Thinking small

In a tiny garden, every detail matters
Sharon Cohoon

Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it. - Leonardo da Vinci, Notebooks

If you have a huge backyard, da Vinci might argue, it's possible to approach landscaping casually-you have the latitude to absorb a few mistakes. If your garden is as small as Christine Moore's Los Angeles garden, though, you can't afford that luxury. Step through her French doors and out onto her steps, and nearly every inch of her backyard is immediately visible-all 590 square feet of it. There is no room for error, no hiding place for clutter.

 

Faced with a situation like this, you could bemoan your lot. Or you could do what Moore did and embrace its limitations. Sure, a small garden has built-in restrictions, but there are also rewards.

Small makes it possible-as well as necessary-to think out every inch and detail. Which is just what Moore did. With research, planning, and care, she managed to squeeze into her minigarden three seating areas, a dining alcove, and a small water feature, not to mention a rich assortment of plants and a wealth of charm. Walking into this little polished space is like opening a locket and finding a miniature landscape inside. Small, yes, but perfect in every detail.