So often people who live in ''smaller'' homes feel frustrated with the lack of garden space they have available. However, with proper planning this problem seems do disappear to a certain extent and what follows are some space saving techniques. If you have only a patio, balcony, porch or small garden area available, have a look at the following to help you achieve the best garden for you.

Maximising available space

Clever container gardening

Decide what containers you like best. There are various possibilities to choose from, such as earthenware or porcelain. To avoid a cluttered look it is a good idea to stick to white and brighten things up with the flowers you choose. Remember too that pots need to allow proper drainage.

Position planters close to one another to save space. Arrange pots of similar size to create certain patterns, such as squares (6 – 8 planters) or circles (again 6 – 8 or even more in a larger area) with one bigger planter right in the middle for dramatic effect. This works well in a square space. In narrower areas we try to put planters directly against walls, with tall-growing plants such as shrubs at the back and smaller ones with spring blooms in the front.

Hanging baskets have become popular, not only because the look is ''different'', but also because they save space. Hang baskets of all shapes and sizes from ceilings, wooden beams, porches, balconies, or from wall brackets. Do not forget that window-sills and window-boxes all serve to save space. These days it's easy to find pots and planters to fit anywhere, even narrow spaces. You'll be amazed at what you can create by using spaces imaginatively. On window-sills alternate between spring/summer flowers and herb pots to mix beauty with practical considerations. Even the fence between your home and that of the neighbour's can be used to show off a climbing plant with, at intervals, small hanging baskets boasting lots of colour. Another way of growing your garden up (vertically) and not sideways or horizontally, is to create a ''layered'' look whereby you hang or position plants above one another. Paint, for example, three or more wooden planks/pieces of hardboard (also more sturdy beams if you have access to some) white and position them on bricks/small rocks. Now you have created the perfect structure on which to arrange planters, big and small, to show off your creative flair. All that's needed now is the choice of pots and plants. Some people call this method stacking. So, whether you layer or stack your pots, you save space and still have a pretty garden.

No space for the tool shed?

Use available areas creatively. The space underneath your garden table and chairs is perfect. Put the tools in painted boxes (either all of them white or painted in various colours) and stow them away. Alternatively a small cupboard or two in which the tools are kept, can be positioned in corners. On top of these you can put more flowering pots!

Use folding garden furniture

In small areas such as balconies it's often best to stay away from heavy pieces. Once you've folded up your chairs after use and put them in a cupboard (remember the one where you keep your tools?), you have more room to move and will not feel the effect of clutter.

The storage bench

If your patio/porch allows you the space, keep a bench with an easy-to-open lid where you keep tools, fold-away furniture, unused pots and garden related materials. Make the bench a feature by choosing a fabric in either white or a soft pastel and placing two tall planters with shrubs on either side. If you choose a white fabric, compliment it with a flowering shrub.

Small spaces can easily look cluttered. It is advisable to remember the adage ‘less is more’. Although we often think that because we have limited space available we need to compensate by bringing in more and more pots and plants and colour, the opposite is actually true. A lot of clutter causes your little garden to look untidy and uninviting and will not bring you joy, especially where space is limited. Stay on the safe side and instead choose fewer pots, planters and flower-boxes and be careful of too much colour in confined spaces.

Let your garden, even a small one, be your little paradise by planning it properly and executing your ideas cleverly.