Small gardens are enchanting. It’s no accident that Frances Hodgson Burnett’s captivating childhood classic The Secret Garden told a story of transformation against the backdrop of a little garden that could. With heart and hard work, children nurtured this neglected space until everyone and everything inside the enclosed walls became the best version of themselves. That’s the promise of a garden: a joyful place where we can use the power of the outdoors to refuel and reconnect with friends and family. With a little thought and planning, small spaces in particular can serve as the most lovely garden rooms that fulfill that promise of beauty, joy and connection.
Your garden, like everything else in your life, should reflect your individual style. A strong point of view will help you make easier, faster decisions when you’re designing your garden, enabling you to create a cohesive look and a calming oasis. Consider your home’s architectural style and your personal decor preferences to seamlessly merge form and function. Think about who will enjoy your garden, how you want to live in your space, the mood you want to create, and the feeling that will call you outdoors over and over again.
More is more! Go big or go home! You’re not afraid to make a statement, and every part of your life agrees. You’re often the life — and the host — of the party, and naturally, your home and garden should also be big and bold. Eclectic design means not having to choose: a little bit modern, a little bit vintage. It allows for shapes, patterns and textures to cohabitate in one space so you can layer in your favorite plants and textiles of the moment. It’s about living large in the small garden.
Cool, calm and in control. From crisp outfits to streamlined interiors, it’s all about good lines and flattering neutrals. Structure and style go hand-in-hand, and a clean minimalist garden should mimic those strong lines you love from the closet to the kitchen. Keep the outside equally free of clutter by using restraint and laser focus to select what goes where. When it comes to the number of plants and materials, less is more (but we probably didn’t need to tell you that) for that clean, refined minimalist look.
By day, you steal a moment in the breezy, woven hammock to take in the fresh air. By nightfall, it’s all about friends by the fire, with plenty of cozy blankets. But your modern sensibilities keep your organic style more naturally crisp than crunchy. Give your garden that same heartwarming touch that you bring to your dinner parties with earthy details designed in modern lines. Strike a careful balance of the right elements — fire, water, flora — with a healthy mix of lines and curves.
Call it the Eat, Pray, Love garden. Create your fantasy getaway with a garden room that satisfies your wanderlust without ever leaving home. Channel your carefree, bohemian spirit by layering greenery, textiles and travel souvenirs. Scout vintage shops for accessories, like this carved daybed that sends us spinning to the Far East. Toss in splashes of vivid color, found objects (maybe that Buddha statue you’ve been lugging around for years), comfy floor poufs and enough soft candlelight to start dreaming about that next trip.
You dream of wide open spaces and life like it used to be, but you live in the modern world without vast acreage. Don’t give up those homesteading dreams too quickly. Small city homes can still bring in hip heritage elements of growing, fermenting, beekeeping and farming. You might have to share the outdoor dining room with the chickens, but a mini farm adds charm and comes with built-in entertainment. Dress up your coop and transform it into a focal point. To keep the homestead from getting lost down a country road, fluff your nest with hip planters and trendy accessories.
Copyright © 2020 by Isa Hendry Eaton and Jennifer Blaise Kramer. Photography copyright © 2020 by Leela Cyd. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.