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Softening the outlines. Once the structure is set, plants can soften outlines and hard edges, and add color and year-round interest. The plants in this scheme cleverly add to the formal paved design without overriding or hiding it.
Selecting plants to fit the design. Restricting the range of plants can help to strengthen the layout. Small garden design needs discipline in plant selection. Too many varieties will lead to a fussy design that doesn't feel easy on the eye. In this garden the use of a few species allows the plants to blend with the paved areas and walls.
We can take ideas from topiary gardens of the past and just use evergreens trimmed into shapes that will unite the small garden design. Or look to famous gardens such as Vita Sackwell-West's Sissinghurst, where her white border is a great lesson on how to restrict planting to one color to unify a small space.
Using focal points. One of the final lessons to be learned from the gardens of the past century is the use of a feature or focal point within a small space. Most small gardens are enclosed by a hedge, wall or fence, so they have no natural focal point leading the eye through the garden. A sculpture, water feature or, in this case, a stunning outdoor sofa creates an internal focal point.