The average UK house size is shrinking dramatically, and sadly, so are our gardens – dwindling to an average of 12m2 in 2014. This isn’t for lack of demand, as a good-sized garden is still high up on priority lists when house-hunters are searching for new properties.
If you’ve managed to find a home with a garden larger than a postage stamp, then congratulations: you’ve already done the hard part. Now you just need to figure out how to make the most of your space so you can enjoy it for years to come. If you’re stumped for ways to make your modest garden feel like a paradise, here are a few suggestions:
Divide and Conquer
The most important step is to split your garden into zones. Determine what your household needs most from a garden – a seating area, somewhere for children or pets to play etc. – and use pathways, flowerbeds and decking to define those areas. Giving a purpose to previously “dead” spaces will make your garden seem much bigger, and you will be more likely to use the places you’ve designated to certain activities.
Take the Plunge
You don’t need a sweeping estate to enjoy the indulgence of a private swimming pool, and who would just love one?Plunge pools and exercise pools only need a few metres of space, yet can provide the same luxury lifestyle and fitness benefits as a full-sized pool. Hotter summers and the popularity of “staycations”, are making private pool installation increasingly attractive, and modern heating systems make swimming comfortable when the temperature drops.
If you love the idea of taking an evening dip but want something a little more convenient, a hot tub might be exactly what you need. Perfect for relaxing with a book, a loved one or a bunch of friends, hot tubs are easier to install and can be enjoyed all year round.
Take to the Tiles
Fitting sliding or bi-fold doors to a kitchen-diner at the rear of your home is an excellent way to make both your indoors and outdoors feel much bigger, without sacrificing space in either. In summer, you can effortlessly make your mealtimes al fresco and even in colder months you can enjoy the beautiful view.
If you need additional seating, attaching benches to your exterior walls will make the most of every corner, and can be designed to fold away when not in use. Visual streamlining will also make your patio seem more spacious, so stick to one or two main colours or patterns, and opt for well-proportioned, minimalist furnishings.
Look to the Skies
Remember that your garden doesn’t have to be on the ground. Flowers or herbs in hanging baskets, vertical gardens and stacked planters will draw the eye upwards, and can save valuable lawn space. If you have the space, arbors, trellises and pergolas add dynamic points of interest, offer an excellent support for climbing plants and can be used to create romantic nooks for reading or dining.
Make Room to Grow
If your home seems to be bursting at the seams but you don’t want to forever lose part of your garden to an extension, now might be the time to look into pre-fabricated garden pods. Much more than a shed, specialist pods provide an extra indoor space, complete with running water and electricity if you need it.
Often used as home offices, garden pods are also ideal for fitness studios, spare bedrooms or entertainment spaces. There are hundreds of styles to suit various budgets and size requirements, and many are below the minimum size requirement for planning permission applications, making them an extremely convenient way of expanding your home.
Once you get started on your plans to update your garden, you will probably be surprised at how much space you really have. With the warm weather finally here, it’s time to make the most of it!