10 ways to garden in small spaces

It's only natural to harbour huge aspirations for your garden. But what if your space is tiny rather than sprawling? How do you achieve a high-impact garden in tight confines? Don't worry. With the right plants and structures, even small spaces can have great gardens.

1. Go vertical

Plant flowering vines along fences, arbours and trellises for maximum visual impact without eating up lots of precious garden space. Brighten privacy fences with trellises and flat-backed planters.

2. Mix flowers

Mix bulbs with perennials. This provides spring colour as the bulbs emerge, and summer colour when the perennials bloom. And as a bonus, perennials also mask the bulb foliage as it dies. (Don't cut these leaves; they're the energy source for the bulbs to flower next year.)

3. Make every bit of space count

If you're working with a small space, layering helps make the most of it. Work from ground level upward, filling each layer with plants. Start with ground covers, annuals and perennials, then work up to shrubs and trees.

4. Make room to relax

No matter how small your garden is, create an area for a bench or a chair or two. After all, gardening isn't just about planning, planting and maintaining. It's also about enjoying!

5. Don't forget the trees

Even the smallest yard needs trees or evergreens for a sense of structure. Many varieties of dwarf trees are ideal for small landscapes. Check out your local nursery and garden centre — and make sure a plant marked "dwarf" is truly small enough for your landscape.

6. Plan for season-long colour

Select plants with staggered bloom times. This guarantees you'll have something flowering throughout the year.

7. Pot 'em up

Containers offer a quick and easy way to add flowers anywhere, especially soil-free areas like patios, porches and decks. To minimize watering, choose drought-resistant plants and use larger pots, which won't dry out as quickly. Use potting soil with moisture-retaining crystals, or add your own.

8. Find space for veggies

Tuck tomatoes and peppers among sun-loving flowers, and train sprawling veggies, like cucumbers and pole beans, to climb a trellis. Use lettuce as a border plant, or combine several varieties to make a low-growing bed.

Think small — compact squares work just as well as long rows. Most veggies also grow well in containers. And when they're portable, it's easier to find the perfect spot for them — like a sunny spot for tomatoes, or partial shade for lettuce. Start plants in pots indoors to get a jump on the season. You'll save even more time this way because there's no transplanting!

9. Get a good trellis

When buying a trellis, save money in the long run by spending more now on one that's built to last - and be sure it's large enough to handle the demands of mature plants.

10. Try a tabletop garden

This is ideal for gardeners with limited space — or aching knees! Select a sturdy table that can hold about 23 kilograms (50 pounds), and fill it with pots of flowers, vegetables and herbs. Upkeep is minimal — you won't need to hoe, weed or rake. This garden is easy on your back and knees, too, since you don't have to squat or kneel to tend it.

Nick Begonja

Nick Begonja

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Request Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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