Container Gardening ideas for small spaces
As a London based freelance journalist, I often sit in the tiny space that is rumoured to be my garden and wonder how to make it appear more aesthetically appealing or make better use of the space. Often friends will frequent my abode, and when possible cram themselves into the available outside space to catch some rays, as they put it, and remark on how insubstantial the area looks. So after much derision, I decided to look at ways to brighten up the area with plants. Enter container gardening.
Container gardening sounds pretty self-explanatory or so I thought. Simply purchase some containers and place plants in them and away you go. However over the years the sheer number of available containers, differing shapes and sizes as well as varieties of plants means that there is now much more choice. In addition taking new facets of gardening into account such as vertical gardening, which is ideal for small outside spaces like mine, means that the variations on offer can be mind boggling.
So I thought the best way would be to break it down into simple sections and work my way through them, whilst providing you, the reader with a guide to help you along the way.
As you would expect with small area’s come small plants. Although it is still eminently possible to use varieties of plants that are standard size, the key to the overall style in my eyes is to make everything in proportion. So I reviewed various miniature plants that are ideal for small spaces. Below are some of my favourite examples….
Evergreen plant, which ticks the right boxes, so colour all year round, and with dwarf varieties available this is an ideal option.
Now if colour is what your after, as well as stunning flowers, this is one to go for. This lovely flowering plant only grows to about 1 ft tall but produces flowers that are 3.5 inches in diameter and smell wonderful.
Pixie Dwarf Alberta Spruce
A stunning looking evergreen spruce, which essentially looks like a miniature spruce tree. It only grows about 1-2 inches a year and its conical shape is completely natural.
Mighty Mouse Hosta
This stunning variegated cultivar only grows to about 7 inches tall and approx 12 inches wide, making it an ideal choice for the small container garden. Its beautiful blue green leaves are enhanced by tiny lavender coloured blooms in the summer.
Tiny Monster Geranium
This plant is a stunner in many ways. Low spreading and only grows to about 8 inches tall, its bright pink magenta flowers are huddled within a mass of deep green leaves. The perfect option for small gardens.
Some design ideas to stand out in a small space
Hanging gutter garden
Using standard guttering, cut 3 lengths of about 24 inches, and put 2 holes at the edges in all 3 of them and then thread some wire through to create a hanging gutter garden. Place the gutter garden in a location which gets sunlight for some of the day. Ideal locations include hanging from a sturdy pergola.
When it comes to small spaces generally this refers to floor space. Therefore one way to add containers is by using forms of vertical access. Vertical forms of planters are a great idea, with some choosing to use products not specifically designed for that purpose. An example of this is a hanging shoe organiser, which makes idea vertical planters.
In summary, It took some time, but I now have an outside space that I am more than happy with and which provides me with a real feeling of satisfaction. After deliberation and hours of reviewing the journey, I felt that the key to the whole project was to be creative. Not to think two dimensionally but three dimensionally. Work with proportions, nothing looks worse than a small garden which due to several large plants looks overgrown.
Plan, research and think outside of the box and you to can have a small container garden to be proud of.