Gardening in Small Spaces

Story by Liesel Schmidt + Photography by Magdalena Papaiouannou



When most people think of gardening, they assume that they need a traditional yard to create anything that qualifies. Fortunately for those of us with green thumbs who may lack yard space, there are simple solutions that will allow us to get our grow on. Think balcony boxes and raised garden beds that fit neatly in the limited space you have on your patio or deck. Think assortments of pots that bring color and texture and visual interest, all of them bearing a different plant or flower. Regardless of the square footage that is available to you, the options of greenery and plant life that you can work with are endless.

Using pots is a great way to incorporate variety that’s low maintenance. Terra cotta pots are especially ideal for their natural warmth and they add a great pop of color to your space. To keep things interesting, choose pots of different sizes and shapes. Mix in a few monochromatic pots of different textures for added appeal.


If your outdoor space has a railing or an outdoor wall, mount flower boxes or hang individual pots to optimize your “garden.” The presence of bright blooms or vibrant greenery will bring instant color to your home. Additionally, all that plant life can make a small space feel larger. If space allows, think about investing in a garden box that will accommodate an edible garden and then research which plants will flourish in the local conditions.

If you want your plants and flowers to be the focal point of your space, stick to neutral pots and accessories. The rainbow of colors you get from your garden will be enough to make a statement without the distraction of a competing palette.

When selecting flowers, plants, and herbs for your miniature garden, consider ways to maximize visual appeal. Think about color, texture, and height. Thrillers, fillers, and spillers are the foundation of good garden design, so be sure to implement that into your space. Thrillers are the big, bold plants that provide an eye-catching vertical element and serve as a focal point. Fillers are more mid-size, rounded plants that frame and accent the thriller and help fill the planter. Spillers are showy plants that spill over the sides of the container.

No outdoor space is complete without a seating area. Stage with appropriately sized, weather-proof wicker furniture that’s comfortable. Be careful not to overcrowd. Accent chairs with distressed wood tables are also a great option.

Living in an apartment or condo may come with a sacrifice of outdoor space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful container garden. Use your imagination and let your green thumb come out to play.

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