If we love to grow things in our backyards but have limited space in which to do so, this does not have to be cause for despair. Perhaps we’ll have to be a little more stringent with our selection of plants and growing techniques than we would if we had acres of land at our disposal (when we have scant room, everything we include has to be there for a reason), but the result can be just as beautiful – and typically a lot easier to manage.
Even strips of side yard, or patches of ground bordering our patios, paths, or sitting areas, can be transformed with careful planning and planting. Because small gardens can usually be witnessed in their entirety at a glance, it’s helpful to think of the whole composition in advance. A plot filled with all of our favorite plants together may not be visually appealing. With a small garden, less is more so far as color is concerned; however, varying the texture within it can create attractive contrast.
Small gardens allow us to become more intimate with everything we plant. Problems with our growing fauna can be spotted and then amended quicker. Also, it’s easier to re-work a tiny plot than a vast tract, so failed experiments – like plants that can’t thrive amidst large roots or beneath tree shade – are not so much of a setback.
Container gardens offer a viable alternative to gardening in a small yard, because they allow us to use hardscape structures like decks and patios for growing things. Another approach that has become popular in recent years is the use of hanging or vertical gardens (also known as living walls). Vertical gardens originally took advantage of structures like trellises and the more sturdy metal or redwood pergolas to provide a strong foundation upon which vines could grow upwards. These work well for lightweight annual vines that we can showcase during the summer months: black-eyed Susan, morning glory, and climbing nasturtium. These vines require little support, and can grow upon strings or wires that are affixed to a fence or wall. More vigorous vines like climbing roses might require the stability of a pergola.
Nowadays, newer inventions make vertical gardens easier than ever before. Various stands exist that allow our plants to capture the same sunlight that they would in a large garden while they’re contained in a much smaller plot. Because fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes can grow this way and ripen at eye level, vertical gardening can alleviate all the stooping and kneeling we’ve had to do – and the backaches and sore knees that result. Best of all, they help us to conserve water and fertilizer because we’re able to grow the same amount of plants whilst utilizing a small space.