Choose furniture that has a lightweight feel – a simple outline that shows plenty of the ground beneath will visually enhance the space.
Go vertical with your plantings – tall, narrow species such as slender weaver bamboo will grow into a wall of greenery in a narrow bed.
Paint the deck, wall or fence a dark neutral such as Dulux Timeless Grey or Colorbond Monument; the colour will help it recede and the plants in front pop.
Build-in features such as seating – it helps make the most of available space, essential in a small garden, and can also often be used to generate extra storage, below.
How low can you go
Look for dwarf varieties of shrubs, such as gardenia radicans – you get all the benefit of the plant’s beauty and fragrance, without the potential view-impeding size.
If you can’t fit both a lounge and dining setting, prioritise. If you entertain a lot, plump for a dining table with well-padded seating to encourage guests to linger. Otherwise a relaxing lounge setting with a good-sized coffee table will give you casual dining options. Cheese and wine, anyone?
Benches are a great option if you only have a compact zone to work with. They can fit more people than chairs alone and can generally slide beneath the table when not in use to free up space.
Pick two or three large feature items – such as a suitable tree, oversized pot or water feature – to draw the eye, rather than lots of small ones, which can make the space seem cluttered and consequently smaller.
Use height. Vertical gardens deliver the best of both worlds – privacy and plantings.
Take a cue from indoor styling and hang an outdoor-grade mirror to visually double the space. Position it so that it reflects greenery rather than brickwork or an ugly fence.