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Small spaces can be a challenge for gardeners, but with ingenuity, creativity, mindful planning, and considered planting choices, anyone can create a beautiful and productive garden, no matter how small your space is. Here are some clever tips to help you maximise the potential of your small garden.
Avoid lawns, as they tend not to be multifunctional, limiting versatility and encroaching on valuable planting space. They are also high maintenance, and mowers take up valuable storage space. Instead, opt for paving or hardscaping which is low maintenance and is the perfect foundation for pots, containers, or raised beds for plants.
Containers of any kind are ideal for small spaces, as they constrain the spread of plants somewhat, preventing them from becoming too overgrown and unruly with minimal maintenance. Pots are versatile, they can be easily and quickly moved if space is needed to accommodate different activities or garden functions. Raised beds are another clever solution to limited space since they can be constructed in virtually any size or shape imaginable, and be tailored to fit neatly in awkward spaces. They can even double as seating areas if they are constructed with wide sidewalls and edges.
If you have limited square footage on the ground, consider growing upwards! Fences, walls, trellises, and hanging baskets are all perfectly useable growing spaces that add height to your foliage, creating the illusion of abundance. Climbing plants such as Jasmine, Wisteria, Passionflower, or Clematis will brighten up any dull or imposing walls, as well as offering some privacy if your space is overlooked. Succulents will thrive in wall crevices and cracks. Hardy, shade-tolerant creepers such as Ivy will envelope dreary walls and fences in dense, vivid green foliage.
Breaking up the area with low walls or box hedges will give the illusion of space whilst creating distinct areas (or zones), for different functions, for example, cooking, eating, and relaxing. Adding height with pergolas, small trees, and archways will draw the eye upwards and add to the feeling of space.
Window boxes are a fantastic way to increase your growing potential. Herbs such as Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Coriander are shallow-rooted, needing just six to eight inches of soil, so are perfect for small window boxes. Placed on a kitchen windowsill, you have a mini herb garden for easy access whilst cooking.
Choose plants with compact growth habits and minimal spread. Tall flowers such as Lupin, Salvia, Lavender, and Honeysuckle add drama and vivid splashes of colour to the garden whilst taking up minimal space. Mixing plants of varying heights, structures, and textures creates the illusion of depth. Ornamental grasses will add fluidity, height, and texture to an otherwise austere small space. If your garden is shaded by surrounding buildings or walls, opt for shade lovers such as Hydrangea, whose bold blooms will make a huge impact in a small space.
When growing fruit and veg, opt for crops that grow up rather than out. Beans, tomatoes, strawberries, and chilis are all happy pot dwellers whose yields will provide bright pops of colour and plenty of tasty snacks throughout the summer.
And the best part of all, small spaces generally require much less laborious maintenance, leaving more time for you to relax and enjoy your beautiful garden!
Catherine. (2021). 10 EASY SMALL SPACE GARDENING IDEAS. Available at: https://growingfamily.co.uk/garden-tips/10-easy-small-space-gardening-ideas/
Cottrell, A. (2022). 20 small garden ideas – clever designs for tiny but mighty plots. Available at: https://www.realhomes.com/design/small-garden-ideas
Funnell, R. (2016). PLANTS FOR SMALL GARDENS: 10 GREAT CHOICES. Available at: https://www.theenglishgarden.co.uk/expert-advice/gardeners-tips/the-top-10-plants-for-small-gardens/
Gardeners World. (2019). 12 tips for small gardens. Available at: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/12-tips-for-small-gardens/
Gardeners World. (no date). 12 plants for an urban garden. Available at: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/plants-for-urban-gardens/
Kelly, T. (2022). 45 small garden ideas to make the most of your outdoor space. Available at: https://www.idealhome.co.uk/garden/garden-ideas/small-garden-ideas-2-174377
Powell, A.M. (2020). 15 great plants for small gardens. Available at: https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/garden/plants/g30977879/plants-small-gardens/
Rogers, R. (no date). Making the most of small gardens. Available at: https://www.thrive.org.uk/how-we-help/gardening-advice/gardening-tips/making-the-most-of-small-gardens
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