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Planning Small Gardens

Updated on February 18, 2013
Impatiens and Zinnias
Impatiens and Zinnias

Details are all important

Within our homes we economize space and insist upon convenience of arrangement. The same rules should apply to our gardens, especially small ones. Each plant must count in the over-all effect, whether it is a shrub doing double duty by flowering in the spring, but has foliage the rest of the year. Or, the spring-flowering shrub can become the background for a dozen or two of bright colorful petunias or impatiens. A clump of iris will make a striking background of green for the annuals, like sweet-alyssum seeds, in the summer after their flowers have faded. Just sprinkle some easy-to-grow sweet-alyssum seeds around and you will have a nice contrast. Include some perennials, such as day-lilies, summer phlox, and fall chrysanthemum, along with other annuals and you will have a almost an maintenance free colorful garden to enjoy.

Tips for small gardens...

  • In a large garden weeds may go unnoticed, but not in a small garden.
  • A garden will seem larger than it is if it seems like an extension on the house. Walking onto a deck or patio from a family room that is tied together with some of the same colors like red, cushions on the deck to match the sofa. Or, the color of the rug matching the stain on the deck making the transition from the house to the garden as seamless as possible.
  • Use color for illusion will make your garden seem larger or smaller. The hot colors: red, oranges, and yellows will jump out and appear closer. Cool colors: blue, green and gray tend to recede from the eye, making objects look smaller and farther away.
  • Using the right scale of flowers and plants can make your garden seem larger or smaller. Small-leaved plants give a light, airy feeling. Use them whenever you want to add a feeling of space.
  • Building tiered beds allow you to increase your growing area and make the garden look larger because of the visual variety they add.
  • Find new spaces in your small garden. Use hanging baskets, window boxes, wide plastic, or galvanized roof gutters to a fence, at convenient heights and grow small vegetable and flowers in them.
  • In a small garden every plant counts and, in general, those that bloom the longest count the most.


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    • Wanderlust profile image


      11 years ago from New York City

      Thank you for very helpful information. My friend has a small garden in a middle of Manhattan, I send this hub to her, I am sure she will appreciate it, particularly the list of flowers for a small garden.

    • Geoff-Ecotist profile image


      11 years ago from London UK

      This is a great Hub - so much useful information and very well presented.


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