Tiny Gardens for Tiny Spaces


Just because you live in a small space doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy gardening. Whether you want to grow cherry tomatoes with your kids or some herbs to add fresh flavor to your cookouts, just follow these easy tiny gardens for tiny spaces tips — almost no room required.

Tips for Container Growing

Small space gardening is all about the containers. Look for containers that are frost-proof so you don’t have to stop gardening when the weather cools off. There are great plastic and composite options with the look of clay or glazed pottery that can be left outside all winter. Choose containers with drainage holes to avoid root rot from soggy soils.

Self-watering containers make container gardening a breeze because you’ll only have to fill up the reservoir once or twice a week instead of watering every single day during the warmer months. If you’re not using a self-watering container, water plants when the top two inches of soil are dry.

Always use soil that’s specifically labeled as potting soil. It is specially formulated to drain well and often has a bit of slow-release fertilizer in it. If the soil doesn’t have fertilizer added, sprinkle a slow release fertilizer on top of the soil or mix it in with the potting mix when you plant.

What to Grow

Herbs, such as basil, mint, sage, parsley, cilantro, and rosemary do excellent in containers.  They’re also a worthwhile use of your space since purchasing fresh herbs can really add up.

Other edible plants that grow well in containers include patio tomatoes, ornamental pepper varieties, strawberries, swiss chard, green beans, cucumbers, and lettuce. You might also consider growing a few edible flowers like nasturtiums or violas which can add a lot of visual interest to a space and then be turned into a salad. Look for new container fruit varieties such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries that will grow in a large container year round.

Almost all flowers will thrive in containers for at least one growing season. Annuals will bloom all summer long, but many new perennial varieties will bloom continuously or re-bloom, an important plant attribute for gardeners enjoying limited space. You want to get the most out of your small garden, and a plant that blooms for a week and stops isn’t going to cut it.

Small Space Projects

Assemble a Herb Wall

Grow up by planting an herb wall! They’re beautiful, functional, and a lot of fun to make. Most herbs need at least 6 hours of sun per day. If you don’t have much sun, there are other, better projects.

There are a variety of vertical gardening kits that you can buy. Some are boards with pot hangers mounted on them into which you can slip clay pots. Others are three-tier troughs. Herbs will grow well in felt or plastic hanging pockets. Just make sure the container, regardless of what it is made of, has drainage holes.

Herbs that will grow well in smaller pots and give you a great harvest include:

  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro

Plant Window Boxes

Window boxes are always a popular option, regardless of where you live. Herbs, salad greens, and flowering plants are all great window box choices. Divide the window box into three equal parts and create a little plant combo that you repeat three times. In the combo, you’ll want a taller plant such as Swiss chard, a small hibiscus, or a fuchsia plant, a medium “filler” plant such as diamond frost euphorbia or calibrachoa (if you’re growing in the sun), and a trailing plant such as creeping jenny. Repeat that combo three times in the window box for a professional look.

Enjoy the Climb

A trough-like planter or narrow rectangular planter with vining plants won’t take up much space, and it can give you a huge bang for the buck. Add a trellis and plant vining cucumbers, grapes, or indeterminate tomatoes for an edible crop (as long as you get plenty of sun). Clematis, climbing roses, and honeysuckle are all great ornamental choices.

Grow a Fruit Forest

Dwarf fruit trees stay small with pruning and can also be espaliered (if you’re feeling adventurous). Grow fruit trees in large self-watering containers and “underplant” with annual flowers or shorter edibles to get more out of your space.

Don’t let apartment or patio home living stop you from enjoying a garden this season. Work with the space you have and plant something! Grow your own food, herbs, and flowers whether you’ve got a few plants on your patio, an herb wall on your balcony, or just a window box.