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How to turn your small outdoor space into a garden oasis

They say good things come in small packages. Living in a Retirement Community can give you an opportunity to create a beautiful green space, no matter how tiny your available space. It’s been proven time and again what a huge benefit having a garden makes to our mental health, providing a source of great joy and satisfaction in your retirement years. So, whether your ideal garden is a space for growing flowers, harvesting from a kitchen garden, or simply relaxing, you can make it something you are proud of. Let’s take a look at some design options and tips to get you started.

Resident Janet Burgess’ garden at Stafford Lakes Retirement Community

A small, beautiful, and functional space

The first thing to say is to not worry about whether your potential green space is too small. The good news is that even a small space can give you big usability! Neither beauty nor function needs to be hindered by working on a small palette. However, you will need to prioritise your wish list to make your space a success.

Have a think about what you imagine using that space for. Do you enjoy entertaining friends and family? Entertaining outdoors always seems so much more relaxed, both for the hosts and the guests, but how many people do you need to accommodate? Two for an intimate lunch? Six for a sit-down dinner or BBQ? Versatile elements that can satisfy more than one function are key in maximising the potential of small spaces. Folding tables, chairs, and shade can easily be stored when not in use and are lightweight enough to make set up a breeze.

Perhaps you dream of growing your own food – fresh herbs and vegetables from your own garden! These plants require plenty of sunlight, regular watering, and strategic fertilising. You may also need to contend with critters who fancy a nibble of your lovely food. If you are able to care for food plants, you will reap fruits of your labour that are beautiful, delicious, and healthy. Plus, you can grow a lot of edibles in a compact area.

Your garden ideal may be a feast for the eyes, somewhere to grow and admire the beauty of nature. The great thing about this option is that there are low to high care ways to do this depending on which plants you select. If you have the time and interest, you can opt for high-maintenance plants, such as those that belong in an English cottage garden. For high impact with low maintenance, you can choose attractive natives or other hardy plants like cacti.

Resident Janet Burgess’ garden at Stafford Lakes Retirement Community

Small garden hacks

Now that you know what you want to do with your pocket-sized paradise, you can get creative with ideas to make the most of it. You’ll be amazed by how much you can do in a small garden!

Lots of pots. If you have a balcony or a patio without the option of in-ground planting, pots are a fantastic option.

  • Wide, round containers will take up a large footprint on a deck or patio. Instead, look for rectangular, oval, or elliptical shapes that can sit closer to a wall or railing.
  • Perhaps your Retirement Community has built-in planters on balconies. This option is great for plants that require plenty of sunlight, plus they are off the ground, making maintenance easier.
  • To avoid cluttering the ground with multiple small pots, choose large and/or tall containers which will have much greater impact and be easier to water.
  • Container gardens or raised gardens provide a simple solution for limited in-ground growing, especially if you want to grow your own food. They come in many different sizes and materials so you can choose something that suits you.

Strategic impact. A little planning ensures your green space looks deliberate and that each plant can be appreciated.

  • Choose compact plants that won’t take over the ground, but don’t be afraid to include miniature versions of larger plants, such as a dwarf lemon tree.
  • Build a strong foliage framework. Use interesting plants with colourful leaves before layering in flowering plants.
  • Think outside the box. What about vertical gardens? Railing planters? Hanging baskets for strawberries?
Resident Janet Burgess’ garden at Stafford Lakes Retirement Community

Have fun, budding gardeners

Tending to a garden, even a small one, can provide a huge amount of satisfaction, improve mood, and boost creativity. Creating your own tiny oasis gives you a peaceful and enjoyable haven that helps you feel more connected to nature. Remember, just because a space is small doesn’t mean it can’t be stunning. If creating your own garden is not possible, the great thing about Retirement Communities is that they have picturesque, lush gardens you can enjoy any time without the work! We hope you feel inspired to get outside and enjoy some green time, whichever way you choose to get close to nature.

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