In can be tough for gardeners when space is tight, especially if you are afflicted with an ever-wondering eye that wants to buy one of everything at the nursery but have no where to put it all. Fear not friends, europeans have mastered the art of living and gardening in small spaces and have pulled it off swimmingly. In these situations, a few well thought out ideas can really brighten a small space and turn it into a retreat.
Priorities are key when building out the small garden plan. Take a hard look at what you want and/or need to accomplish with the space. Before we moved to our current home, we lived in an “in town” location which had a city-sized lot, meaning our garage was behind our house and our backyard consisted of a patio, a mere small patch of grass, and mostly paved driveway. But, I have been very fortunate to travel a lot and one thing I’ve noticed is that lot size does not determine the beauty of a garden. Case in point, consider all the beautiful cottage and roof top gardens featured in magazines and on television.
When space has got you feeling like you’re wings have been clipped, take the challenge and let your inner creative loose. Just like your living room, a garden is a defined space that has a length, width, and height that you can leverage.
Considerations for Designing Gardens for Small Spaces
- Use the available vertical space (people often grow apple trees on flat vertical planes – a fruiting art form called espalier; vegetables can also be grown on trellises and grapes on a pergola);
- Consider using pots – flowers, trees, and vegetables can all be grown in pots (be sure to use appropriate sized containers; also consider allocating additional budget for pottery that defines the space);
- Reduce plant spacing (high-density farming is an increasing trend in commercial growing applications (which means that plants are grown closer together with promising results));
- A water feature, whether a fountain or bird feeder, can add a touch of elegance and the sound of water flowing is magical;
- Lights can also help define the space (consider string lights, lanterns, led lights, electric lamps, a fire pit, fireplace, etc.);
- Consider the variety of statuary available, whether formal or whimsical, but have fun with it (We have the Easter Island Statue in our backyard which stands guard over our swimming pool at night. Last year I planted a bunch of border-sized dahlias around it that bloomed all summer); and
- Consider a small cafe style table instead of a full sized one (in Paris many restuarants have bistro tables that are pushed together for bigger groups).
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