How to Turn a Small Space into a Great Garden

small spaces

This year, as in many years past, one of my gardens, is a small, 5 foot long by 18 inches wide, space on the second balcony. This site gets eight to ten hours of sunlight and i have had good results growing tomatoes there.

Small spaces may present some gardening challenges but with a bit of planning and careful thought you can create a great garden in the tiniest of places. Be it backyard, balcony, or rooftop, the space can be transformed into a green oasis.

To get started ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How do you currently use the space? Is it a quiet getaway; a place for you children to play, or pets to roam, for entertaining?
  2. What do you want to grow, herbs, flowers, annuals, perennials, shrubs, fruit tees, vegetables?
  3. Thinking about a water feature?
  4. Do you use it as an outdoor office?

Once you have answered these questions, here are a few more to ponder.

  1. How much money are you willing to spend, on hardscaping, plants, watering system and décor, lights, garden art?
  2. How much time do you have to look after your garden?
  3. What specific challenges do you need to address, sunlight blocked by nearby buildings for example, ugly view?
  4. Measure the space and draw a plan. You do not need to be an artist but setting in down on paper will help you focus.


You are now ready to create you garden plan, an of course, there are more questions.


  1. Are you growing in containers? If so, you need to select containers that are the appropriate size for the plants you choose and fit in with your overall décor.
  2. Is there a view you which to hid? If yes, then you may want to include a trellis and a climbing plant such as English ivy or you could consider ornamental grasses; it depends upon the situation.
  3. Do you want to add lighting, furniture, garden art? If you do they must flow with the design.
  4. Think up, small spaces are ideal for growing vertically; you can use trellises and other supports or stackable plant holders for herbs, for example.
  5. Fill in all the items that will be in your garden on the plan, again, accurate representation is not the goal, only you need to be able to understand it. Label items, such as chair, light rose, peas.


We grow beans and peas vertically so why not expand that list. When you make the choice to grow vertical your small space expands, growing up means growing more.


Look to miniature varieties when selecting plants, the popularity of container and balcony gardening has lead to the development of a number of plants that work very will in a small space.


Above all, have fun; this is your space, design it your way.

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Comments 4 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

If one has enough sunlight, one can grow plants almost anywhere. Not enough sun is probably the most limiting factor. Almost everything else can be adjusted.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

That is true, and some plants need little sun so there are many possibilities.


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

I have seen some of the most beautiful gardens confined to a patio or balcony. If you use your imagination you can do about anything.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I agree, imagination can be very pwerful.

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