Raise the bar Raised beds will naturally make any of your plants look taller. You can also use the change in levels to great effect by adding pots at a higher position than they would normally be. Using trees with a single clear stem along a boundary wall or fence will accentuate length and height. The top layer, especially if evergreen, will give the appearance of a hedge at a higher level. You could also grade your soil to create mounds, so that plants sit at a higher point. This will bring drama into a previously flat landscape.
Cultivate lofty edibles If you have a small garden but still dream of being self-sufficient, there are many dwarf varieties of trees and shrubs available that offer both height and fruit. However, make sure you choose the right plant for each spot. Height in this small garden is achieved by planting against the fence with espaliers (trees trained to grow flat), and lining the path with small but very productive fruit trees. The dwarf stock varieties have been specially grafted and will also do well in large containers, as long as they get enough sun and you water them frequently. Apart from apples, pears, plums and cherry trees, you can also get dwarf varieties of peach and nectarine. However, these will need more protection, especially from frost and cold winds. If you want to try a small apricot tree, then consider apricot ‘Isabelle’.
Hang an array of pots Hanging baskets and pots are a great way to add instant interest, and they allow you to change your display as often as you like. It’s not just flowers that look good in hanging pots: there are many varieties of edible plants and herbs that also work well and are especially handy if positioned near the kitchen door. You could also use a form of stacking container with multiple apertures, such as a pallet, which could be fitted to the wall for growing plants, fruit and vegetables.
Lose the lawn If your garden features a small, awkwardly shaped lawn that’s tricky to mow, consider losing the grass. To maintain a soft surface, you could try some alternative ground cover plants that don’t need mowing. In The Harmonious Garden of Life by Laurélie de la Salle, what appears to be a curved lawn is actually a carpet of clover. The plants won’t require frequent mowing, and only need to be watered once a fortnight in the height of summer. On top of that, the clover will provide nutrients for the soil.
Think twice about gravel “Gravel can be a problem, as it can get stuck in the pads of their feet,” Georgia says. “Resin-bound gravel [pictured here] is a very good alternative, as it’s also permeable. You often see it under trees in public areas. At Battersea dogs’ and cats’ home, they have lots of it, as it provides a bit of cushioning and can easily be hosed down,” she continues. “I think it looks really great for paths – you can create interesting curves and get lots of different colours.” Do not try to DIY this, Georgia warns. “It’s quite a specific process and it needs a professional to lay it,” she says. “The same goes for artificial grass, which can otherwise easily become like a badly laid, bumpy carpet.”
Plant Strategically Soft leaves to lie on under the cover of a couple of shady shrubs – what dog wouldn’t want to climb into your carefully tended flowerbeds for a snooze? Flattened flowers can be a recurrent frustration for green-fingered dog owners. Georgia suggests strategic planting, not to deter so much as withstand a snoozing pup. “Plants such as herbs are great for dogs,” she says. “Things like low-growing thyme are so robust, a dog could lie all over it and it’d be fine. Also try chamomile and mint.” Lemon balm, part of the mint family, is another option to consider. Rosemary, Georgia adds, is also really robust, and not as comfy, so it might even double as a deterrent.