When your entire “garden” is so small you feel embarassed calling it a garden (don’t be ashamed, I’m right there with ya!), you need to think creatively about using your space to get the most out of it, and to make it look bigger. Here are a few ideas I came up with to get you headed in the right direction:
- Emphasize the view. If there is something interesting to look at just off of your balcony or patio, arrange your plants to “frame” that view. If you don’t have a view, but you just purchased an amazing piece of sculpture or have a really cute bird bath, arrange things so that visitors will immediately be drawn to it. A pergola, even a small one, can be used very effectively to create a view like this.
- Create a destination. This may sound crazy on a small balcony or patio, but I’m serious. Put a cafe table and a chair at one end and line the path to the table with pots filled with interesting and beautiful plants. If nothing else, you’ll have a charming few steps before you enjoy your morning coffee at the table and chair. Best case scenario, your destination and path will trick your brain into thinking you have a lot more outdoor space that you really have.
- Be smart about color. I’ve written about color in a small garden before, but another tip is to use bright colored plants in front of green, lush plants. It creates the impression of greater depth than there actually is.
- Create a distraction. Make the flooring so interesting that people are busy checking it out and don’t realize they’re on a tiny balcony. Or paint a wall an eccentric color that gets people talking about the color and not the small size of your space.
- Go GIANT. Try only using a few plants, but the ones you do select should have large leaves (I am thinking bananas and elephant ears). The large leaves will help mix up the scale and make your space seem larger too.