A small romantic urban garden

I’ve been thinking about how to guide you through the following without being just another article on the subject of gardens. Not being too technical and generalized, too complicated and professional, but again in line with the hedonistic approach that Pleasure promotes. We’ll get you through this article in the way cake is made. All small gardens, like this one of 30 square meters, requires more skill, experience, and balance than far larger gardens. Before you go shopping all sorts of things, spend money unnecessarily and lose precious time, do what is common knowledge – make a plan. Planning is half the job done.

All small gardens, like this one of 30 square meters, requires more skill, experience, and balance than far larger gardens.

The first thing you will need to do, and what we did when we stepped on these few squares, is to determine the theme. What does that mean? This means we design the garden somewhere in our imagination.
These projections from our mind will guide the design to the final stage, which is the final look of the garden. This part is very important. If you skip it, you will be tapping in the dark. Each space is like a sheet of white paper. Empty and static at first impression, yet dynamic in all these possibilities. Give yourself a moment of silence, and space will send you the signal of how it wants to look alike. In that silence, small projections of the future will pop up in your head. As if you could already see it. As if you could already hear the rustle of leaves and smell scents. Stop there for a moment. There is a natural need to try to come up with several ideas, which is not bad. However, as I concluded from my own experiences, and what my professors (designers with years of experience and countless rewards behind them) taught me, the original idea is the only real idea that needs to be worked out in detail. Any other ideas after that initial can only complicate things. Looking at these 30 squares, we fell silent and waited for the first projection and the first signal that space would send us. And as trivial as it may seem, the associations that will stimulate your imagination may be ridiculous to others, but they will be crucial to you, just like it was for us. Imagination was triggered by the memory of a scene from a movie, which is not necessary to mention. The movie title would mean nothing to you anyway. It is more important to tell you that the associations which triggered the projections in our head were related to playfulness, beauty, honesty, and militancy. And this is what we mentioned at the beginning of the article. We have determined a theme – the small urban garden with elements of romance.

All you need to do is take plain or graph paper and a pencil. Of course, do not forget to draw which side of the world the garden is looking at because it determines which plants you will use later.

If you have a small garden and you do not know what to do, start with tips that we will teach you, and thus you may have an idea. And now, what do you do first when you want to make a cake? You bake a biscuit. Well, that’s it! The theme is a biscuit. It has a form, a shape. It is somehow finished, but it is not the final appearance of the cake. What now, you will wonder. Half the work is done, now comes the second half of the job. The next step is taking measures. A regular meter measuring tape will be enough to get you started. What already exists should be recorded on paper. All you need to do is take plain or graph paper and a pencil. Of course, do not forget to draw which side of the world the garden is looking at because it determines which plants you will use later. Our garden faces the southeast, which means that a good part of the day will be exposed to the Sun. Ours is an L-shaped biscuit, and as you can see, it is not regular shape. After we baked a biscuit and cut it into the desired shape, we still cannot say that this is it. The white paper is still kind of blank, and it would remain so if you had skipped the first step we talked about and those few moments of silence when you define a theme. The projection from the head is the foundation for playing various freehand shapes, just as we have done. In this way, we seek the ideal balance between hard and soft elements. We create a concept. The bad ratio between hard and soft elements resembles situations when overdoing it with the cream. So your cake is a little too thick, or the opposite when it is too dry. An ideal ratio is required, which is a balance. As has been said in the previous article, it is very important to know what you want to achieve in the garden, what style will be reflected, and how much time you will spend on it. It also depends on your personal preferences, needs, and the time you have to maintain it.

Once we have determined that our cake will have three rows of biscuits and two rows of cream, we begin designing, and we do so again in proportion. It may be the first impression that we can put anything on paper. But when we do the same in proportion, you will see that it does not fit as much as you might want. Or you will conclude that the three things you wanted to put on did not look quite as good as you thought. It will give you a real insight into the harmony we want to achieve. The phase that follows is the cake decorating. In this case, we’ll put it this way. There is a rough and fine decoration. The rough decoration is called the master plan, and best represents the balance achieved between the hard elements (like the existing walls, lawn, and stone we used in the paving), and the soft elements (in this specific case, plants). Fine decorating is a plan of planting, showing in detail which plants were used, in what proportion, and in what arrangement. It can also read the ratio of deciduous and evergreens, shapes, colors, and tones.

We will not individually name the plants used in the decoration, but at the end of the article, you can see a list of plants, which can help design your exterior. What was taken into account was that deciduous plants emphasize those evergreens and that deciduous trees, by changing the color of the leaves and bark of the trees, actually change the appearance of the garden through the seasons. This garden will always be active, interesting, and different. And what is very important, and should always be so, is that trees, shrubs, and perennials we used do not require constant irrigation after they have been established. This will not only save time that would be needed for daily watering the garden but also avoid the cost of an irrigation system. We especially have taken into consideration environmental awareness to preserve resources that are so precious. The most important fact for us is that with this choice of these trees, shrubs, and perennials, with the colors of flowers, and fragrances we will attract the various living beings necessary to sustain this small biosystem. Invite all bugs, earthworms, bees, butterflies, and birds to your garden. They will design in collaboration with your plants, something that neither you nor we can design, which will be the icing on the cake. And that red and juicy strawberry on the whipped cream is just a glass of fine wine, legs stretched out and enjoying the picture and the idea we just materialized. Enjoy your newly prepared cake.

TEXT – Iva Tominović Matas  PHOTO – Robert Blašković