A glorious garden for small spaces: Notes from BBC Gardener’s World Live 2024


The show garden they designed, called ‘Beauty in Small Spaces’, was split into three distinct zones. Each had a different focus but the same visual language. Moving through the space, the pink colour on the wall deepens subtly from the palest hue at the front to the deepest hue in the back garden. The tonal change in colour was subtle, and I actually thought it was to do with the light until Kerianne set me straight. What I loved was there was so much to be inspired about, no matter the size of your garden, be it large or small, balcony, or courtyard, there was so much to take away. Each of the areas connects together, with clever tricks used to frame views and create snatched moments. There were a few points in each zone where you could hide, and others where you could see straight through the plot.

The three main garden zones are: the front garden, the courtyard and the back garden.

The Front Garden

Designed with the community in mind, the space was all about connecting with neighbours and wildlife. The front garden offered a long bench for people to come and linger. Supported by gabions and filled with waste materials, there was even room for little bugs. It felt inviting and the planting that ran alongside the edge acted like a buffer, and despite being surrounded by people it felt private and intimate. Having been clearing rubbish from our garden for the last two years, there were some clever things that I could see to recycle rubbish and make it look beautiful.

There was a potting station to the side; a space to take cuttings or leave them for neighbours and friends. We loved this station and plan to build something similar in our back garden as we are too limited at the front of our house.

The plants selected were beautiful, and bees were buzzing around us the whole time we sat there. What was great was that they were also chosen as they are easy to take seeds or cuttings from. I really loved this idea. I was also pleased to be able to identify a particular Salvia called ‘Love and Wishes’ which I gave to my sister a couple of years ago. I had actually propagated a plant from cuttings for myself – so it felt serendipitous to see the same plant in the bed, planted with the aim of sharing.

I especially loved a section of terracotta tiles that had been laid on end in a herringbone pattern. It was no more than a metre squared, but it looked beautiful. I also loved the bound gravel that was used throughout the space. In the front garden, which was also the sunniest aspect of the plot, the gravel was used as a mulch and it looked gorgeous.

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