Don’t think you have enough space to start the garden of your dreams? Well, think again! There are many ways to garden in a limited area. You just need to be a little flexible and creative.
From small vegetable & herb gardens to growing your favorite flowers in compact spaces, there’s a multitude of ways to get planting! Keep reading for handy small space gardening tips … where the size of your outdoor plot doesn’t matter.
Make Good Use of Containers
Container gardening is definitely the way to go when dealing with space constraints. Containers punch up a grouping of flowers, herbs, veggies and seasonal displays. It’s easy for beginners to get started and you get instant gratification!
Not convinced? Here are some major benefits of growing in containers:
- Versatility: Container gardens allow you to grow on a balcony, patio, courtyard, driveway, and in other spots where it’s hard to plant in the ground.
- More Choices: You can grow plants that may not be suitable to grow in your garden soil or zone. You can mix and match easier in a smaller confined space.
- Accessibility: Growing plants in containers makes gardening accessible to almost anyone including children and those with limited mobility.
- Beat It Weeds: You’ll deal with way fewer weeds when gardening in pots due to the small surface area. Yay!
- Mobility: Plants in pots can easily be moved to suit your needs or to a more suitable sunny or shady location during the day. A storm in the forecast? No worries, they can be moved to a more sheltered area.
- Control Garden Bullies: Vigorous space invaders like those in the mint family are too invasive if let loose in the garden. They do well in containers where they are confined … but will take over an in ground garden in no time.
Besides all the wonderful containers and pots you can find online and at big box stores / garden centers … think about what you already have lying around. For instance the above photo shows a mini garden blooming in an old wheelbarrow. Beautiful!
Most any vessel will do as long as it has drainage holes so your plants don’t get water-logged. If not, a few holes drilled in the bottom of the item always works in a pinch.
Get creative with old watering cans, teakettles, wagons, picture frames, wooden crates, bird cages, broken chairs … there are endless possibilities! Don’t have anything collecting dust in the basement or garage? Well then, just take a trek to a resale / thrift store / yard sale and repurpose items into planting containers.
Hang Em Up
Create a unique hanging basket out of almost anything! Just add a drainage hole or two, potting soil, and the plants. Hanging plants frees up more space on the ground or balcony / patio floor plus adds height and interest to your floral or succulent display. Draw the eyes up …
These colanders as planters make a pretty combo and elicit conversation. Experiment with woven baskets, colorful bottles, pails, birdhouses, teacups … have fun with it! There are endless possibilities out there.
Some of my favorite plants for hanging arrangements include lobelia, begonias, impatiens, calibrachoa, long-trailing succulents, verbena, fuchsia, petunias, lantana, and moss roses. Many of those attract butterflies and hummingbirds as an added treat. Don’t forget your favorite houseplant varieties like spider plants, string of pearls, golden pothos, ferns, and ivy.
Raised Beds Work Great
Raised beds are ideal for patios and small yards as they allow for flowers, fruits, veggies and herbs to be grown in them. Not only will they supply you with beautiful flowers or delicious edibles, but these beds can also be the perfect patio accent! They are easy care and you have more control over your garden.
Place a raised bed on the ground or add legs to raise it up even more! It’s up to you and either way adds fantastic texture. You could easily add paint / stain or design your bed(s) to blend in with its surroundings.
The above photo shows an inventive way to use raised beds by layering different sizes. If you have crummy soil laden with clay where it’s hard to dig a hole … raised beds are the ideal solution!
Soil health and quality is everything when it comes to a bountiful, healthy, productive garden, so don’t mess around here! Using a combination of quality organic soil, compost, and an aeration (perlite / pumice) addition will create a rich, fertile, moisture holding – but also good draining mix.
How To Fill A Raised Bed? Try to target a mixture consisting of about 40% soil, 40% compost, 20% aeration. The goal is to get all of these materials evenly mixed, as much as possible. I like to layer (think lasagna) then mix it all together.
Unless you’re really handy, I recommend purchasing sturdy raised beds for the best results. They come in all different sizes and dimensions. Add one or more to your space and get planting!
Window Boxes = Charm Galore
Window boxes are one of the best ways to bring the garden onto balconies and decks. These balcony gardens take up limited space and add charming accents at the same time. Flowers are ideal for growing in window boxes.
Window boxes on the front of house spilling over with flowers creates instant curb appeal! I’ve always liked that look if it goes with the style of your house. They look especially charming on a Cape Cod style house … so inviting. Shop window boxes here!
Include a variety of foliage plants and flowering plants on each side, not just each concentrated in one area. Try to get plants that will overlap each other slightly so there are no big holes in the organization of the window box. This looks the best for en eye-catching display.
Flowers that do well in window boxes include: geraniums, zinnias, nasturtiums, begonias, vinca, calibrachoa, salvia and marigolds. Fill in with leafy plants such as sweet potato vine, wandering jew, ivy, and coleus.
Maximize the use of vertical gardening in your smaller yard. Don’t just think of planting low … aim high! Vertical gardening is a lifesaver when it comes to enlivening walls, spicing up decks, and saving space.
You can create a vertical planter out of literally anything! Hang pots, grow vines up a traditional trellis, create a cloth frame, plant in recycled bottles, and even grow in a shoe organizer as depicted below (great for herbs!)
Just about anything that your imagination can conjure up will work here. Vertical gardening is all about creativity and envisioning upright displays of flowers, veggies, herbs, and succulents.
Picture frames work great and provide a great conversation starter! Flower Chick spotted the attractive display below at the Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa. Nicely executed mix of succulents!
Of course, arbors, trellises, obelisks all work great for the vertical support of climbing roses, clematis and other interesting flowering vines.
Step It Up!
Ladders, steps, stacked boxes are perfect platforms for showing off plants. Don’t forget your entranceway as well as your patio, balcony or deck as a space begging for a floral display.
Place any type of potted plants on your doorsteps to spruce up the side space and create a visual interest leading to your entrance. Different sized pots work great … all the same design or mix it up with different colors and shapes.
Using steps is another form of vertical gardening and not only looks pleasing it’s practical and space saving. The edible greens depicted below makes an attractive exhibit with the added benefit of an organic, tasty salad at your fingertips!
Space Saving Gardening Tips Summary
If you don’t have much room to garden, don’t fret! There are so many ways to maximize the space you have and make room for pretty flowers, accent plants, fragrant herbs, and healthy vegetables & fruits.
Think outside the box and utilize container gardens, vertical gardening tricks, hanging pots and versatile raised beds to create the garden of your dreams. Remember good things can come in small packages!