Small-Space Gardening

June 5, 2020

The first time I ate a salad with herbs from my own garden, I became hooked. There’s something about topping off any meal with fresh basil that is so fulfilling and lovely.

As a landscape designer, I’ve noticed that clients often think that having a garden means having enough space for a garden. A full-blown, functioning, culinary wonderland with rows of greens, peppers, and tomatoes. While it’s an idyllic image, for most homeowners, it’s not realistic. There’s either limited backyard space, not enough time for upkeep, or they’re not confident in their green thumb. Most people think they need a lot of room for a thriving garden, but the truth is that all you really need is a 2x4 elevated garden bed and a bit of sun (and water)!

I like to think of a garden as an accent piece to a home’s outdoor space. There’s so much potential to add greens to even the smallest of spaces – it’s about looking at a space in a new perspective and working within the boundaries. Luckily, small space gardens have become a trend that is becoming widely embraced by the design community. Options for innovation and growth are endless.

Elevate Your Greens

I love the use of elevated planter boxes to showcase local flowers, seasonal greens, or herbs.  Rather than committing to a specific plot of land, a planter box allows for fluid movement and makes it easy to seasonally shift plants. Bonus: if you’re hosting an event, you can simply move the box to the side.  

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Go Vertical

Small backyard, meet vertical gardening. Shifting to planting upwards, rather than outwards, means that space can be used strategically, while yielding great produce. Whether that looks like a vertical herb garden, a vertical garden tray, or vines, vertical invites the opportunity to play with space and height.

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Grow food, Not Grass

If you’re working in the actual soil, reimagine your outdoor space as an abundant garden, rather than a grass field. The phrase ‘grow food, not grass,’ is a great mindset to adopt. For small backyards, replacing grass (which requires a ton of water and depletes lawns of their nutrients), is a total game-changer.