The techniques used by interior designers to make small rooms large are similar to those used by landscape designers to make gardens and courtyard seem larger.
Painting side fences soft colours or muted greens, as opposed to Moroccan orange or brilliant red, will make the perception of your boundaries recede away from you…that is, making your garden look bigger.
Perhaps the most important point to remember with gardens is … if you use a bright colour you will notice it and therefore make it appear closer. For example a pergola painted white will look closer than one painted in natural tones.
A borrowed landscape is a popular concept in which you create an illusion that nearby trees, parks, etc are part of your garden. Fences, perimeter hedges and ‘back sheds’ need to be removed, redesigned or relocated to maintain a successful borrowed landscape.
Mirrors, provided they are used strategically, can make a garden look bigger. It is important that the reflective image is into a section of the garden. The moment you see yourself in it, the illusion is destroyed.
A simple tool overlooked by many designers is the alignment of paving and decking timber. If the laid pattern is in line with your sight of view, then the illusion of distance is created. However if the pattern is at 90 degrees to your view, then the area will look smaller.
To create a pathway that looks longer, lay the pavers in a stretcher bond pattern so that the long sides runs along the path direction.
Eyes can be deceived by texture. Fine texture is hard for the eyes to focus on at a distance. The illusion created is that fine textures appear further away (out of focus range) and therefore a perception of space is produced.
In contrast, by placing large bold textured items close, other items behind it will look further away.
For example, if you wish to create two small garden rooms in the backyard, separate the two with a bold textured hedge that allows the eyes to focus on. The second garden room will then recede into the background appearing further away.
Overplanting is one quick way to make a garden look smaller. Be conservative with plants …. Choose reliable plants with soft muted colours, fine texture and those that blend with surrounded gardens for that borrowed landscape effect.
Simplify, minimize and modernize. If you have a lot of clutter around the garden and outdoor living spaces, then it will look small. Remove clutter, standardize your pot styles and then consider replace/repair/update damaged garden furniture and ornaments.
Fine Texture Plants to make Gardens Bigger
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
Fountain bush (Russelia equisetiformis)
Heath Banksia (Banksia ericifolia)
Himalayan Weeping Bamboo (Drepanostachyum falcatum)
Native Flax (Dianella spp.)
Wild iris (Dietes)
by: Paul Plant F.A.I.H. writes for the HOME magazine, Courier Mail.