- Regardless of the shape of your planned garden, you need to ponder an overall design for the space. Small spaces require placement of larger plants at the center or back of the garden. This creates a gradation effect from front to back or center to edge that allows for planting multiple flowers in limited space. You can also supplement the use of tall framing plants by placing flowerpots within the garden. This creates depth and interest even in the smallest gardens. Include a large urn or freestanding iron plant hook with a hanging basket to create an innovative look in your small garden.
Resist the urge to be methodical when planting in small spaces unless you simply must have an organized, symmetrical garden. Mixing a variety of heights and colors to create depth and interest in the garden. Choose a varied shape instead of an ordinary square or rectangle to give the appearance of a larger shaped garden. Kidney bean or oval shaped gardens appear much larger with a dramatic center planting such as a rose bush or shrub.
Ground Covers and Accents
- No one ever said mulch was an absolute necessity. There's no better place to test the waters with different style ground cover than a small flower garden. Replace traditional mulch with an inch deep layer of gravel. Use smaller pea gravel on the interior portion of the garden and larger river rocks around the edges. It's even possible to create waves or freeform shapes in the garden by alternating the use of different size gravel, rocks or mulch.
Add a few larger rocks next to plants to break up the consistency of the plants. Create a pile of rocks and center a ground covering plant such as phlox that will grow in a draping fashion over the rocks. Place a whimsical frog or duck statue in the garden for a decorative effect or add a small birdbath to attract wildlife.
- Nothing delineates a small garden better than a dramatic edging. You don't need to create an elaborate brick wall. Consider other options such as two layers of landscaping stones, different sized rocks, wooden borders or pre-made plastic or metal fencing to edge your small garden. Another option is to simply edge a garden that meets the grass by slanting a spade shovel at a 45-degree angle to the garden. This creates a trench to mark the garden edge and make mowing easier. A shallow trench also will help keep mulch in place around your plants.
Building your Garden
- Limited space requires preparing the soil to adequately nurture your plants and shrubs. Smaller gardens against the side of a house or surrounded by decking or sidewalks won't be able to leach moisture and nutrients from the soil as easily. Remove any weeds and create a mixture of humus, peat moss and high quality top soil and work this into the top 10 inches of the garden bed. Choose plants that work well in the available sunlight and moisture of the garden. Local nurseries can give you advice on which plants to choose. Make sure to water your small garden frequently so the soil is damp but not soggy. Apply fertilizer based on your plants' needs to help keep your garden looking healthy and beautiful for many years to come.