Overgrown, overlooked and…well, small? Or a calm, intimate courtyard garden waiting to happen?

Absolutely every outside space, no matter what size, can be transformed into a stylish outdoor room for lounging, eating and just smelling the roses. The secret’s in planning the right layout.

David’s garden in south London was a small space in need of a bold solution but for a limited budget. Here’s what it looked like, and the design solution we went for…

venetian before 3
venetian before 5
DH view 4
DH view 8
DH view 10
DH view 11
DH view 12
venetian before 3 thumbnail
venetian before 5 thumbnail
DH view 4 thumbnail
DH view 8 thumbnail
DH view 10 thumbnail
DH view 11 thumbnail
DH view 12 thumbnail

Incorporating generously wide seating into the curved wall itself does away with the need for garden furniture. However the space can also work with a cafe table and chairs, giving David the for flexibility for different eating or entertaining events.

Those raised beds will also mean those young plants get a lift; the climbers and planting will knit together to blur the boundaries, soften the corners and offer scent and colour at eye level… something trickier to achieveĀ  in a small space if the plants are grown at ground-level.

As David was on a tight budget, we chose to save money by a few smart design moves:

  1. the existing paving stones around the outside were lifted sand re-laid as a central circle
  2. gravel was chosen for groundcover around the house to provide a textural contrast and again for its lower price and to cover existing concrete around the house which would have been costly to remove
  3. we cheated a bit by building the walls in breeze-block and facing them with the more expensive warm, weathered brick.

The curve was a little pricier to build than straight lines, but I think totally worth it in terms of the space created; maximising use of the corners for planting and giving a real flow to this modest square plot.

So here’s the before and after – look how much bigger it feels. The planting’s very young still but David’s already planning his early summer garden parties for next year..and I’ve got the first G&T invite!

venetian before 1
venetian 1
venetian 2
venetian 2
venetian 4
venetian 5
venetian 6 crocosmia
venetian 7
venetian plant moodboard
venetian before 1 thumbnail
venetian 1 thumbnail
venetian 2 thumbnail
venetian 2 thumbnail
venetian 4 thumbnail
venetian 5 thumbnail
venetian 6 crocosmia thumbnail
venetian 7 thumbnail
venetian plant moodboard thumbnail