Plant Composition for Small Space Gardening

container garden composition

Most magazines and articles show vast expanses of beautiful gardens. The essential elements and rules in the article apply to these type of gardens and the gardeners who grow them. Most gardeners don’t have the inclination or the time to take on a gardening project of vast proportions. However, what if you only have a small space for gardening, what kind of challenges would you face?

If you only have a small space for gardening, there isn’t any reason why it can’t be just as lovely as a more extensive garden. Small space gardening does have its limits, but a good point is that you can pay attention to all the details without being overwhelmed. You’ll also have more time to enjoy your garden because many small gardens are designed around sitting and entertainment areas.

small space gardening

Challenges of Small Space Garden Design

One thing about small gardens is they are usually viewed as a whole design. You can still divide it into small garden spaces if you have the room, but most gardens which are small are designed to be taken in at one glance. So, your small garden will be viewed as a composition, and you need to start with a basic plan that will save you time and energy.

A small garden will limit your choices, so you won’t be able to grow every plant that you love. You’ll need to curb impulse plant buying and focus on what will suit your garden best. If you shop with what you plan to have your garden look like, then your choices will work well within your small garden design.

One thing to keep in mind is that color should be limited to 2-3 colors, so your garden has cohesion. After you have everything planted where you want, you can always add a few accent color plants. If you want your garden to appear larger, then use plants from the cooler color palette. Cooler colors will give your small garden a feeling of depth as well. If you use a variety of textures, the contrast of textures will blend into each other and provide a flowing effect.

How to Design

Every plant you place in your small garden should have a purpose. With this type of garden, there isn’t room for plants which underperform or take up space. The plants you choose should have several seasons of interest. The best choice of plants have three or four seasons of interest. Choosing native plants in Florida, like Common yarrow,  will have a few seasons of interest as well as being low maintenance.

When you have a smaller garden, it takes fewer plants to create a dramatic effect. The key is to not have just one plant species and then another one but to find plants that will grow nicely in clumps. Then repeat the clusters all through your garden area.

Small gardens, by their very nature, are best enjoyed by being enclosed. You could create this effect with an evergreen or flowering hedge to give the illusion you have a secret garden. A low boxwood hedge can bring the impact of a formal garden, while hardscaping or using a fence can make a space for entertaining.

Adding In Features

Some other options to use in a small garden is a water feature. A small fountain or some other type of water feature can buffer outside noise. It can also attract wildlife, such as frogs, dragonflies, and even birds dipping down for a drink. If you can’t install a water feature, you can give the appearance of one by installing a dry stream bed from boulders and river rock. This feature is also great for water runoff when it rains.

Using containers will bring not only color to your garden but height. You can use a pot of vibrant color for a showy focal point. Or use one to frame a patio or deck for definition as well as color. Containers can be used to enhance your small garden and bring out even the smallest nook and cranny.

When planting a small garden, it’s essential to identify what your theme is going to be and then enhance it with the plants, containers, and any materials used. You can create a unique backyard paradise even with a small garden.

Feeling inspired but need help reorganizing your garden bed? Visit our lawn care page to find a professional who can help!


Kathleen Johnson