Garden design: Kasorn Piamsukon with Ground Cover Landscaping; groundcoverlandscaping.com.
We brought a 172-square-foot house to our campus and gave it a big mission: Make us rethink how much space we really need. After opening all the drawers and marveling at the size of the closet, many of us were ready to move right in. But even if you’re not, this Mica model from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company still holds lessons in stretching space. Just outside, with towering redwoods, lush ferns, and a campfire, the garden gives visitors the sense of stepping into the woods. Nestled among the foliage, the Tiny House offers everything needed to take a vacation in your own backyard.
Use color to define each room. It might seem counterintuitive, but painting each room a different hue gives your eyes a reason to travel through the space, tricking you into thinking there’s more to see. For the largest area, use a quiet neutral such as Kelly-Moore San Francisco Fog, KM5822.
Large-scale landscape photographs look like another window. We divided this blown-up photo by Sunset staff photographer Thomas J. Story into fifteen 81/2- by 11-inch pieces, framed each one, and hung them all in a close grid to mimic looking through windowpanes. A mirror on the opposite wall doubles the effect.
Take everything to the ceiling. The shelves and curtain rod (hung with Sunbrella panels) reach the ceiling to make the best use of the space and add height.
Outside, create a woodland look with grasslike Carex, conifers, ferns, and heucheras, which are exactly what you’d see in the Sierra Nevada. Here, they’re dispersed to mimic the randomness of a forest floor. “It’s also important to use a lot of small plants in a woodland garden,” says Piamsukon. She filled in with tiny grasses.
For instant gratification, Piamsukon recommends purchasing a range of plants in the four sizes available at the nursery: 4-inch and 1-, 5-, and 15-gallon. The different elevations give the garden a head start to looking filled in. Still impatient? Add other old-age cues like boulders.
Stick to a leafy green color palette; only a few flowering plants were used here.
Re-create the aged look of a grown-in woodland with salvaged wood, like what’s used for the chairs and deck. Although the fence, right, isn’t salvaged, Piamsukon’s husband and business partner, Eksel Perez, built it using uneven boards that have the same texture as reclaimed wood.
Mimic the aged look of a grown-in woodland with salvaged wood. The planks for the chairs are reclaimed.
A half-circle of stumps surrounds a fire pit made from a salvaged smoker drum. Fine stone gravel creates a safe surface to catch any sparks or fallen marshmallows.
Chickens provide a reason to get outside and enjoy the garden.
Plant Teucrium cossonii majoricum in low troughs to add foliage to seating areas.