Using curves in small spaces can be a challenge as often there just isn’t the space to allow the curve to be what it is.
In larger gardens, where space isn’t an issue, it’s much easier to incorporate sweeping lines and softer edges.
So what do you do if you don’t really want crisp straight edges in your small courtyard garden? Here are a couple of tricks…
Letting the planting spill over the edge of pathways can really help to soften the straight edges.
Ideally you want to start off with a wide path so that you still have enough space to walk when the plants fill out. At least 1.2m if you can.
In really small gardens you have to be careful not to choose plants that will fill out too much, especially if you don’t have the luxury of being able to incorporate wide pathways so try to think about using plants that are naturally neat and tidy.
Alternatively you could stagger the paving so that you don’t have a straight edge. This can be effective in creating a false curve through a small space, tricking the eye into thinking that your garden structure is curved when actually it’s a series of rectangles.
If you’re incorporating walls of any kind, choosing which materials you use can make a difference to how the garden feels overall.
So, for example, using stone for a raised bed or wall will give a much softer and organic feel than a rendered wall with crisp edges, even if the layout of the garden is the same.
If you only have space for a small square terrace, use pots of different shapes and sizes to soften the look.
This is where you can bring curves into a space really effectively and if a plant is confined to a pot, even species that would usually outgrow their space, can easily be kept in check. Grasses and sedges look particularly great in tall pots as the foliage can spill over and give a sense of informality.