Small space garden design |Laurin Lindsey & Shawn Schlachter |Central Texas Gardener

We're now going to be focusing on howyou can create really creative wonderful small space gardens, and we're joined bya team of folks from Houston who are specialists to doing just that.

Houston is a booming town, big city with lots of people and lots of opportunity for smallspace gardens.

I'm joined by friends from Raven's Court Landscaping andDesign in Houston.

Laurin Lindsey, welcome, and Shawn Schlachter, great to have you here.

Thank you.

There are so many things you can do with tight spaces, and we're going to showpeople a lot of different kinds of things, but let's just talk about some ofthe opportunities that small spaces provide to homeowners.

So, in small spaces what you get intois, you have definite limitations.

In any yard, you're going to have limitations, but asmall space is very obvious, so often times we'll come in and thensomeone will try to put lawn in a three foot space, and it's going to die withinthree months, and you have to water, and no one wants to really mow the yard,especially when it's a hundred degrees outside.

So, what Laurin's really good at ismaking the details so that people are encouraged to go out into their yard.

And it's really an addition to the indoor living space, isn't it? Absolutely.

Almost from the get-gowhen I meet the people after they filled out the questionnaire and I'm kind oflistening and looking at the architecture, I try to manage expectations and buildconcepts, so I do present it as, you know, let's make this a courtyard because a tiny space can be a nice large courtyard where it's a tiny backyard, so if we shift our perception tocourtyard and we work on green walls and water features and maybe some kitchengarden areas and seating, so they can sit outthere and enjoy it, electricity so they can have fans, things likethat.

So right from the beginning I try to wrap theirmind and see their reaction, and then when I take it away, I know Ifeel pretty comfortable to go in a direction for them.

Well, it's really an outdoor room, isn't it?Absolutely, so it's bringing their idea to where, instead of saying they're not going to play kickball out there,they're not gonna play tennis or anything.

If you put them in the space, and then when they see it divided out it, so it's amazing how much larger thespace feels when you put seating out there when you do fountains and things likethat and bring everything to scale.

Well there's no rules against children and small gardens, but a lot of your clients are actually adults without children in the household, so you're planning for their needs.


We live in the center of Houston, three miles from downtown.

Well, they're taking out the older homes and putting in town homes, series of townhomes, and they always add some little garden space, but they're usually mud orgrass.

And then people are missing their big gardens, but then they don't want todo a lot of maintenance.

All right, well you use a lot of hardscapecreatively.

You use shelters you create shade.

You have reflective screens, allsorts of cool things that we're going to be talking about.

I reference the factthat we have some before and after pictures, and the first one I'd like totalk about is one, it has one of my favorite plants in it, so I locked intothat.

It's a river birch, but this is a, is this a full home or is this atownhome? This is a full home, but it's hard totell because what they've done is they've taken an old Victorian house andkind of blown out the back, which a lot of people are doing.

The land's not cheap,so they want to make the most use if they can, so half of the yard is is a garage, so it's kind of narrow space, and sowhat we wanted to do is create elevation, and what we'll see in the pictures isthere's a lot of raised beds.

Yeah and raised beds are kind of a themewith y'all.

You use them a lot and for kitchen gardens and those sorts ofthings right? And they can sort of, if you had a really large gatheringin a small space, they can be a perching wall, maybe notseating wall, or you know as people get older and they don't want to benddown, they can have it raised up a bit and sit and weed and plant and so tryingto think of functionality and long-term.

Well, I love the organization of the space.

It really does, it has kind of aformality to it, but it's also a place where I can see hanging out with friends,you know? So that's an important function for alot of your clients, I'm assuming, is entertainment.

Absolutely, I mean, it's an urban, a lotof oil and gas people that are, you know, they actually have moved from the suburbsinto we live in the heights, on purposebecause you can walk.

There is local rep, kind of little bitof Austin right in the middle of Houston.

So that same flavor.

They want to be out.

They want to enjoy life.

Well and you're giving them thatopportunity.

Instead of swatting mosquitoes in the St.

Augustine lawn, they're going out to a kind of a gracious patio, which is really awesome.

The next before and after I want to showis a one that's a narrow townhome, and you do something really clever here tohide the air conditioning, including some mirror screens.

Tell meabout the mirror screen.

So we found, Laurin found, she's really good at sourcing materials,it's an outdoor related material, so it's a plexiglass that we stacked together andthen we hide the seams.

You may be able to see in the pictures with thelattice we use.

So it works for several reasons.

One, it gives you the trickof the eye where you see the mirrors, so you don't notice the wall or the ACbehind it.

Plus it provides some sound dampening,and then any screen also gives a bit deeper sense of space, and we'll see inthe pictures.

Well and again very clever way to kindof, and a lot of times in side yards to get an AC unit or some kind offunctional piece of the house that you really don't want to look at, so screen those off.

It is important, but it's also the, gives you a way to help organize the space, you know it you you can break down the space with this, and I think that's really important.

You also use a variety of interesting materials, but the brick is one of your favorite materials.

We really like brick.

Brick is relatively inexpensive, and then we often use it asa veneer, so on patios it's a different set, but when it's on raised beds, we have a cinder block structure underneath.

And then it gets a nice older, old-world feel.

Sure, you know, and it develops apatina over time.

It kind of mellows in a way that's really great.

And everythingoutside in Houston patinas.

That's a nice way of saying it.

That's the truth, here Austin, too, I'mafraid.

That's certainly true, but again great spaces and somethingthat would age really gracefully over time.

The next garden I want to take a lookat is one where you had a client who had a little bit of a backyard, but they were building in town home next to it that was going to stare down into her houseand into her garden, so what was your answer there? Well, what Laurin is really good at isvisualizing what's going to happen in the future, so for her, we knew that there was going to be townhomes behind this unit, and so before we evengot in, what we saw was the level dirt, so Lauren created a pergola with very little offset on the roofing, so that creates privacy without feelingoppressive.

It's very little, also.

There's still slots, you can see.

Absolutely, so if you look straight up, it's about a fifty percent blockage of the sky, but at any angle from the windows of theneighbors, you can't see underneath, so it gives us a sense of privacy even thoughshe's being stared down on by the other neighbor.

And the create models that we used as a screen towards the back to continue the privacy are onlygoing to be like 15 to 20 feet, so easy to manage.

I don't like to trim them much, but she can move them up a little bit, but wejust soften it, and I sort of tend to when I get to a space put the patio far from the house.

On purpose because I want them to go because otherwise they're just not going to go back there, and then aswe bring this design towards the house to marry the spaces, make it really funto walk from one space to the other, but the yard then becomes bigger in my mind, and I think that's really true in that particular one.

It's a very graceful kind of addition.

It provides a roof and a sense of a room.

A great thing to have in the garden.

Now there's another space I wanted tofocus in on because this is one of those super narrow spaces, and you've built insome seating here, and you know I think almost every suburban house hasone of these dreadful little side yards, right, but here you've done something socreative with it.

Yeah when I walked in there I went oh my.

What am I going to do? It's like six feet with like 30 feet.

Oh, and she has, the utilities cut intoher yard, so we, the one was a boxed out.

We boxed out the other and made a seating bench when the arms, I think of them as arms, are herb beds.

Took down part of the fence put in lattice so the air can get through and have a different.

I hate to go in those little yards andall you see is picket fence.

You just feel depressed instantly, so if I can change it, I will.

And it blocks the air movement which you referenced, andyou just feel stifling in the space, so much of the time.

We did put cafe lights.

We made special arrangements, so it's the cute space.

It's fun.

Another one, and this is one thing that I think was a dramatictransformation where you were working on the entry is what typical overgrownshrubs air conditioning unit into something that feels gracious and modern.

So in her space she's right off the biketrail, and it's right at the.

In Houston we have the open ditches, so she had nothing redeeming about the front yard, and the plants that the builder put in because they wereinexpensive had overground the space, and that was the only yard space.

The back just goes to an alley, so what Laurin did was cleaned out thespace.

The air conditioner was moved to open up more space and create a patio.

Well, a great job that shows that great things can come in small packages.

Real briefly, Laurin, you write, and youhave a website and a blog where you talk about your gardens.

Real briefly tell ushow people can find that.

Well, our website is www.



Nice and simple, from there you canget to the blog.

There's a button and pictures and other things and lots oforganic information.

We are very informational.

We want to teachpeople and invite them into their spaces and get to know nature, so there's, we have an agenda.

Well good, it sounds like a very positive agenda.

Before the interview you warned me youwere very shy and weren't going to be talking very much.

I want to say your were a great guest.

You're both great guests.

Thank you so much for being a part of our program.

Thank you.

Okay, coming up next is Daphne.

Source: Youtube

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.