4 Ideas for Creating an Illusion of Space in a Small Garden

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Imagining the landscape design for one’s small space can be quite a challenge, especially if the yard is enclosed with fences.

Imagining the landscape design for one’s small space can be quite a challenge, especially if the yard is enclosed with fences. However, if one contemplates the blessings of privacy that are provided by those fences, one should be able to make peace with them and begin to think beyond the boundaries that can compress one’s creativity.

So, what is seen beyond those boundaries? and, is the view that is garnered worth keeping?

The answer to these questions will set the course for one’s landscape design.

Borrowing and Blocking the View

Landscape designers use a term called “borrowed view“. Some views are worth borrowing, and some not. Borrowing the view on the horizon can extend the illusion and feeling of one’s garden on into infinity in relaxed moments.

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  • Painting the walls a deep Hunter’s Green will create an immediate feeling of depth and serve as an optimal background color for plant material placed in front of them, whether vines, tall shrubs, or trees.
  • If one would prefer to block the view while creating the illusion of a larger space, carefully selected plant materials such as Juniper trees will naturally grow tall yet thin, spread to a width between one to two meters, and require minimal maintenance.


Illusion on the Ground

Structural Elements

  • Starting with the structural elements, curved pathways that wind around mounds of raised beds can create a micro-world filled with anticipation and wonder as one meanders along. This page has a selection of ideas to get your imagination working.
  • Adding a hidden room or spot of respite along the path enlarges the feeling of the space even further.

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Colour and Size Elements

Darker tones are recessive, while lighter and bright tones pop forward and are quickly noticed. Also, large shapes, such as larger leaves or structural accents such as statues will visually pull forward and be noticed quickly, thus:

  • Placing light and bright colours and larger shaped leaves near the entry of the garden will help to create a feeling of depth along the path that winds off into deeper toned and less visually distinguishable shapes. An easy way to really change the atmosphere is to paint your fence a lighter, brighter colour. You can even buy pre-painted fencing from a store like the Fence Store.
  • Placing visual pop in a special spot along the path or within a hidden room can freeze that moment along the path and enhance the impression of larger space.

Visual Magic and Illusion

One can create enchantment within the garden with a few ticks of optical illusion. For instance:

  • A path that leads to a mirrored wall can appear to go on indefinitely, depending on the view reflected in the mirror.
  • Adding an archway greatly enhances the illusion.

Reflector balls provide an intriguing panoramic view of the garden as they visually enlarge the space.

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