Design tips for small outdoor spaces from Thierry Halgand, a fully-fledged member of the FermobPeople community
At Fermob, we love nothing more than helping you get your outdoor space looking its best. But what if your space is really small? Tiny, even? Never fear! We’ve got some great tips and ideas for you from Thierry Halgand, the landscape designer who specialises in terraces, balconies, yards and patios, and whose businesses Balcoon and Paysagis.com have been bringing greenery to spaces in every corner of France.
1/ Keep it minimal, go for structure
For smaller outdoor spaces, it’s best to keep the footprint of your furniture as small as possible! And that’s precisely what Fermob’s designers had in mind when they came up with their new range of small, clever items of furniture, like the Bistro balcony table and the brand-new Bebop small table. Combine them with Monceau low armchairs or take your pick from the Sixties seat collection. As for adding a touch of greenery, you can’t go far wrong with Fermob’s designer metal planters!
2/ What Fermob planters should you go for?
And what should you plant in them? The tall Terrazza planter and the extending Basket model are ideal for vegetables and aromatic plants. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some photos from Thierry Halgand’s on-trend layout designed especially for FermobWeek 2019. To get your own space looking this chic, plant herbs such as different varieties of sage. Alternatively, you could opt for a mix of coral bells (there are lots of varieties to choose from, with foliage of different colours), succulent plants and spring bulbs.
The Basket planter – yes, that one again – is ideal for perennial plants and dwarf shrubs. And if you want to add a twist, why not create contrasting foliage colours by combining lightweight grasses (such as stipa and purple phormium) with wild fennel and beeblossom? Mixing and matching forms produces a great effect, too – go for tall Lily of the Nile and Argentinian verbena alongside rounded, low-lying hebe. And here’s another recommended combination: slender ferns and rhododendrons alongside creeping dwarf ivy.
3/ A haven of greenery, sheltered from prying eyes…
Your privacy matters! To shelter your space from your neighbours’ view, plant bamboo to create a thick, green barrier. You can also use horsetail, phormium grasses, pygmy bamboo or France Bleu Rengun eucalyptus to produce a similar effect. So pick up your trowel, get digging, and turn your small outdoor space into a private, sheltered haven of greenery in next to no time.
4/Tips for keeping a small garden looking great all year round:
*Choose your grow tray according to your plant or shrub’s root ball volume and desired size (since it’ll naturally grow as time passes – at least that’s the idea!).
*Choose where you place your grow tray carefully, according to exposure and wind direction.
*Choose staggered flowering periods to keep your planters looking great all year round, opt for long-flowering plants for long-lasting bloom, and include some evergreen shrubs for a year-round decorative touch.
*Only use compost in your planters. Good-quality compost should be very dark brown or even black in colour.
*Plant the root ball and roots, but not the base of the stems!
*Ideally, use rainwater rather than tap water to water your plants.
*Keep the compost moist at all times, since soil dries out more quickly in a grow tray than in a garden. Cover with a layer of straw to help retain moisture. But be careful not to over-water, since this can rot the roots.
*Plant in staggered rows, leaving sufficient space between plants.
If you don’t feel confident enough to do it yourself, the best option is to call in a landscape designer to design your small outdoor space for you! They’ll have the knowledge and experience to get every last detail right: from furniture size, flow and layout, to plant foliage and planter colours. And you could do much worse than Thierry Halgand. He’ll make your growing trays shine – and give you exclusive access to his…
… Tips and ideas for getting your hands on cheap plants and shrubs, in Paris and online:
Don’t miss: Paris City Council plant clearance sales, with unbeatable prices – if you can brave the crowds!
Key tip: as a general rule, garden centres are cheaper than florists.
If you want to buy online, the following nurseries are great options:
Le Jardin du Morvan: https://www.jardindumorvan.com/
Fern specialist: https://fougeresdicietdailleurs.com
Le Jardin du PicVert: https://www.jardindupicvert.com
Share your own tips and ideas for a great-looking small garden with us!
Thierry Halgand is a huge fan of Fermob furniture – it’s a tasteful option for smaller spaces, and it’s reasonably priced to boot. Thierry describes Fermob as a “French brand with an extensive selection of colours and ranges that cater to customers’ personalities, tastes, circumstances and styles!” His personal favourites? The Bellevie, Croisette, Luxembourg, Monceau, Sixties and Balad ranges.
How-to guide: six steps for successful planting:
*Layer the bottom of the grow tray with 3-4 cm of clay pebbles to allow water to drain (and prevent mould).
*Cut a sheet of grow felt to the size of your container, place on top of the clay pebbles, then fill with universal compost half-way up the tray.
*Untangle the roots and soak the root ball in a tub of water until air bubbles stop rising to the surface – this is a sign that the plant is drinking the water!
*Carefully plant the root ball, leaving no part of it protruding above the compost.
*Carefully pack the compost up to 2-3 cm from the edge of the grow tray.
*Water generously but gently.