We’re always on the lookout for ingenious small garden ideas – who’s got space to waste these days? And we just found our next source of gardening inspiration thanks to B&Q and its Gardener of the Year competition.
Running for its third year awarding one lucky gardening enthusiast, this year Bristol-based Matthew Symonds nabbed the crown with his tiny but perfectly designed 5.6m x 6.5m garden, also winning the Best Versatile Garden category.
This tiny garden is a masterclass in how zoning and multi-levels can create the impression of so much more space. Not an inch goes to waste in Matthew’s garden with every corner carefully thought out and considered. Most features even serve more than one purpose.
The little urban oasis is perfectly sectioned and split into two levels as building upwards when one lacks space is a crafty way of gaining some extra square metres. Each level comes with its own entertaining area (yes, there are two different garden seating ideas to take advantage of in this tiny space!), with the lower level seating enclosed by a variety of potted plants creating an intimate feel. A pond with the perfect water feature idea awaiting can be found right next to the garden bench.
Meanwhile, the upper level is fitted with a small green house, which opens up at the bottom to reveal a bike storage. On the opposite side, a water butt doubles as a display for a potted lily plant and a hidden air-source heat pump is covered with a shelf of potted plants.
And can we remind you it’s only 5.6m x 6.5m?!
‘I hope that my garden can show people that gardening doesn’t require a large, sunny, open, green space,’ Matthew says. ‘Instead, with some smart thinking and a lot of love, any space on any budget can become your own paradise.’
‘Working full time means most of my gardening is done at weekends, but it is never a chore. Tending to my plants is my escape from life’s stress and it allows me to immerse myself in my love of plants, which is why I am so grateful to be recognised for doing something I love.’
But it didn’t always look like this. When Matthew moved in nearly 20 years ago, what he found was a concrete square covered in weeds. The garden has been his project ever since, which he still views as a work in progress, despite winning B&Q’s Gardener of the Year and being a clear master of garden designs for a small garden.
It’s the considered, multi-functional approach that impressed this year’s judges including celebrity maître d’ Fred Sirieix – who is already planning on applying some of Matthew’s hacks into his own garden – B&Q Outdoor Category Director, Steve Guy, and award-winning garden designers, Matt Childs and Humaira Ikram.
It also ultimately won Matthew the prize of £10,000 and a £2,500 B&Q gift card. He plans on spending his winnings on more plants to add to his existing selection which includes hazel bamboo, as well as a trip to Japan and India to be inspired by the local garden designs.
Now we need to decide which of these tricks we should replicate first.