Transforming a mini garden into the perfect space to hang out with family

A SELF-DESCRIBED nature lover turned a small space in the backyard of her terrace house into a minimalist garden which doubles as a breakfast-cum-tea-time corner.

Tunku Saidatul Sa’adiah Tunku Saffuan has a home designed impeccably with contemporary furniture which looks straight out of an American home design magazine.

However, something was missing! She thought a garden would have added an appeal to the house. She had also developed a passion for gardening since having to stay at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I have always loved nature and beautiful scenery. My parent’s house where I grew up has a large area for greenery and so, I wanted the same for my house,” said Saidatul, 32.

She was lucky because she had sufficient space at the back of the house, despite living in an intermediate terrace unit.

“I thought why don’t I divide this space into three different sections,” she said.

Then, she renovated her backyard into three functional spaces; an American-style kitchen complete with quartz stone with marble design countertop with backsplash, pretty tiles and pot filler, a laundry room, and a mini garden.

$!A rack by the door holds pots of herbs.

The eye-catching garden

Saidatul took a little space and added life to the empty space with colourful flowers and green plants.

She transformed the space into a unique and spacious garden. It’s a truly captivating place to grow flower plants, vegetables, and fresh herbs.

The indoor garden is accessible through the sliding doors from the kitchen and laundry room, and a door which leads to the back street. The glass sliding doors open up to a visually appealing white-and-green garden.

The floor and walls are covered with green artificial grass, from floor to ceiling. “In order to match with a white kitchen and laundry room concept, I chose doors, garden table sets, metal grilles and the plant’s pots in white,” she explained.

“My indoor garden has ample natural sunlight coming into the space, which is sufficient for the growth of an array of plants. I love to grow herbs, which I always add in my cooking such as basil, chili padi and curry leaves, just to name a few.”

A small collection of herb pots are displayed horizontally on a steel rack, while aesthetically beautiful flowers pots add a pop of colour to the green room.

Saidatul creatively arranged a small cluster of pots filled with roses, petunias, and angelonia on a small wooden board on the ground and on a small side table, while a planter added beauty to the tiny space. She also created a hang out spot.

“The garden is a place where I grow my plants, as well as a space where our small family could spend time together in the morning and evening. It’s a space for us to have a coffee and chit chat.

“I also spend a lot of ‘me’ time, there. It’s a perfect place for some ‘alone’ time to read books and sip a coffee or just relax.”

$!A sliding door links both the kitchen and the garden.

Designing a green world

The idea for the garden born out of her own imagination. ”It’s a cross between Alice in Wonderland’s Tea Party and a green glass house,” explained Saidatul.

Before she started planning the design of the garden, Saidatul considered several factors, such as safety and size.

“It was challenging because I have to divide the space into three sections. I had to make ensure that the garden was not too small, and yet had sufficient space for my kitchen and laundry room.”

Saidatul also installed a clear roof with a metal grille and it gives a feel of green glasshouses or sunrooms in European countries.

“Actually, I wanted an open-air concept garden but my contractor advised me to install a roof with a grille for security purposes. At first, I was reluctant but it turned out to be a good idea,” she revealed.

“Besides, I don’t have to deal with the water splash when it rains.”

Creativity and challenges

The most challenging part for Saidatul was to work within the limited space of the garden.

“I had to limit the number, types, and the size of plants. Luckily, I found a way to maximise the space by placing the small pots on the rack. However, I could only have a small table with just two chairs.”

The entire renovation for the garden cost around RM10,000. The garden took about a month to build, but the landscaping was done in just a day.

Meanwhile, Saidatul took another month for the interior decoration including adding string lights and furniture.

$!Saidatul. – All pix by Tunku Saidatul Sa’adiah binti Tunku Saffuan

Ideas for mini gardens

Saidatul, who owns online business 7thhavenhome, which sells modern kitchen tools and home decoration items, shared some tips to design a home affordably.

“My tip is to first identify your needs, which is the functionality of each space. Plan every detail and have good communication with your contractors.

“Secondly, utilise the space very wisely. Put your interest and passion into account while designing your space. If you love gardening, there is always going be a space for that. If your spouse love to work out, a mini gym would make you and your spouse.”

“It’s your house and it’s curated by you. ‘Home Sweet Home’ or ‘Home is Heaven’ is not just a phrase – it can turn into reality.”