March 22, 2021
How do you like to use your outdoor space?
Whether it's reading the paper, playing ball games with the kids and/or dogs, having a BBQ, quietly enjoying your handiwork in the garden or having friends over for drinks, if you have a small area, it needs to work hard to look good.
Large feature tree
A large tree - planted by yourself or a previous homeowner - pulls your line of vision up, creating the marvellous trick of making a tiny courtyard look bigger than it is. Cover the fence behind it in a high panel of faux or genuine foliage and you have a real sense of space. Add a trompe l'oeil mirror for fun and again, to create the illusion of more space. Have water-resistant wicker chairs underneath to enjoy meals under the shade.
If you don't want your guests to zone out - ie be bored - looking at your tiny courtyard, another option is to split your courtyard into two zones. Perhaps a sunken seating area surrounding a fire pit and a "ground-level" area for say, your dining table, BBQ or, let's be real here, your drying rack. Or a statement-making raised covered platform with a chillout macrame seat swing. Or a lap pool with banana lounges and coffee tables. And so on.
Perhaps you might want to let your kids take over the garden, but you can enjoy watching them from the deck or balcony off your bedroom overlooking the courtyard.
Too much open plan anything actually drives people to find hidey-hole nooks to escape. Maybe you might consider a half-walled garden for private conversations or for your own fruit and veggie patch, or a curving pathway to a secluded spot to suntan, drink a cuppa and read or spread out your yoga mat.
There's no reason you can't enjoy artwork in the garden. A sturdy sculpture provides a point of difference, as does a handpainted mural or even a specially treated artwork protected behind a perspex sheet which won't fade in the sun or run in the rain.
If you can't travel to your favourite destination this year - or the next - why not create your own holiday at home. You could invest in some yellow and white striped Palm Springs style umbrellas and sun loungers under your lemon trees for that movie star feeling. Recreate the charm of the Cote d'Azur with wrought iron cafe furniture on cobblestones or fashion a bolthole straight out of Tuscany with a vine-covered pergola. How about themeing your garden with Balinese umbrellas, bamboo torches and tropical plants to match?
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