Planting in narrow garden beds is as much an art form as a challenge for many garden designers, myself included!
The dilemma begins at the garden center.
Beautiful, petite shrubs in one-gallon pots and streamlined trees in 15 gallon containers can be deceptive.
All plants grow tall and wide, just like babies and puppies, so you better know what you are planting before digging in!
You need “vertical plants!”
If you have a small, narrow yard the trick is to find plants that grow taller than wide.
Think about it.
You can fit more NBA basket ball players and super models in a small yard than sumo wrestlers, right?
Columnar Cereus is a great example of a tall plant that fits into a narrow garden bed.
You won’t be entering through these windows!
Tips and creative ideas for selecting plants and trees for your small space
- Select tress that have a narrow ,slender, or columnar shape. Palm, Cypress, Gingkos and Crape Myrtle trees fit into this category. Research trees that are ideal for your climate.
Metal art decor dresses up a plain looking Palm tree trunk.
- Transform a tall, woody shrub into a small tree by removing some of the low, lateral branches.
- Train a woody vine such as this Wisteria into a small, blooming tree!
This reinforced metal cage is used to support and train the “Wisteria tree”
Need a privacy hedge?
Golden Goddess clumping bamboo fits beautifully into this very narrow planting space.
Cyperus papayrus is a lush, tall leggy plant that looks dramatic against a wall or in tight garden spaces like this one.
Narrow pathways and tiny garden beds like this one are perfect for aromatic lavender.
Brush up against it and be rewarded with perfume!
Lavender is pliable and if it gets too wide, trim the outer stems back.
Strappy plants and ornamental grasses are also ideal plants for narrow areas.
Remove foliage around the perimeter to control it’s “girth size”
Plant your favorite vine over an arch to direct the eye upwards in a small garden.
A vertical wall garden can make a huge impact on a yard that is mostly concrete or patio!
Plant cascading evergreen and flowering plants.
Maximize the impact of seasonal or annual flowers by planting them in stacked containers that are placed within the small garden bed.
This is a great example of a three tiered container garden vignette.
Here’s an example of one of my small garden designs with plenty of tall, vertical elements and plants.
A water fountain is flanked by climbing roses in the background, tall, airy, Kangaroo Paw hedges, strappy daylilies and white tree roses
Keep in mind that if you don’t have room for rose bushes, tree roses are a wonderful compromise.
So, don’t tell me your yard is too small to be interesting!
It’s up to you, go out and garden and don’t be afraid to be creative!
More resources for small gardens:
Garden designers, Rebecca Sweet and Susan Morrison tackle the issue of small garden design in their new book about vertical gardening:
Please visit the following blogs from members of the Garden Designers Roundtable which I am proud to be a member of.
We’re all writing about vertical and small garden design this month!
Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX Â»
Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In the Garden : Los Altos, CA Â»
Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT Â»
Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA Â»
Tara Dillard : Vanishing Threshold : Atlanta, GA Â»