Posted on 1st November 2020
The starting position is always effective planning, and thinking about the shape, orientation of the sun, and what type of structures form the boundary. In doing so the main consideration is the placement of the sitting area so that you get the maximum benefit from those few sunny days. It may mean the sitting areas are positioned at the furthest point from the house to maximises the ability to enjoy the sun. By taking a line diagonally from corner to corner of the garden, and paving diagonally to the rear or front corner, greater depth can be created with a transition area built from the house access, if the patio is to the rear.
Often a single pack of paving [normally 15-20m2] is sufficient to create a small sitting area with different sized dimensional paving tiles set in decorative slate chippings are an effective way to form a staggered pathway from the patio to a gate or back to the house access point. It is also important to consider the use of materials that can complement the interior flooring especially with the wider use of bi-folding doors. Investing in natural stone with a tumbled or antique finish will provide a softer and more refined look in small spaces.
Staggered paving edges can be softened with grasses and slow-growing shrubs, with key feature plants in prime vision locations. In addition, well position trellis against walls or as backdrops to sitting areas enable seasonal climbers to bring colour and the aroma of scents into your space. The illusion of greater depth may also be helped by the use of “trompe l’oeil” features such as mirrors using toughened glass or a painted scene. A small water feature will also add to the feel of tranquillity, along with well-positioned spotlights.
If finances allow, the three key elements to build into the budget are better finish and quality paving, a few large feature plants such as olive trees, trachicarpus, and bamboos, all which add a touch of architectural structure and movement with the bamboo, and finally lighting to pick out the features and bring the garden alive at night.