Successful Garden Design Tips 4 – Patio Makeover part2

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Here’s how the tiny Moroccan inspired courtyard garden turned out!

The first part showing the BEFORE can be seen here:

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Successful Garden Design Tips 3 – Tiny patio makeover part 1

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In this Successful Garden Design Tips video Rachel offers advice on how to give a tiny Moroccan inspired courtyard makeover. She’ll be back in PART 2 so you can see how it all turned out here:

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Successful Garden Design Tips 2 – How to use colour in the garden effectively…

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In this week’s Successful Garden Design Tips video, Rachel walks you through how to combine colours in the right way to add the wow factor to your garden!

BUT do be warned, colour alone will NOT give you a stunning garden – you have to get the design layout right first. If you don’t know how to do that then…

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Small Front Garden – SGD Student Anne Fries, Melbourne

I always love it when people send in photos of their gardens after doing one of our garden design courses.

This garden is no exception…

With NO previous design experience, Anne and her husband have done a tremendous job transforming their boring front yard into a beautiful garden…

I’ll now pass you over to Anne to tell you about her garden…

“In November, my husband and I moved into a new home which needed the front and back gardens designed and built. Whilst it was lovely to have the proverbial “blank canvas”, it was also rather daunting.

The builders had put in a very basic garden at the front, but it wasn’t what we wanted (see photo above).

I bought your online courses before we moved, and had a lot of fun drawing shapes and paths, scrapping them, and starting again!


The main challenge in the front garden was working around the two water meters and taps (we are fortunate to be in an estate that has connected Class A recycled water to every home for garden use, etc), an inspection hatch, and a stormwater vent, all within a wide but shallow garden.
I found the Small Garden Design Course particularly helpful, as it showed me how to break the garden up into shapes that made it look and feel deeper.


We built the garden together, with a rotary hoe and lots of elbow grease! My husband did a great job with the paving, edging and the connecting boardwalks, which take the eye on a journey.

We wanted some water in the garden, so to add some life and sparkle, we bought a tiny solar fountain ($15 on eBay), and placed it in a water dish. It adds a point of interest, some movement, and it’s fun to watch it respond to the changeable Melbourne weather!


We still have a couple of things to plant when cooler Autumn weather arrives, but it’s mostly done. Once some of the ‘larger’ plants have grown, we’ll be able to plant in their shade, but that’s quite a way ahead! We’ll just have to possess our souls in patience, as we wait for everything to grow!

I loved working through the courses, and applying what I learned to the challenges we faced. We love our garden, and it wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without your inspiration! Thanks for all your wisdom and practical advice. I really would have struggled and become so frustrated without it!”

Do you need ideas and help with your garden?

If you’d like to take the same course Anne did – take a look at our Small Garden Formula online course. It walks you through everything you need to know to be able to design a small space garden, no matter what shape.

Small Garden Case Study – Christine’s Design

This garden case study shows what has been achieved in an incredibly short amount of time (just over 3 months)…

Though, there is something about this one that is even more incredible than that, see if you can spot it and I’ll tell you at the end so you can see if you’re right!


Here’s what Christine had to say about her design process for her small space garden:

I moved to the present house 18 months ago and decided to leave garden for one year to see what came up.  

We have heavy compacted clay with some standing water.  Existing beds only about 12 to 18 inches wide and very hard to put fork in.

My previous garden had been light sandy loam so quite a change and had to re-think what plants would now grow!  Brought some plants with me but stayed in pots for over a year.

Employed a contractor to create path and put in drainage for new lawn, which they also laid.  My husband and I double dug the beds and incorporated Topsoil, compost, horticultural grit and composted manure, which we mixed with the clay.  

We had to remove a lot of builders rubble, even though the house is 16 years old.  After planting, we put down a bark mulch, which seems to have deterred slugs and kept moisture in.


My experience is that I originally trained at Writtle Agricultural College back in 1985 in horticulture as a mature student (now 68)!  Not actively used this but some things are retained.  

I am less skilled in design, although easier when it is not my garden, but love plants, so the Course [Small Garden Formula] really worked for me at many levels.  

I found measuring the site, design criteria and looking at what worked for my square garden really helpful.  It was a real focus to proceed, as I still felt daunted in beginning to design the garden.  

Your video presentations were professional but friendly and not too full of jargon.  Helped me to focus on shape before planting.  Found gallery of designs helpful.

ChrisGdnAfter1I am going to complete the garden in the Autumn with a summerhouse.  Have a “woodland “area under the trees and well as seating in sun and shade.  Hot border and a small barrel pond.

Christine Linley, UK

Have you been inspired by Christine’s garden?

I certainly have been, on many levels. The fact it’s looking so good so early on, is incredible, but not nearly as incredible as a small detail that Chris dropped in to the article…

Did you spot where she said her age? 68, if you missed it! I hope I’m still learning new skills and trying things out when I’m her age!

And I also hope that Christine will keep us posted and show us how the finished garden looks when the wheelbarrow is replaced by a summerhouse!

If you’ve been inspired to tackle your small garden, check out the Small Garden Formula course at

Do leave your comments or questions in the comment boxes below…

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