Make a small outdoor area appear bigger
Category General News
Suburbs are becoming denser and tall apartment blocks are springing up at every corner as the need for housing increases. This means that spacious gardens and large plots of land are becoming more scarce, leaving homeowners with small balconies and gardens to use as their outdoor spaces.
During the summer months, South Africans love spending time outside; whether it’s having a braai, socialising over a few drinks or catching some sun on the skin, we tend to enjoy activities in our own backyards. Even the smallest of gardens can be made to appear larger with a few easy tricks.
Create a view
The aim is to direct the eye towards a particular feature or view. If you live in an apartment with a view, use an archway or trellis as a frame to guide the eye out over the horizon or towards another part of the balcony or garden. If there is no view to work with, simply hang a large mirror on the wall to create the illusion of space. This works well on patios and in small gardens in townhouse complexes.
Use the sky
A fantastic way to utilise the mirror illusion to enlarge a garden is by creating a small water feature or pond. Cover the base of the pond with a black plastic liner to enhance the reflection from the sky, creating a mirrored surface on the water. Cut back any overhanging branches and shrubs that may block the sky’s reflection. Avoid hanging lanterns or strings of fairy lights across the top of a garden as this will create the illusion of a roof and reduce the visual space.
Colour the walls
Paint the wall of your garden or patio a dark colour, such as grey or dark green. Darker colours will make plants and flowers pop and will also make the space seem less defined. Bright walls attract more attention and highlight their proximity which can enclose a space.
Place tall and thin plants and trees at the back of the garden. Potted trees will work well on balconies and the plants will extend upwards instead of outwards into the small space. Explore vertical gardening options such as wooden pallets and hanging baskets to conserve what little horizontal space you have.
Following on from the previous point, you can create a beautiful layered garden by placing tall plants at the back and small ones in front. Small shrubs and fine-textured plants add thick greenery to a space without taking up too much space, and the tall plants behind will carry the greenery upwards. Place plants with big leaves at the back of the garden, between the tall trees, to create the illusion of depth. Different layers help to interrupt and blur a space.
Placing plastic garden furniture in a small space will easily make it feel cramped and squashed. Rather opt for glass tables or open-backed chairs with thin legs (metal chairs work well as they are strong but thin). Wooden chairs with slatted backrests can work too. Avoid camping or plastic chairs.
Make it inviting
Even small spaces can feel cosy if they are comfortable and enjoyable. Place a bench or some wooden chairs in the space to invite people to sit and take it all in. A small water feature can be added to create an attractive and calming feature. The idea is to make it an area where you’d love to have your morning coffee or to spend some time with your friends.
Having a small patio, balcony or garden is no excuse to not spend some time outside while in the comfort of your home. These tips and ideas will visually enlarge a space if done correctly and you can invite your friends around to see your handiwork. Remember, a small space can be more appealing if it is a pleasant place to be, so focus on making it beautiful and relaxing rather than trying to make it appear much bigger.
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Author: Berman Brothers