Gardening in Small Spaces

Young plants in a peat pot with a vintage watering can on a balcony shelf.
What You'll Need
Wooden pallets
Wine boxes
Drink tubs
Small pots
Mason jars

You can still be a gardener even if you have a tiny yard, or no yard at all. Use plants to make small spaces come alive. Even if you have no outdoor space for gardening, it’s possible to grow beautiful plants. Use all your indoor and outdoor spaces. You may think you don’t have room to spare, but you do.

Utilizing Limited Outdoor Space

When you have a limited amount of space, you might be afraid to do much gardening. You don’t want to clutter up your space or eliminate much-needed room. With a few DIY tricks, make your outdoor garden functional as well as beautiful so it will work in those limited areas.

Garden Narrow - Garden beds don’t have to be spread out across the ground, where you have limited walking space already. Use the perimeter of your space by adding some garden pallets. Set them upright and fill them with soil and seeds to create a low garden wall decorated with flowers and greenery.

Use the Walls - Use your fence, exterior home walls and anything else you’ve got to hang plants. Fill mason jars or small garden pots with soil, add your seeds and hang them around the edges of your garden space.

Make DIY Planters - Instead of planting garden beds in the ground or building planter boxes, try container gardening. Use wine boxes, drink tubs and portable containers to grow your plants. Your containers can be placed on tables, on the edges decks and patios, and in other areas where they won’t impede foot traffic.

Try Hanging Gardens - Line small baskets with plastic and fill them with soil. Add your seeds and grow herbs in these small containers. The baskets can be hung almost anywhere, even hung from the ceiling with screwhooks and some ribbon.

Plant Through the Window - Use both sides of your window to grow plants. Window boxes are a time-honored tradition in small space gardening. Line the inside of your window with small jars and pots, or build a narrow window box. A wooden or plastic utensil holder for the kitchen becomes a handy growing box in the right window.

Use the Balcony - Make your balcony look like a garden with vining plants. Plant them in a narrow box and place it at the edge. The vines will grow up the rails of the balcony to create a pretty green wall.

Feed and Water - When you’re gardening in small spaces with small containers, water often. Containers don’t hold as much water as the ground so you need to give your plants plenty of moisture. Feed your plants fertilizer or compost often to keep them healthy.

Picking Plants

Choose the right plants for your small spaces.

Shady - You can grow plants even in shade as long as you pick shade-loving plants. Many plants thrive only in shaded areas, and that makes them ideal for dark areas and indoor spaces.

In the herb family, basil, chives, coriander and parsley will all grow with little sunlight. Flowers like daylilies, columbine, hosta lilies and meadowsweet also thrive in shade. Cardinal flowers, Jack-in-the-pulpit and trillium add beautiful color to shaded and low-light areas.

Sunny - For areas that are always brightly-lit by the sun, pick plants that thrive in sunny, dry ground. Lavender, coneflower, sunflowers, zinnias and marigolds all grow well in these conditions. Yarrow looks like a fern and keeps its foliage so long it is almost an evergreen. It’s perfect for container gardening because otherwise, yarrow spreads quickly.

Even small spaces can bloom with life and color if you use a few creative DIY solutions. Keep your eyes open for small containers, bare garden walls and all those areas where your spaces could use a little extra oomph, and start gardening.