“Yeah, my garden spread is about 1,800 acres. We’ll take the rig out and drive the perimeter tonight after dinner. It will take about an hour.” Color us impressed, but Gildshire Magazines is guessing that isn’t you doing the talking. Very few of us have a sprawling property that we, unironically, call “my spread,” that we circle in “the rig.” In fact, urban America is experiencing living space as a shrinking commodity. At home, gardening space is at such a premium that we need ideas for making color spots in smaller and smaller spaces. That’s our topic today.
See Ugly in a Whole New Way: Too many gardeners dismiss a part of their property out of hand because of what is next door.
If there is a plain or ugly shed in the way, embrace and incorporate it! The Italians have been doing it for centuries. A coat of paint and/or hanging or climbing greenery over brick will rehab that eyesore in a jiffy.
A Plan for All Seasons: Your tiny garden needs to look its best year-round. That’s easy enough if you plan what grows based on the season of its flowering best. A bevy of tulips provide plenty of spring color, but only for a short time. When they fade, make sure some geranium and verbena are ready to pop. Holly shrubs develop showy red berries that keep the landscape looking good after frost. Intersperse some calendula in a pot for all-winter color.
Speaking of Pots: Many tiny gardens look best when plants and flowers are planted in decorative pots and placed strategically around the area. Continuing the theme, perhaps a large terra-cotta bowl can act as a reflecting pool and birdbath.
Cheat the Eye With a Curved Walkway: A curving walkway gives the impression of being much longer than a straight shot to the exit. A bend in the path also invites us to slow down. Meander, a bit. Make sure there is eye-catching color on both the inside and the outside of the curve.
Get Rid of the Lawn: This is just a matter of being fully committed to your tiny garden. The grass is empty space. Take it out and replace it with gravel or a hard surface on which a table or bench and chairs can reside. Then, load up the rest of the area with plants and flowers in large, decorative containers.
*Added Benefit* A retirement ceremony for your lawn mower.
Say “Hello” to Your Little Friends: In an urban setting, a tiny garden is a much-loved place of refuge and nourishment for birds and butterflies. Black-eyed Susans and phlox are particularly favored.
Complete the setup with a birdbath and bird feeder to become the property Mother Nature favors the most.
Water Isn’t Just For the Birds: Contrary to what you may have heard, you don’t need a huge backyard to have a water garden. In fact, installing one is a great way to handle low or wet spots in your garden. Just dig out the area, add a pond liner and pump, and you’re on your way. Feeling ambitious? Create a waterfall with rocks and an incline.
You will have an eye-catching garden feature and, yes, birds and butterflies will come along too. (But it isn’t always just about them. This is a you thing.)
Make an Outdoor Room: Turn a tiny patio area into a gorgeous outdoor room by adding a freestanding pergola.
It will create a sense of enclosure and make the patio seem a lot larger than it’s square footage would have you believe.
Create a Theme Garden Using “Small” as a Touchstone:
If your growing area is really REALLY small consider creating a magical fairy garden. In fact, you could designate a special area of any sized garden for miniature flowers, tiny plants, dwarf trees, and shrubs. But, you had better have a touch of whimsy if you’re creating a fairy garden. Add small-scale fanciful accessories…
Whatever you do, allow your inner child out to play in the garden as you plan the set-up. It will put you in the mood and your small garden space on the lips of the neighbors. What’s better than that?