Small yet abundant garden

Clean lines and artful illusion transform a compact space

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  • Small yet abundant garden

    Cleared of clutter, the front yard looked small and bare.

Tips for a small garden

Divide the garden into "rooms." Russ Cletta gave the backyard two distinctive spaces: one for living, the other for dining. Plants visually separate them. A lounging area is in front.

Play with illusion. To create a sense of depth, use low- to midheight plantings in the foreground, taller ones in back; enhance the effect with coarse-textured plants in the foreground, fine-textured ones in back. Choose accent plants to partially obscure background elements, which hint at "space beyond."
Use plants to break up paving. Cletta positioned small planting beds where they'll force visitors to traverse the garden to reach the dining terrace.

Limit the color palette and repeat plantings. Variations of green are soothing and uncomplicated in a small garden. Repeat plants throughout the garden for continuity, using color as accents. For privacy, plant a screen of trees around the property; Cletta uses podocarpus.

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