Simple Small Space Gardening for Glorious Plants and Veg

Whether your outside space is a little garden, balcony, patio or just about enough room for a window box, you can still create a satisfying garden. Our Gumtree guide gives you tips to make a stunning display of plants, flowers and herbs. These small space garden ideas will give you options for making your little garden glorious.

How can I make a small garden at home

How can I make a small garden at home?

We all know how much of a boon a garden space is, no matter how small. You can transform yours into a haven of peace with a few inspired ideas. Thinking about how you will use your garden can help to get you started. This will enable you to see it not just as a living gallery to display your prized plants, but as a space you will live in – at least when you have time and the weather is good.

  • It may seem like a shame to cover some of your potential growing space with a patio or paving slabs, but it really opens it up to a surprising extent. A patio doesn’t just give you somewhere for a little bistro chair and table. It also offers a place for creative arrangements of pots full of flowers and herbs.
  • Do you need somewhere to sit in the sun? How about making your focal point a pretty garden bench? It really doesn’t matter if it takes up half the space and allows less planting. If it gives you what you need to enjoy your small outdoor space, it’s worth it.
  • Perhaps your only downtime is in the evening when it’s dark. Some garden lighting will make the space feel welcoming in this case.
  • If there’s no room for a garden shed, you can solve the problem of where to keep your garden tools and toys with a garden storage box. Add a couple of outdoor cushions or a throw and it can serve as a bench, doubling the value for the space it occupies.
How do you create a beautiful garden in a small space

How do you create a beautiful garden in a small space?

Our top tip on how to make a garden in a small space is to think in three dimensions. The length and breadth of your garden may be constrained, but when you add height, you’ve got a whole new expanse to fill with flowers and greenery.

  • The simple rule of putting the tallest plants at the back and the smallest at the front still applies, even if you only have a tiny patch where you can plant straight into the ground. This way you’ll be able to see all the plants. And, just as importantly, they’ll all have access to the light.
  • Vertical thinking is easy if there’s a wall or fence around the garden. You can make maximum use of that precious area by adding a simple garden trellis, and away you go. Many climbers such as clematis like to have their roots in the shade and to spread their shoots up into the sunshine. This means that they’ll be happy to have other varieties of flowers or veg planted right in front of them, shading the ground. There are lots more tips and tricks in our Gumtree article on making a living garden wall.
  • Even where there’s no opportunity for planting into the ground – and when most of your patio is occupied by a small garden table and chairs – pots of varying heights can fill the remaining space with colour and life. Do you love terracotta plant pots? You’ll find loads of inspiration in our guide to making the perfect terracotta garden.
  • It’s worth considering a simple colour scheme in a small space – blues and violets interspersed with pops of white, for example – because using too many random colours can make the space look cramped.
How to start a container garden

How to start a container garden

The great thing about creating a container garden is that you can scale it up or down in line with the amount of space you use. It gives you flexibility and versatility and a much quicker result than traditional gardening. You can rearrange your containers to bring the best specimens to the foreground. Replanting is easy, too, in any pots whose plants have died back.

  • The containers themselves are an important part of the overall effect. Decorative plant pots can be an attraction in their own right. And with careful selection of shade, shape and texture, you can add variety to your colour scheme and overall arrangement.
  • Collections of plants can be combined in a container to make a real focal point, even on a tiny terrace. To choose which plants to group, the mantra of, “a thriller, a spiller and a filler” is a good guide. For example, the focal point – the thriller – could be a tiger lily, a coleus for its spectacular variegated foliage or a bright geranium. The spiller is a trailing plant like ornamental sweet potato with its pretty purple flowers, trailing campanula or petunia. For the filler, plants with a long flowering season such as salvia or verbena are a good standby.
  • A variety of pot sizes adds interest to your container garden. Even though it’s easier to grow most flowers and veg in large pots, a range of smaller pots can fill in spaces and add a flash of colour where it’s needed. They’re easier to move around and rearrange too, so you can leave the big, heavy pots undisturbed.
How to plant a vegetable garden in a small space

How to plant a vegetable garden in a small space

For gardeners who want an edible reward for their time and effort, a small space is no obstacle. (Naturally, it pays to avoid veg that takes up lots of acreage, like main crop potatoes.) Three-dimensional thinking also benefits small-plot veg gardening.

  • You can switch flowering clematis for runner beans on the trellis around your garden wall or fence. They have such pretty red flowers that you still get plenty of colour. Tomatoes and cucumber also take happily to being trained up a trellis.
  • A no-dig raised bed can save you lots of space because you can make sure the soil is really rich and well-drained. This way, veg can be planted closer together than in a normal garden. There’s no need for access paths between rows, so that’s more space saved. Spring onions, watercress and perpetual lettuce all do well in a small raised bed.
  • For a small space herb garden, you can layer patio plant pots at different levels. This allows them to grab all the sunshine on offer. It also lets you get to them easily for watering and harvesting. Mediterranean herbs like oregano, rosemary and thyme do well in pots. You can easily produce a good pot-grown crop of parsley – and for mint, a pot is pretty much essential or it’ll take over your space in no time.
  • If you’re wondering how to start a herb garden on your balcony, pots can be a simple answer here too. An even better option, though, is the type of stacked planter that has four or five different levels. This will give you a huge expansion on the planting space. You can also attract wildlife. You’ll find more inspiration in our Gumtree article about making a garden paradise on your balcony.

How do you install window flower boxes?

Whether you have a small garden or balcony, or none, you can still enjoy growing flowers and veg through window box gardening. We’ve got a few frequently asked questions you might like to bear in mind.

What plants are best for window boxes?

If the plant’s smallish and you can grow it in a garden, it’s almost certainly fine for a window box. Some of us enjoy a display of bold, bright flowers like petunia, lobelia or night-scented stock. Others prefer gracefully trailing or cascading flowers like nemesia, impatiens or sweet alyssum. You can even have a thriving veg garden with options such as strawberries, chilies, tomatoes or almost any type of herb.

How deep should a flower window box be?

For flowers, a good minimum depth is 20 cm (about 8 inches), and 30 cm (about 12 inches) is good for larger plants like geraniums. Those roots need space to grow, and you need room for a bit of drainage gravel at the bottom.

Where to place window boxes

If you’re lucky enough to have a good, level window ledge, great. If not, you can still hang a window box with the help of some brackets or supporting props. But you don’t need a window to place a window box. That bit of empty space beside your front door, or any corner of your patio or balcony, will be brighter with the help of a planted window box.

small space gardening ideas

If all this has inspired you to try your hand at gardening but you have no outside space, why not read about our terrarium options on Gumtree? You can still get a lot of fun and reward from tending an indoor garden.