Last Updated on June 1, 2023
A list of 11 practical tips on planning a small garden that will make your limited outdoor space more comfortable, enjoyable, beautiful, and productive.
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While it’s true that planning a small garden can take a little more thought than a large yard, it’s satisfying and rewarding just the same. Take it as a challenge rather than a limitation, and you’ll find plenty of ways to make the most out of it.
Go through the list of resourceful tips on designing and planning your small outdoor area. Choose the ones you find most fitting to your space and modify them according to your preferences. After all, your garden will be a reflection of your personal creativity.
1. Add An Edible Landscape
Growing your own vegetables and fruits to supply your healthy diet actually doesn’t take much space.
You can easily incorporate in your small outdoor space some of the next elements:
- 4×4 square foot garden
- raised planter filled with fresh crunchy veggies
- stand alone fruit or nut tree
- indeterminate tomato plant in a grow bag
- potted blueberry bush
- window box with herbs
- black raspberry plant or peas climbing on your fence
- cherry tomatoes cascading from the upside down planter
- edible flowers and strawberries in your flower bed or entryway border.
They will blend perfectly in your landscape providing you with food and beauty at the same time.
Read more on what kind of small garden you can start in STARTING A GARDEN
2. Container Gardening
Containers are your best friends when planning a small garden. You can easily grow vegetables, flowers, and even small trees in pots.
With pots, the good thing is that you can easily move them around to suit the landscape or the sunlight requirements of the plants.
3. Take It Vertical
5 tier vertical garden planter with internal watering technology.
Planting horizontally isn’t the only option; if you’re short of space and still don’t feel like giving your green thumb a rest, take it up with the vertical planter.
Also, make use of bare walls facing your garden or the sides of your garage. Layer it with a mesh or horizontal fence and hang containers from it. There are plenty of species that grow well in containers and won’t mind growing vertically.
4. Add A Relaxing Corner
Try to squeeze in a compact sitting arrangement. It could be a small dining table with light foldable chairs or a garden bench. Don’t go for bulky furniture since it will just overcrowd the space that could otherwise be used for more plants.
5. Play Smart With Straight Lines
- Straight lines or rectangular panels create the impression of length.
- Use rectangular floor tiles and dining tables with long wooden panels to make your space appear larger.
- If you have tiled or wooden walls, you can make use of those too.
6. Brighten It Up
- Create a flower bed by mixing colorful varieties to brighten up space.
- When planning a small garden, choose light-colored furniture instead of browns and go for plants with bright foliage and flowers.
- If you want the space to appear larger, blue, white, and light-purple are excellent shades to work with.
7. Create Privacy
The privacy of small home dwellers is often invaded by people looking into their garden from the surrounding tall buildings. Include pergolas, especially to cover your sitting area and cover them and your fences with climbers.
Climbing roses, jasmine, and clematis are great options if you want a fast-growing cover and brighten up the place with the beautiful blooms.
8. Add Some Height
If you think you don’t have space for a tree, think again. Your small garden needs some long, thin trees to create the impression of height.
It’s best to go for narrow trees that won’t block the sunlight for the surrounding plants. Ilex Crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ (Japanese holly), Crimson Spire oak, Prunus serrulata ‘Amanogawa’ (Japanese flowering cherry) are excellent columnar trees for small spaces.
Keep your tees well-trimmed so they won’t invade the surrounding space.
9. Focus On The Plants
Choosing plants when planning a small garden does not necessarily mean you have to go for small plants. It may be hard to believe, but larger plants sometimes make space appear more spacious.
Tall, slim plants generally work well for cramped spaces since they won’t come in the way of your sitting area or pathways. Go for evergreens since they’ll keep up the curb appeal all year round.
10. Create Illusion of Space with Garden Lights
Small gardens can easily become gloomy, especially if you have thick foliage shadowing the space. Garden lights look stunning and brighten up the area by eliminating these shadows. They create the illusion of space, which you’re looking for.
11. Plan A Layout
When planning a small garden, it’s easy to go overboard and include a bunch of things that will crowd the space. Instead, plan ahead with a rough layout.
Just take a piece of paper and draw everything you want to include in their correct places. Include, for example, garden beds to border the space, grass to cover the center, a small tree or two in the corners, a compact sitting arrangement if you can squeeze one in somewhere. Also, choose what plants to include and where they’ll go.
Final thoughts on planning a small garden
If you’re thinking a small garden isn’t going to live up to your gardening dreams, that’s not true at all. There are tons of ways to boost up a small green space.
Take some inspiration from the tips on planning a small garden highlighted above and get digging! Once you start working on your space, you’ll be surprised by the potential it holds and what you can make out of it.
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