Beautify Your Patio With These Small Space Garden Ideas

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If your yard is on the small side and you don’t have a lot of square footage, it’s still possible to have a beautiful small space garden. With a little creativity, you can make the most of a small space, even if it consists of a postage stamp yard, a front step, or a tiny apartment balcony.

Small space gardens have certain benefits. Instead of digging, hoeing, and weeding the back forty, you can spend your free time with friends, or relaxing with a good book.

Small space garden ideas are unlimited. Here are nine suggestions to pique your creativity:

Pot Styles

Stock up pots in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures. Fill the containers with interesting plants such as upright green plants like dracaena, colorful vines such as sweet potatoes, or bloomers like geraniums or pansies. In a small space, it’s a good idea to start with a limited palette of two or three complementary colors; too many colors can be overwhelming.

Have Fun

Have fun choosing containers (like toolboxes or old buckets from the thrift shop), but be sure every container has at least one drainage hole in the bottom.  (If you use weather-proof containers, you won’t need to bring them indoors for storage during the winter).


With six to eight hours of sunlight, you can grow most vegetables in containers, which eliminates the need for a lot of digging and bending. Shady spots are better for cool weather plants like lettuce or spinach. Some plants, like tomatoes, need a large pot. Others such as cucumbers or pole beans require a trellis or other support. Dwarf varieties are ideal for container growing.

Vertical Space

Make use of vertical space. For instance, build a simple vertical planter, which requires less space than pots. Another cute idea is to prop a wood pallet against a wall and use zip ties or metal bands to hang small, terracotta or plastic pots on the slats.

Hanging Baskets

If you have a covered deck or an old-fashioned porch, consider plants in hanging baskets. Good choices for hanging baskets include calibrachoa (million bells), lobelia, sweet potato vine, bacopa, ivy geranium or lantana. Fuschia is charming in a shady spot and will attract hordes of beautiful hummingbirds to your small garden.

Window Boxes

Old-fashioned window boxes are an effective use of minimal space, and you can enjoy the beauty from indoors. Succulents are great for a hot, dry area, while begonias and impatiens are perfect for shade. If the window box is near your kitchen, think herbs!

Use Fence

Do you have a fence? Invest in a few colorful, inexpensive buckets, fill them with the plants of your choice, and hang them on the posts. If you prefer, you can always use rusty old buckets from the thrift store. Be sure the plants are suitable for the level of sunlight.

Water Features

Small water features enhance even the smallest garden space. Fountains are relatively easy to build, or you can purchase a small, stand-alone fountain at your local garden shop. Surround the water feature with a few ferns or other lush, green plants.


Repurpose an old canvas or plastic shoe organizer by hanging it on a wall or fence. Fill the shoe compartments with potting mix and small vining plants, herbs, succulents, or small flowering plants like pansies or johnny-jump-ups.

-Mary Helen Dyer

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