Tiny, private gardens and sweet retreats Clever ideas for small outdoor spaces from the 1960s

Small gardens & sweet retreats: Clever ideas for secluded outdoor spaces from the 1960s

Gardens for privacy: Six clever ideas for small gardens & outdoor spaces from the 1960s

Here are some practical ideas to help you plan a tiny garden all your own — a quiet, refreshing area close to your house where you can enjoy the plants and flowers you love

Small gardens & sweet retreats: Clever ideas for secluded outdoor spaces from the 1960s


Small gardens – Idea #1: Bright floral alcove

One step from the kitchen and you enter this flower-filled world which is just 12′ wide and 15′ long. It opens a whole new concept in summer living.

Note the raised planters of sturdy redwood which make gardening easy and see how effective the fence is for the display of potted plants, perhaps window plants you need to summer outdoors.

The vine-covered lath canopy is supported by the fence. The solid sections of the fence were achieved by covering the grids formed by the posts and rails with weatherproof plywood or similar building material. The grids on the fence opposite the kitchen door were left open, permitting a view of the backyard.

Bright floral alcove - Tiny private gardens and sweet retreats Clever ideas for small outdoor spaces from the 1960s


Small gardens – Idea #2 Garden of vegetables and flowers

Vegetables, herbs and fruits are decorative, and rows of them create a pretty pattern effect. For additional interest combine them with flowers and purely ornamental shrubs and vines.

If you choose fruit and vegetables as the major theme of your private garden, remember that they require full sun in order to thrive. And as you plan, consider planting a tree or large shrub outside your garden enclosure to hide an unsightly object from view. You might want to take down a tree or shrub so you can see a distant view from the seclusion of your garden.

Prefabricated tool houses, similar to the one shown, are not expensive, and are as practical as they are decorative. Play them up dramatically. Select one that is in keeping with the architecture of your house.

Garden of vegetables and flowers - Tiny private gardens and sweet retreats Clever ideas for small outdoor spaces from the 1960s


Small gardens – Idea #3: Formal garden for city or suburb

A symmetrical plan induces a feeling of repose and is especially nice for a private garden if the remainder of a yard is planted along informal lines. Evergreens, sheared architecturally, emphasize the simple design and ensure a handsome effect the year-round.

Summer color, as seen here, is obtained from annuals set out as young plants in late spring to follow tulips and hyacinths massed in the planting beds. Chrysanthemums grown in pots are grouped at the base of the figure as a colorful focal point in late fall. Note how the sections of paling fence inserted in the brick walls lend contrast in texture and color, while the vines on them provide a pattern effect.

Formal garden for city or suburb - Tiny private gardens and sweet retreats from the 1960s

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Small gardens – Idea #4: Stroll garden

Shielded from neighboring yards, this private garden shown at peak spring bloom is designed to be enjoyed from indoors as well as out.

The steps flanked with flower-filled urns and framed by flowering trees make a pleasing composition the year round and at night too, for weatherproof bullet-type lights are concealed behind the evergreens to illuminate the scene after dark.

The sound of splashing water in the wall fountain produces a reflective mood (it can be heard indoors when the sliding doors are open) and the gay flowers on either side of the gravel panel are worthy of close-up inspection, coffee cup in hand, on cool summer mornings. When the tulips finish flowering, annual plants are set out between them for summer color. They, in turn, are followed by pot-grown chrysanthemums for a fall display.

Stroll garden - Small private gardens and sweet retreats Clever ideas for small outdoor spaces from the 60s


Small gardens – Idea #5: Shady retreat

The green canopy of an old tree creates a restful area, and there are many bright plants that enjoy the shade of a tree as much as people do. Begin this spring with a few plants from your florist or garden center and add to your collection each year.

Should your tree have many roots close to the surface of the soil, use gravel or brick or stone set in sand beneath the tree, and plant your flowers around the edges of the paving. A fence is usually the wisest choice for an enclosure in the shade but there are hedge plants that need little sun. Note hanging-basket begonias and fuchsias in the branches.

Shady retreat - Tiny private gardens and sweet retreats Clever ideas for small outdoor spaces from the 1960s


Small gardens – Idea #6: Informal cottage garden

This clearing between house and woodland couldn’t have been utilized more effectively. The plantings have a casual air which takes time and patience to achieve.

Spring color is insured by the shrubs and trees which bound the garden on one side and by the tulips and daffodils planted in groups in front of them. Large drifts of perennials at the top of the low wall insure color from summer through fall, as do the annuals sown between the path and house where they get full sun on long summer afternoons.

Develop your garden in budget-wise stages. You might begin this garden by planting shrubs and annuals this spring. Next fall set out the perennials and bulbs.

For easier maintenance, you might substitute two or three inches of grave] in place of the grass. Sow creeping thyme between the stepping stones. It is soft to look at and soft and fragrant when walked upon. If you can’t find pretty stones you might use old railroad ties for the wall and wood rounds for the path. Both have a rustic flavor. Brick for wall and path would be in keeping, too.

Informal cottage garden - Tiny private gardens and sweet retreats Clever ideas for small outdoor spaces from the 1960s

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Clever ideas for small outdoor spaces from the 1960s

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