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Small Spaces, Big Ideas - Simon Horrill

“Take Your Time” was the advice presented by Simon Horrill when designing a garden. List the features that you would like, then doodle plans on paper until arriving at the best lay-out. In a small area it is important to make the best possible use of every space. This was practical advice from someone whose former career as a dancer with the Royal Ballet had given him a full understanding of the optimum use of space. His passion for gardening from an early age coupled with his artistic flare was most evident in the quality of the pictures used to illustrate his talk, which presented examples of what looks right as well as designs with short-comings.

When designing a garden many factors need taking into account, no least how it is seen from indoors. A well designed garden combines theme and balance between voids and mass or “desert or jungle”. The inclusion of pathways is critical to provide both access to features and hidden spaces and to enhance the overall appearance. Paths can be straight or curved, narrow or wide. A recommended width is 1.2 metres,

The materials used for hard landscaping paths and walls can range between limestone/ sandstone and slate/basalt/engineered bricks to achieve either a light or dark effect. Steps should ideally have even risers of about 15 cm and a small overhang to look attractive.

This presentation also alerted us to many other considerations to achieve a well-designed garden such as the type of fencing, the use of mirrors and lighting, how colours can create a sense of space and depth and the provision sheds and storage areas. Whilst many of our gardens may not be in need of a redesign or make-over, something we can all put into practice was the advice to “go big” when using pots and plant containers.

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