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Gardening in small spaces

Even the smallest space can be a wildlife haven!

Blackbird
Photo by Mike

Indeed, small gardens have their advantages. It is easier to design and maintain a small space and fewer plants are needed to create a colourful and pleasing effect. So, read on for some ideas on how to express yourself in your mini garden!

Sketch a bird’s eye view plan of your space before deciding how to fill it. This will allow you to plan exactly what you can fit in to it so that you don’t run out of space before you’ve added everything you want.

Attracting wildlife

Hanging a bird feeder or two will help to attract any small birds which may be nearby but make sure to clean out regularly (see bird feeders article). If you own cats, hang your bird feeders high and out of their reach. A mini pond or birdbath (see ponds article) will provide water for your visitors and attract more insects such as dragonflies. Bees will buzz across your garden for Rosemary or Lavender plants while butterflies will float about for nectar rich flowering plants like Mexican Orange Blossom or Marguerite. If you have the room, a small log pile will create a great little habitat for invertebrates and small leaf litter piles can bring small animals like toads or hedgehogs into your space.

Make tough choices

You won’t be able to fit everything in to your mini garden so choose your plants carefully and don’t overcrowd it. Don’t waste any space and make sure that every feature has a purpose.

Use your boundaries

Cover walls or fences in climbers such as clematis or use hanging baskets or window boxes for maximum use of space. Put small leaf plants behind larger ones to create depth. Mimicking the skyline beyond your boundaries is a cheeky way of giving the illusion of a larger space. Plants with the same colours as trees or bushes beyond your fence are perfect for this.

Simplicity is the key

Too much colour can overwhelm so mix up your textures instead for an interesting effect.

Smaller spaces can become overcrowded very quickly so keep on top of any trimming that needs to be done. Try to avoid any species which might grow too large or too quickly or your mini garden may turn into a mini jungle!

Deadheading

As blooms pass their prime becoming faded or shrivelled, make sure to snip them off or the plant will waste useful energy on them. Deadheading also keeps plant pots looking neat and healthy and can sometimes lead to second blooms.

Shady or Sunny

If your space gets little sunlight, there is no point planting sun hungry plants as they won’t develop properly. For shady spots, use annuals such as Impatiens or Monkey flower, or perennials such as Fuschia.

Containers are great for filling boring balcony or concrete covered spaces. If adding more than one plant type, make sure that their lighting, soil and water requirements are the same so that all can thrive. Create a colourful and textured container with two or three contrasting colours and a mixture of leaf types. Soften edges with plants that will spill over them for a more natural look. Make sure that your container has a drain hole in the bottom.

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