Small garden architecture - ideas and inspirations

27 of October '23

Is your garden a place where you can make your every dream vision happen? In theory, yes, construction law gives you a lot of freedom in arranging this space. In practice, however, it turns out that some elements of small garden architecture require proper approval. If you are looking for inspiration for the design of your dream garden, check out your options! You can put up a romantic swing without any problem. Will it be the same with a garden gazebo?

What counts as small garden architecture?

It's worth knowing a few basic definitions, which will help when talking to a landscape architect (or, if necessary, an official). According to the law, construction objects are divided into: buildings, structures and small architecture objects. It is the latter category that houses most of the elements erected in gardens. The regulations list some of them:

  • statues,
  • ponds and water features,

  • pergolas and trellises,

  • religious objects (shrines and statues),

  • utilitarian objects for recreation and maintenance.

In practice, the last category is infinitely capacious and applies to all utilitarian and decorative elements of the garden: barbecue, playground, swings, trash can, compost heap and many others.

Well, but you have really ambitious plans. Can you build a gazebo and a swimming pool in the garden?

Mała architektura ogrodowa to nie tylko budynki, ale również różne rodzaje ogrodowych dekoracji, mebli i infrastruktury użytkowej. Fontanna i oczko wodne również mieszczą się w tej kategorii

Small garden architecture doesn't include only buildings, but also different types of garden decorations, furniture and utility infrastructure. A fountain and a pond also fall into this category.

Photo by Michael M © Unsplash

Is a garden gazebo a small architecture object?

The regulations we cite above (Article 29 of the Construction Law) do not provide a definition of a garden gazebo, nor do they list it among small garden architecture objects. In the popular understanding, a light garden gazebo is a small building on a circular or square plan with walls and a roof. So it is safe to treat a gazebo as a structure of up to 35 m². For such structures, a building permit is not required, but only a notification to the district administration. It's also worth knowing that there can be only one such object for every 500 m² of garden. However, if you have doubts, why not opt for a built-in terrace?

In the case of a swimming pool or pond, the matter is obvious. A permanent garden pool of up to 50 m² requires only a notification 30 days before the start of construction work. If you dream of a larger body of water - it will be necessary to obtain a building permit.

How to plan the placement of landscaping elements in the garden?

To ensure that the final appearance of the garden is in accordance with your vision, you need to proceed in several orderly steps. It is a good idea to break down this project into three key stages:

  • Contacting a landscape architect and developing a plan for the garden, consistent with the style of the house, terrace, facade, terrain and climate conditions.

  • Constructing and paving the basic pathways and installing the most important elements of garden architecture: benches, heavy pots, gazebos and pergolas, a wall, a brick barbecue, and a rainwater tank, trash can and composter.

  • Making plantings (shrubs, flowers, herbs) and completing the garden with small decorative elements and lighting.

Of course, each garden lives its own life and can (and even should!) change over the years according to your needs. The point, however, is not to buy garden furniture before the relaxation zone has been measured and delineated. Garden furnishings should be a natural complement to the design prepared in advance. Be sure to learn valuable tips on designating functional zones in the garden!

Meble ogrodowe to „kropka nad i” każdego projektu. Ich wybór jest jednym z ostatnich etapów urządzania wymarzonego ogrodu

Garden furniture is the "cherry on top" of any project. Their selection is one of the final stages of arranging the garden of your dreams.

Photo Engin Akyurt © Pexels

Decorate your garden with small architecture

Everything you plan in your garden should please your eye and be in accordance with your chosen style. That's right, a garden can and should have style! If you live in a modern building, you will certainly arrange the space around the house quite differently from the owner of a rustic cottage.

Pergola and trellis

Large, openwork structures are extremely popular in gardens because of their functionality:

  • Trusses, or frames filled with lattice, divide and organize space, provide support for climbing plants, and allow you to hide from the unwanted eyes of neighbors.

  • Large pergola structures can be a canopy and cover for a terrace or form a freestanding pavilion. This is another good way to protect your furniture from rain and sun, if you don't opt for a gazebo.

  • A typical trellis consists of three beams or posts, connected at the top. It is an excellent scaffolding for overhanging plant stems.

Pergolas and other structures are very easy to adapt to the style of your garden. They can be made of different materials: wood or metal, as well as aluminum and plastic. Wooden elements are excellent decorations for traditional gardens. You can read more about securing pergolas and garden furniture made of wood in a comprehensive article on the subject. On the other hand, fancy curves made of metal will look beautiful in romantic corners. However, if you go for minimalism, a simple polycarbonate pergola will fit perfectly into this style.

Pergola może być minimalistyczną konstrukcją, wolnostojącym pawilonem lub drewnianą podporą dla pędów roślin. Jej styl z łatwością dostosujesz do wyglądu ogrodu

A pergola can be a minimalist structure, a freestanding pavilion or a wooden support for plant stems. You can easily adapt its style to the look of your garden.

Photo: Tile Merchant Ireland © Unsplash

Pond and fountain

Ponds and small ponds emphasize the romantic or ecological character of the garden. The proximity of water has a relaxing effect and creates a unique microclimate for growing selected plant species. Establishing a pond in the garden is easier than you think, and arranging its surroundings can give you a lot of satisfaction. If you have such a plan, be sure to consult with the staff of a trusted garden store, who will explain how to take care of the garden pond.

On the other hand, lovers of modern arrangements, can opt for discreet fountains. Small water features in concrete bowls will provide a pleasant rush of water near the relaxation area.

Benches and flower pots

Benches and pots are elements of landscaping with which you can emphasize the style of your garden, or (unfortunately!), make it a mess. You definitely need at least a few pieces throughout the garden, depending on its area. Here's a valuable note: make sure that all benches and pots are in a similar style. If you choose concrete, then stay with it. If you are putting a romantic bent metal bench near a pond, opt for a similar one nearby. Applying this principle, you will quickly see the results, and your garden will remain cohesive and orderly.

Small garden architecture - utilitarian and space-organizing objects

Paths, sidewalks, parking and driveway are also integral parts of your garden. In a well-thought-out design, they should be integrated into the greenery to form a cohesive whole. But perhaps you have concerns that concrete in the garden will spoil your vision of a natural oasis? There are ways to avoit it!

The paths in your garden can still be charming and unobtrusive if you pave them with pavers that resemble natural stone. You can also opt for gravel, which works well on any paved surface. The edges of paths and lawns will look even better if you opt for walls and small fences. These are elements that bring order, but also fit perfectly into the style of the surroundings. Wooden fences and palisades can refer to the look of natural pergolas, while retaining walls made of raw concrete are perfect for a minimalistic space.

In your garden, there are also bound to be objects that you will not want to display. This could be a waste storage area, a composter or a rainwater tank. These types of elements can be adapted in appearance to the surroundings (a rustic rain barrel), planned at the back of the house or hidden behind an appropriately sized pergola.

Ścieżki, ciągi komunikacyjne, podjazd i parking to również część przydomowej przestrzeni! Przemyślany projekt sprawi, że ich wygląd będzie spójny ze stylem ogrodu

Paths, walkways, driveway and parking lot are also part of the home space! Thoughtful design will make their appearance consistent with the style of the garden.

Photo by Raelle Gann Owens © Unsplash

Is it worth to arrange a playground in the home garden?

As long as you have a large enough space, it's worth providing your children with their own corner and a playground in the garden! Most toddlers love to spend time in the sandbox, and they'll be even happier with a swing, a house with a slide, a mud kitchen or their dream tree house. Backyard playgrounds are unique pieces of garden equipment - choose them with special care. Make sure that all toys have the necessary approvals and are solidly made by specialists. In this case, safety is a priority!

What else will make kids happy? The youngest generation can have their own table and chairs of small size, as well as a water feature, which in summer will be a source of great fun and coolness.

Peaceful moments in nature, meetings with friends at a barbecue and the joy of creating your own space - these are just some of the benefits of having a garden. Plan it so that it becomes a favorite place for the whole family! Need more inspiration? On our portal under the keyword "garden" you will find a rich database of articles that present even more possibilities.

Compiled by:MAŁGORZATA URBAŃSKA

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