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transform a small outside space

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How to transform a small outside space

While small gardens, terraces, decking and patios undoubtedly come with their own set of design challenges, even the most economical of areas can be transformed into an outdoor haven. MOLLY MAID, the house cleaning professionals, have some suggestions to inspire you and help you to transform a small outside space into a haven of tranquillity:

Walls or trellis

Make use of a wall, fence or trellis to add colour and greenery. Climbing plants and trellises are a great solution for small gardens, as they lift flowers and foliage up off the ground and raise your eye up. Try to ensure that you grow the appropriate plants for the amount of light and shade you have too – think about adding plants with a lovely scent such as roses, honeysuckle or jasmine for instance. A pretty fence will do a lot to detract attention from a small area.


Who needs a lush grass or a lawn to transform a small outside space into a haven when you can plant lushes plants in low-maintenance pots to add colour and depth? The trick here is not to be too uniform and go for a variety of sized pots and plants from shrubs to large hosta plants to geraniums and lavenders. If space is at a real premium and you have a dark corner to fill, think about creating three tiers on different levels by simply building up the levels with old wooden boxes, or bricks to form three tiers and place plant pots on here.

Feature Wall

If you have a wall as part of your outside space, make the most of it! Try highlighting it as a feature by painting it white (to give the impression of more space). Then hang a mirror, a shutter or a mosaic, as a centre piece and surround it with small zinc pots filled with herbs hanging from a trellis. If it is a very tall wall, then consider creating a living wall by having climbing plants grow up it as this will instantly give the illusion of bringing green to your outside space.

Colourful furniture

Place objects of interest at the end of your garden if you have a narrow area and make your space bigger than it is. Choose white garden furniture and position it towards the back of a paved area, for example. Play hide and seek by strategically planting large shrubs to partially obstruct the view; your mind will think there is more beyond to see. For a more contemporary look, go for colourful furniture (old wooden furniture can be re-painted) with hot summer colours such as bright pinks, oranges and reds for a more Mexican feel, or blue shades for a cooler, calmer maritime atmosphere. Add interest with plants at all heights and in all areas – with climbers and ramblers, evergreen shrubs, sculptural grasses and ground cover, all enlivened by burst of colour from summer blooms.

Alleyways or passages

Whilst these may not seem like obvious spaces conducive for entertaining, think again! Many of us who live in large cities with a ground floor have these spaces and often they are neglected areas where the bins are kept, or the bicycles are stored. Why not transform this outside space by laying some paving (even wooden stepping stone effect) interspersed with gravel or shingle and find a narrow rustic bench or table as a focal point? Then, set about painting the surrounding walls and hanging some plants from a trellis. Be careful not to overdo it – keep it simple. Add a few large lanterns strategically placed near big pots et voila… how to transform a small outside space!

For more outside seating ideas, see our blog on 19th July!