Posted: 18/06/2013 at 12:03
One of the things for a small garden is to use the sides to grow climbng plants, as this makes the whole area more 'garden like', I - personal opinion only - cannot agree with less is more in a small space. I have seen some of the most stunning small gardens, absolutely packed with suitable planting - and that's the thing, it does need to be suitable for the space. What position is the garden in, when does the sun shine and where, what kind of soil do you have - and most important - what do you actually want? A place to sit, flowers with perfume, colour or green, pots or ground planting - £800 sounds like a huge amount of money to me, although I have a bigger garden than you have, I rarely have spent large amounts of money on it. You can get membrane at any good retailer or on line, and a builders merchant will tell you exactly how much gravel you want need for the site, and will deliver it alot cheaper than stores. I would suggest that if you do go the gravel route, you keep the colour muted and almost diaappearing as the emphasis needs to be on the plants, and you will quickly tire of a fancy colour in a year ot two - hopefully with something neutral you will just stop seeing it at all. Allow things to develop slowly, you don't have to 'finish' it all at once. Take time to get it right for you - gardens - whatever their size - evolve as nature and you work together to grow something special.
There are some excellent books about small gardens, it might be helpful to use your public library to look at some of these, and see what kind of thing makes you feel happy, and that is right for your area. Take your time, you will have to live with the results, and you do not have space to hide errors. Most of all, have fun and enjoy the search and the making of your own special place.