So you’ve parted ways from the your spacious, colourful back yard in the suburbs for a trendy inner city abode where the outdoor space is… limited. You’ve brought your big ideas and your shed full of garden supplies but are starting to realise that not everything is going to fit into your concrete courtyard as you would have hoped. Too much cramming into a small outdoor area can create clutter and leave the area feeling even smaller than it already is, so you must be strategic when planning out the area and deciding which elements you want to incorporate into this space. Take a look at some tips and tricks you can take on to maximise the space you have and create your perfect urban sanctuary.
Planning and Preparation
The first step you should take is to create a list of the essentials – all of the elements that you simply must have in your area. Whether that be a dining table + chairs, a BBQ, a garden bed or anything in between, mapping out what you need will help to give you an idea of how the available space should be used. Creating a plan is a vital step to ensure you won’t overcrowd your space. This is the time to be ruthless when deciding which of your personal belongings you are going to hang on to. You need to ask yourself “am I really going to ride that rusty old bike gathering dust in the shed?” Get rid of what you don’t need so you can begin to work out where you’re going to put everything else!
Limited outdoor space also means limited storage space. How are you going to fit your shed full of supplies into your size limited back yard? This is the time to get creative, and a great solution is to incorporate multi-functional items into the area. For example, include a bench seat that can double up as a storage unit, or collapsible table and chairs that can be hooked to the wall. Integrate a retractable washing line that can disappear when not in use – anything you can do to minimise the clutter around the space is a good idea.
This in-built bench/storage unit designed by Cos Desi is a perfect example of how to effectively implement multi-functional elements into a compact courtyard.
Maximise the Space
After deciding what you need and how it will be stored, you need to consider how to implement strategic design to maximise the space you have and create a dramatic area that you will love. Firstly, try and avoid clashing bold colours that will create confusion and ruin the harmony in your back yard. Instead, layer with colours and textures for an eye catching effect that will add depth to the area. When considering paving options, stick to large, dark pavers that will give a spacious feel – avoid small tiling with intricate patterns that draw the walls in. Adding mirrors to your outdoors is a great way to make the garden feel brighter and give off the illusion of more space!
Try to include elements that will create a flow from the indoors to outdoors of your home. This can be achieved by installing glass folding doors that cover the length of the wall, or continuing the colour palette or the use of timber from the inside out. This forms a connection between the two spaces which creates a cohesive, visually appealing living space.
Integrate Some Green
When living in an inner city space, the abundance of concrete and lack of greenery around you can leave you feeling a little trapped. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate some foliage into your area to escape from the concrete jungle and connect to the natural environment. Due to the limited space this might be tricky, but there are a number of great options out there to bring the garden to the city. Here’s a few of our favourites:
Vertical Gardens – If you lack space on the floor, then take advantage of your walls! Vertical gardens add a dynamic visual element to your outdoor area that saves on room and completely transforms the overall look and feel of the space. There’s no rules to your vertical design, and the layout can be customised to suit your vision and wall requirements.
Climbers – Sticking to the vertical concept, plant some climbers in your yard that require no support to work their way up the wall. Just ensure they are regularly maintained so they don’t take over the yard! Plants like the Boston Ivy use the wall to grow, and will produce vibrant colours all year ‘round.
Pots – For a paved courtyard, pots are a great alternative for adding some greenery. An art-deco statement themselves, pots can be integrated to match the design of your space and host a variety of beautiful plant life. Similar to paving, use large pots instead of lots of small ones that will clutter the area.
Tall & Narrow – Big bushy plants can look oversized and clunky in a small outdoor area. Stick to tall, thin plants and trees to create a feature element in your outdoor area. Try to limit the types of plants to keep the cohesion in the garden.
Just because your space is limited, it doesn’t mean you can’t have the outdoor area of your dreams. Keep in mind that less is more and get creative with your design ideas!
Need some help developing your inner city sanctuary? At Revell Landscaping, we combine our expertise with your vision to bring your space to life. Get in touch with us today on (08) 9379 9686 to discuss your landscaping project