with similar floor coverings, or they can feel much more separate with different planting schemes.
Also, steal interior design tricks for your small patio ideas, such as: B. painting a feature wall and hanging a mirror. Think about the shape of your patio furniture; A square set creates an intimate vibe perfect for summer al fresco lunches.
5. Make your path a feature
Paths do not always have to follow a boundary. In a narrow garden, try bringing the path to the center where you can plant around it to encourage blurring of the edges.
Play with form – a curving path leading behind a circular lawn leads the eye around, rather than just down the length of a narrow garden. Choose materials that reflect your planting during bloom—allium and agapanthus in white pick up on the clapboard and light slate stones.
6. Plant a hero tree in the middle of the stage
Go big with a palm tree planted in the middle of a narrow garden – it becomes the talk of your property rather than its shape. Such an amazing tree needs to be seen, so instead of planting it on the border, make it a hero and yes, you can have a big tree in a small garden.
Use a central tree to break up different zones, with a relaxed seating area behind the tree’s planting bed and a bistro space in front. It will also provide color and shade all year round. For more small garden inspiration, check out our guide to making a small garden look bigger.
7. Install a garden room below
A long yard offers a great opportunity for a garden room or downstairs home office, a space where you can enjoy WFH or a little peace and quiet away from everyday family life. It’s a great way to divide the space into more usable areas.
Use different landscape designs to break the path to the garden room or home office and make your path more interesting.
8. Paint fences black
Visually push the sides of your yard outwards by painting your perimeter fences black. While this may seem odd, it works by making each planting pop and adding layers of interest and depth – your eye thinks the space is bigger than it is.
Your property appears wider because you took the focus away from the fence. It’s also a great garden idea on a budget.
9. Design a feature from steps
If your narrow yard is vertical, like a set of steps leading to a patio, then avoid the temptation to run steps the full width, thinking it will make it feel wider. Instead, try a tiered planter design, each one double the height of a tier.
The planters can be planted with ferns and grasses, which balance the architectural lines of the steps.
10. Take advantage of the walls
In a narrow garden, think tall and use the walls for a vertical herb garden that can hang above pots and planters on trellises or a wooden frame. Here, too, the view upwards distracts from a long garden.
You can also use this idea to screen off parts of your garden – simply mount it in a raised planter placed at right angles to your boundary fence.
How can I make my garden appear wider?
The challenge is finding ideas that will make your garden appear wider than it is, using every corner, especially if your narrow garden is also on the small side. Literally use some interior design tricks such as: For example, laying decking boards across the width (instead of lengthwise) and zoning the space to create areas of interest.
This can be a bistro set for coffee close to home, an herb garden a little further offering a sensory moment, followed by a lawn section, then maybe your dining set to catch most of the evening sun. The division into sections will break up the visual length of your garden and also make it appear much less narrow.
Tom Massey says paint the fence black in a narrow garden. “This makes it recede and can instantly make the room appear wider.”
How can I zone a narrow garden?
Do this the same way you would do it in your own home. First think about what you want to use your garden for and then think about preferences or practicalities (e.g. do you want an outdoor kitchen/barbecue area next to the house or not?).
Use hard landscaping to create these zones, with planting to encourage you to move from one to the next. Play with levels too – a narrow garden doesn’t necessarily mean a flat garden.
Walls, raised beds, and built-in seating can all create mini outdoor spaces along their length. Don’t rule out structures either, as a pergola is a great way to elevate your garden’s floor, encouraging you to look up and alleviating the feeling of being cramped.
Think about how you would get from one zone to the next – something as simple as zigzagging stepping stones works great.