Planting Ideas for Difficult Spaces

trough garden by Tchessie

A problem people have who want to garden can be no land or a very small bit of land or something on your property that makes it difficult to plant. You want plants, you want flowers so what are your options? Don’t despair: be creative!

Everyone knows that container gardening is very popular. You can buy or make attractive containers and put them on the steps leading to your building or on your balcony or deck if you have one.

You can make shelves to put flower pots on or get hooks to hang pots – nail them into walls or walls of the building.

Or build a vertical wall (see here) or buy or build window boxes and fill them with plants. See here.

Problems are there to be solved.

A friend of mine who loves to garden bought one of those big old Victorian houses. It didn’t have much land around it. So, like me, she planted on the strip between the sidewalk and the curb. She has a small piece of land in the front of the house that she filled with plants and two narrow side strips that she filled with plants, many of the flowering kind. On one side there was a house close enough to her house where she had to use plants like hostas that do well in deep shade.

But it was her backyard that caused her the major problem. The back yard was where cars had parked in the past, because there is no garage and the house is in the center of town. The previous owners had cemented the area for the cars to park. Cement is nice for cars, but not for a garden. The friend brought in some soil to put on the cement, but to fill the entire yard with soil would have cost too much and the amount she put down was only fine for shallow rooted plants, but not shrubs or trees. This friend wanted trees, for color and for shade. What could she do, short of jack-hammering the cement- which would have been quite expensive?

trough garden by Tchessie

One day the friend went to a garden and farm supply store where she saw some huge galvanized metal troughs or tubs – the kind that farmers might use to feed the cows or horses or other animals. They were relatively cheap for the size. An idea went off in my friend’s head. Here was the solution to her problem in her back yard. She bought three of the troughs, bored some holes in the bottom and filled them with soil. In them she planted small varieties of trees; trees that at their tallest do not have a huge trunk, like some of the Japanese maples. Around the base of the trees, she planted flowering plants and vines, like the sweet potato vine, that hangs over and obscures the ugly metal of the trough. I thought it was her idea, but apparently this is an idea that is catching on. (See here). You don’t have to spend lots of money when you are creative.

Another thing TheGardenLady has seen people with smalls garden do to fool the eye and make it seem like it is a bigger garden is to use mirrors in the garden. I visited a small garden in Monterey, California where they had done this. I have a spot in my yard where the mirror might work for me. We all want larger looking gardens.

There are many books on gardening in tiny spaces. Mike Pilcher wrote one book called “no garden? no problem! Design and planting ideas for the smallest of spaces…..”

Let TheGardenLady’s readers know your creative gardening ideas.

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