Mike Evans owner of Tree of Life Nursery knows his shit. He has been in the nursery industry for over 40 years and when he gives advice he does so with knowledge and a true understanding of landscapes and designing with plants. In this lecture he talks about designing for small spaces. In fact most of what he talks about can be applied to any size space.
He touches on how the Japanese create gardens to force you to stop and slow down. He also talks about the benefits of having a theme, a plan and putting thought to what you are creating before just diving in.
Personally when I design gardens I think about what is it that the client wants to do with their garden? How is this space going to serve their lifestyle. Whether it's outdoor entertaining or a space to chill out and relax you still need to have some sort of theme in mind. In my front porch garden (that is in process of being redone) the theme is a space to sit with a hot cup of tea and a good book. I don't intend to entertain but do intend to sit their often chilling.
If you have had your garden done or if you did yourself then comment below and share what your theme is.