Garden inspiration from a medium sized garden

February 23rd, 2020
Posted In: Garden style & living, Garden trends & design

This is the second of two posts on inspiration from a medium sized garden.

The first post was about a garden designed by the late Grant Saltmarsh, updated for the 21st century. It has some beautiful tips and ideas.

This post is about a garden called Nandi. It’s especially useful for anyone who has or moves into an overgrown medium sized garden.

And it’s a lesson in making the most of what you’ve got rather than ripping it out and starting again.

Sculpt your trees and shrubs

When the owners bought the house, the garden was filled with very overgrown trees and shrubs. The windows of the house were dark and there was very little light to the garden borders.

Prune away lower branches in a medium sized garden

This was a big clump of overgrown bay. With the lower leaves and stems stripped away, it is an unusual and sculptural shape.

Instead of calling in the diggers and clearing it all out, they have pruned away dead and dying branches and lifted the crowns. By shaping them in this way, they are almost treating their old trees and shrubs as sculptures.

Medium sized garden pruning tip - prune away the lower branches to let in light

This giant azalea used to darken the house. Now they provide privacy for the upper windows while allowing light in downstairs and on the borders.

And by cutting away lower branches, they have allowed light onto the lawn and borders. This lets light into the windows of the house.

But they’ve left the upper storey of leaves, which makes this garden very private. The shrubs will also flower in season, as the azaleas and rhododendons offer a magnificent display in spring.

Old rhododendron pruned

This rhododendron is around 100 years old. Its branches are beautifully sculptural and have the patina of age.

This is an approach that could work in very small gardens. A mature tree is expensive. So if you have one, think very carefully before cutting it down.

If you can clear away foliage and branches at the lower levels, you will let in more light while retaining privacy and a habitat for wildlife.

Lift the crown of a mature tree in a medium sized garden to get more light

This very tall tree no longer shades the upper windows of the house. And it even lets lots of light down below where there is planting.

Make your own greenhouse from recycled windows

Another way of making the most of what you’ve got is to use recycled materials.

Nandi’s owner made his greenhouse from recycled windows, shower doors and any other panes of glass that were surplus to requirements.

Greenhouse made from recycled windows

This greenhouse is made from recycled windows and shower doors hung on a simple frame.

He got a builder to create the frame. This is four posts at each corner, sunk into the ground and set with concrete. And then the builder added four cross beams to support the roof.

Nandi’s owner hung the rest of the windows on this frame himself.

Make sure that you use large panes of glass

This greenhouse works because it has large panes of glass. That’s important.

DIY greenhouse for a medium sized garden made from recycled windows

I  once photographed a greenhouse made from recycled windows where many of the windows were very small. It was a lovely structure but didn’t really work as a greenhouse as there was too high a proportion of window frame to glass. There just wasn’t enough light.

Make the most of a medium sized garden – add decorative touches to practical areas

Nandi’s owner hung an antique chandelier in the greenhouse. And he has a pretty vintage chair and table set just outside the doors. These decorative touches can really lift an otherwise practical area – it all looks very pretty.

You can see more of the greenhouse, including its antique chandelier in this video here. (The video includes Dale and Jon’s garden from the first post in this series.)

Positioning the medium sized garden veg patch…

I think we all appreciate the beauty of veg much more than we used to. But there’s still a tendency to tuck the veg garden away out of sight, where there may not be so much sunlight.

At Nandi, the veg garden is almost in the middle of the main lawn. It can be viewed from the house.

Veg patch surrounded by roses.

Such a pretty way to have a veg patch. It’s central to the garden and can be seen from the house. In a medium sized garden, you have options on where to put your veg patch, so maybe think about making it more of a feature.

But it is surrounded by a low fence, to keep critters out, with a pretty gate.

The fence is a standard, practical one. There’s nothing special about it. But there is a row of roses around the outside of the fence.

As you can see from the photo above, it really does look very pretty. And it’s productive.  The veg beds still get lots of light.

If you have a medium sized garden, you probably have more than one place you can site your veg patch. It’s well worth thinking about making it a feature rather than hiding it away.

Shop my favourite gardening books, tools and products

I’m often asked for recommendations, so I’ve put together some useful lists on the Middlesized Garden Amazon store. Note that links to Amazon are affiliate so I may get a small fee if you buy, but I only recommend things I use myself or really think you’d like.

For example, this gardening essentials list has the gardening gloves, kneelers and trug I use. I’ve used all the products here for several years.

Pin to remember medium sized garden ideas

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