Garden Design Case Study: Small Space Gardening

A small garden was given a huge makeover. Check out this small-space garden created by designer Chris Parsons.

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Steps to Success DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Set on a steep hill and overlooked by neighboring houses, this small garden wraps around three sides of the house and posed a real challenge for award-winning designer Chris Parsons of Hallam Garden Design. The original plot was unstructured and laid mostly to lawn, with large mature shrubs enclosing the space. Yet, despite the unpromising site, Chris has transformed the garden into a "sanctuary for the soul", as her clients now call it. The grass has been replaced by sweeps of light-reflecting gravel, and the beds brim with flowering shrubs and perennials, and structural trees.

Chris has designed a distinct area for each side of the house. A prairie-style garden and sunny seating area welcome visitors as they approach the front door, and at the side of the property, the kitchen overlooks another gravelled space with seating. This area is edged with seasonal perennials, shrubs, and shade-loving plants beneath stately silver birches. The third area at the back of the house is a woodland garden, with a stunning water feature made from oak cubes providing a strong focal point. Lighting in this area injects drama on dark evenings, with a show of ivory birch stems.

To unify the different spaces, Chris has employed three main landscaping materials. Yorkstone paving, quarried not far from the property, links the front to the back of the house, and is also used for the steps. A pale creamy-yellow gravel forms a textured surface for each of the seating areas, and red brick, which exactly matches the house walls, provides a colorful contrast.

The clients gave Chris a free hand, and allowed her to radically change the look and structure of their garden; the result is a series of beautiful spaces where they can enjoy plants and wildlife every day of the year.

Learn more about this project:

Garden Design Case Study: Design Inspirations

Garden Design Case Study: The Finished Plan

Garden Design Case Study: Planting in Focus

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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