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Small Garden Design


With home developers and builders wanting to get the maximum number of houses on any piece of land slated for development, the property surrounding a house has been getting smaller and smaller. This can be true of even homes with large square footage. The bottom line is:  gardens—both the front yard and the back yard—are smaller than they were 50 or even 25 years ago.


Small garden design is a challenge for garden designers. Designing an effective small garden is not easy, but the same rules of good garden design apply, plus some extra ones:



Even in a small garden, you still need a focal point – The eye needs to be drawn to a focal point, whether that is a tree, a sculpture or a garden pool. A garden design without a focal point looks unanchored at best and disorganized at worst.


Trees – At, we are very careful which tree species we select for small gardens. We don’t want you to have to deal with root systems of trees that are destroying your house's foundation, interfering with your pool, or interfering with the gas or water line.

Everything in a small garden has to do triple duty – We are extra fussy about all plants we select for the small garden. Because part of a garden is watching the seasons change, our criteria is everything in a small garden has to more than pull its weight. We look for species with interesting bark and stems, flowers and fragrance, and fruit in the winter for the birds to eat. Selectivity is the key.


Crabapples, above, have flowers in the spring and fruit that attracts birds in the fall and winter. Dogwoods, below, have variegated foliage in the spring and summer, and stunning red branches for so-called winter interest.


Use the garden walls – Because space is at a premium in a small garden, we love species that can creep up on a fence or trellis.


Create illusions – At, we can create optical illusions that give the impression that there is more space in the garden with pathways that meander off into the distance. Or, with trellises, arbours, pergolas, and garden gates, planted with ivy or clematis, for example.  

Garden design and landscaping consulting in Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Mississauga, Etobicoke, and Toronto.

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