Gardening in Small Spaces

The March 2019 program focused on how to maximize the use of space in a small garden, and how to make it visually feel larger by creating “illusions” which trick the eye into feeling a sense of greater space.

The most obvious ways to maximize space is with container plantings and vertical gardening. Combine container plants in odd numbers using the “Thriller, Spiller and Filler” concept when selecting plants for a greater impact. Utilize fences, walls, arbors and trellises; tier planters; and consider green living walls, espaliers, window boxes and hanging baskets.

Plant selection is crucial in a small garden and achieves the most bang for the buck! Think quality over quantity. A good general rule is to use 1 – 3 large specimen plants, a lot of medium-sized plants and a handful of dwarfs. Repeat bloomers, plants with varying bloom times and multi-seasonal interest are work horses. Fine and medium textures move the eye, while coarse textures tend to stop the eye.

Pay close attention to selecting and arranging appropriate softscape and hardscape components in terms of the principles of landscape design: Scale and Proportion, Rhythm, Repetition and Balance, Harmony, Form, and Texture.

Depth is achieved with smaller plants which flow into taller plants and using fine textured plants. Advancing warm colors can be placed toward the center to stop the eye, while cool colors around the perimeter recede and increase a sense of distance.

More Illusions:

· Play “Hide and Seek”. Divide the garden into rooms.

· Use the principle of altered perspective

· Layout diagonal and curving paths

· Add a mirrored water garden which reflects the sky

· Hang mirrors on walls or fences

· Use furniture with open-patterns

· Frame a view with an arbor

· Paint a Trompe l’oeil on a wall.

Have fun with your small space!