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A garden designer's tips for small gardens

Lottie Delamain, who has launched a remote garden design service for DIY gardeners, shares her expert tips for creating space and style in small gardens

By House & Garden | October 11, 2021 | Gardens

By the end of 2020 we will all be very well acquainted with our homes and if we are lucky, with our gardens. The green embrace of nature has become a source of comfort for many.

The sheer opportunism and determination of plants are an important reminder that no matter what is playing out in the geo-political sphere, nature persists.

Nonetheless there are plenty of people who will have been left stumped by the prospect of taming their gardens which is where the garden designer Lottie Delamain comes in.

Lottie has launched the clever and affordable ‘Self Sown Ideas’ - a remote garden consultancy service.

‘My aim is to demystify the world of garden design and provide an accessible way to get started in redesigning your garden for a fixed cost’ she explains. ‘

I want to give assurance and inspiration to both total novices, to those who have some experience and to those stuck in a rut, to ultimately help people to find joy in plants and in their garden - all from the safety of our homes.

The service is designed to be semi-DIY - I provide the inspiration and resources to enable clients to make the changes themselves.’

Here she offers some of her designs as examples of how a small garden can be transformed with a little DIY and elbow grease.

Create garden 'rooms' with horizontal planting

This garden was designed for a couple who like to use their garden for relaxing, drinking their coffee in the mornings and wine in the evenings, and they wanted it to look lovely from the house. It's a small garden, and people are often scared of dividing up this kind of space, worrying that they will make it look smaller.

On the contrary, creating screens of horizontal planting gives a sense of journey and a bit of intrigue and makes the viewer wonder what’s at the other end.

These horizontal screens, along with the central path down the middle, have the effect of creating separate 'rooms' to cater to where the sun is at any given point of the day.

Use fencing to hide unsightly objects

If you have kids' toys or barbecues that need to be kept in the garden but aren't particularly lovely to look at, this is a great ideas to hide them.

These fences are staggered at different points a metre or two from the end of the garden, and they screen the ugly stuff that this family had at the bottom of the garden.

What's great about these fences is that you can grow plants up them if you like, and you can buy fencing at any price point, whether you want lovely oak or cedar, or cheaper woods that you can paint in a tasteful colour.

The fences are at different depths to give a sense of interest and draw the eye down the garden.

Buy meadow turf for a country feel in the city

The owner of this relatively large garden was a real foodie, and when she was talking through the design for the garden she kept mentioning the word 'abundant'.

To create this sense I made the middle of the garden into a wildflower meadow using meadow turf, which you can buy pre-sown with the perfect variety of meadow species.

It's great for encouraging birds, bees and wildlife, and you can mow a path through it for a country garden feel. At the end of the garden are raised beds planted with fruits, vegetables and herbs that are both edible and ornamental.

Lottie's service includes:

1 hour digital video consultation to take a brief and discuss the client’s garden, what they would like to achieve, problem areas, etc

A bespoke proposal featuring three creative, well-considered ideas to suit their brief and budget

Included are sketches, mood boards, planting ideas, supplier/sourcing details, next steps for implementing the ideas.

Sessions can be booked via Instagram, or by emailing [email protected]/

This originally appeared on House & Garden UK

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