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7 Tips for Narrow Gardens - from a South African Perspective
1. Avoid lawn if there is no space for it, or if the area is too shady. Paving, gravel or some other hard surface will look infinitely neater than a trodden lawn - a narrow strip of lawn will inevitably get worn out.
2. Bright, hot colours, such as yellows, oranges and reds, used at the bottom of a narrow garden will appear to shorten the space, and can help balance the length of the property. Cool pale colours, such as blues, pale pinks and lilacs, at the bottom of the garden will appear to recede.
3. You do not have to plant on each boundary. An attractive boundary wall or screen may serve as a backdrop to a feature and allow you to make the opposite border that much broader. Hide an ugly wall with decorative trellis or climbing plants.
4. If you pave, use a paving pattern that runs perpendicular to the length of the property. Running paving parallel to the long boundaries will exaggerate the length of the property.
5. Avoid skinny beds running in strips down the boundary walls. Draw the beds out at some point. If the area is very narrow and does not allow room for beds, treat it more like a patio. Pave it or lay gravel, introduce some planted pots, and add a bench or a sculpture as a focal point.
6. Built-in seating can work very well in a restricted area. You might consider creating a raised bed along one boundary and making the top of the retaining wall wide enough to use as a seat. Take note that normal walls (including boundary walls) are not strong enough to act as retaining walls. Ask a qualified builder for advice.
7. An appropriate focal point at the end of your narrow garden is essential. It is the destination of the visual journey you have created and enticed people along. If you do not provide a destination, the journey is pointless.
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