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Small Garden Designs

Small Garden Designs

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We’ve chatted to the experts, scoured the archives, and sought out the most inspirational small garden designs. You may not be blessed with a huge outdoor space but that’s not to say you can’t be creative with what you do have. With a little design know-how even the smallest back lawn, the most petite of patios or the tiniest of balconies can become an enjoyable place in which to spend time. Trick the eye with a colour scheme or clever use of lighting, make a feature of foliage, or simply adorn the small space with inviting accessories. Look no further, we have all the small garden ideas you need.

Having a small garden doesn’t mean you can’t make use of the space. onefinestay’s  East 51st Townhouse owners has used atmospheric lanterns and delicate fairy lights to create a cosy dining area

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The tiny courtyard at the home of the interior designer Helen Green comprises of simple but elegant touches: a trellis of roses, a feature stone water plinth and plants potted in a variety of vessels, from wooden crates to wicker baskets and pewter milk pails.

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Full-length bi-fold doors create a seamless meeting of the interior and exterior at this nineteenth-century Kensington townhouse and using similarly toned flooring adds to this continuous effect – a clever trick with colour that creates the illusion of space.

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The trick to making use of any small space is to consider how every inch might work practically. Here, a sheltered spot provides the perfect dining area (because, let’s face it, alfresco dinners can often be interrupted by rain showers) and the Juliet balcony offers support to a rattan swing chair.

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The brief for this Regent’s Park garden, designed by Kate Gould, was a year-round green space with a ‘hint of Portofino’. Neatly clipped buxus hedging, potted olive trees, lavender plants and a striking cobbled mosaic floor combine to create exactly this effect.

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This townhouse garden off Portobello Road provides a sanctuary from the bustling streets of Notting Hill. With the dining area situated on the roof terrace, the garden has been simply, symmetrically designed for pure visual pleasure; a mock Roman bust takes centre stage. If you’re unable to take your alfresco dining elsewhere, opt for fold-up or portable tables and chairs, which can be easily removed when you want your garden to function solely as a beautiful green space.

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Consider a colour scheme. According to garden designer Marcus Barnett, colour can be used to blur the boundary between inside and outside, creating a sense of space. Similar colours can form a visual link between interior and exterior.

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Symmetry will always be visually appealing, and the lines of this Notting Hill garden beautifully mirror the curved elements of the house. A similarly symmetrical scheme would work well in a much smaller garden: just like in the home, maintaining order avoids the sense of an overly cluttered space and often creates a feeling of calm.

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If your urban garden is the tiniest of balconies, do not despair. Embrace the pot plant (you could even grow your own herbs), choose a pretty fold-up café-style table and chairs and make a feature of your railings with entwining vines. Voila! A green oasis a few floors up.

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DINING ROOM IDEAS

DINING ROOM IDEAS

Need some dining room ideas? This room is all about crowding a group of friends around the table with some delicious food, good wine and plenty of conversation. But creating the right atmosphere with some clever dining room design can help. Whether you’re looking for inspiration on the big decisions like dining room furniture or are in search of smaller dining room decorating ideas  (like dining room wallpaper), we have all the inspiring pictures  you need to ensure your stylish eaterie is the hot topic at the table.

A 17th-century oak cupboard and 19th-century American maple chairs feature in this dining room, which is brightened up by a pendant light from Pinch.

WALLS Paint, from left: ‘Plaster III’ and ‘Hot Earth’, £42.50 for 2.5 litres matt emulsion, from Paint & Paper Library.

FLOOR Paint, ‘Plaster III’, £61 for 2.5 litres water-based eggshell, from Paint & Paper Library.

FURNITURE Seventeenth-century oak cupboard, 210 x 131 x 55.5cm, £12,500, from Hawker Antiques at Jamb. Nineteenth-century American maple chairs, 87 x 45 x 50cm, £1,895 for 6, from Giovanna Ticciati. Oak dining table, ‘Planks’, by Max Lamb, 72 x 250 x 90cm, £2,450, from Benchmark.

ACCESSORIES Thirties unglazed ceramic vases (on cupboard), by Fulham Pottery, 39 x 17cm diameter, £2,500 a pair, from Pruskin Gallery. Stoneware vase, £650, and vessel, £330; both by Iva Polachova, from The New Craftsmen. Seasonal floral arrangements, from £50, from Scarlet & Violet. Banana-fibre pendant light, ‘Anders’, 45 x 70cm diameter, £1,180, from Pinch. Terracotta serving dish with leather handles, by Silvia K, 50cm diameter, £300, from The New Craftsmen.

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In the dining room of a Hampshire house designed by Fiona Shelburne, a set of Reed & Rackstraw chairs are covered in a French damask from Alton-Brooke.

‘We wanted to move away from the traditional dining-room look,’ explains Fiona, so here the curtains are in a festive Indian fabric called ‘Rossini’ by Colefax and Fowler, the colours of which are not dissimilar to those of the Italian allegorical paintings at each end of the room. Colchester Lister did all the paintwork in the house, and the walls are a pink-tinged mushroom colour that really glows at night.

‘The owners wanted broad, generous dining chairs, so we went to Reed & Rackstraw, which reproduces chairs from 200 designs going back to Queen Anne, and had the chairs covered in a modern French damask,’ says Fiona.

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In the dining room of Ugbrooke Park, much of the eighteenth-century gilding on the cornicing and frieze has been conserved and restored. Inrestoring the eighteenth-century gilding as much as possible, they found a rather harsh aqua colour on the walls. Owner Clarissa reinterpreted it using a discreet Pierre Frey damask. The velvet on the walls makes a striking backdrop for Ugbrooke’s seventeenth-century Dutch paintings and the vases on the mantelpiece are first-edition Royal Worcester porcelain.

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One change Robin Muir and Paul Lyon Maris  made to their house in the South Downs shortly after moving in was to clad the dining room walls in timber. ‘We had always felt uneasy in the room,’ says Paul. ‘It was fine when it was full of candlelight and people, but cold during the day. So we had a local guy put up some of these vertically staggered floorboards and it transformed the place.’

The black balloon light bulb cages are from Urban Cottage Industries.

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