Home & Garden

How to Create a Garden Oasis in Any Size Yard, Deck, or Balcony

No matter where you garden there never seems to be enough time and space to accomplish all your gardening goals. Make the most of every minute and square foot of space in your landscape, deck, patio, or balcony.

Start with a vision of what you want to create. Perhaps it’s a secret hideaway in a large lot, a private oasis in a small urban lot, a tropical retreat on your balcony, or a space to entertain. Once you decide, look for the right plants, containers, and accessories suited to the space and design of your small space garden. Do you only have a small balcony available? Read this article and learn how to create a balcony garden in limited space.

Create a lush oasis by including plants at all levels. Groundcovers not only provide greenery and seasonal interest, but they also protect the soil from erosion. A vine growing in a container that is allowed to crawl over the surface can do the trick when there is no soil for planting.

Use perennials and small shrubs as dividers and low-growing screens. Tall ornamental grasses and vines as well as larger shrubs and small-scale trees can help block unwanted views and noise.

Grow these in containers and save time with self-watering pots. Use elevated planters to bring gardens to eye level and strategically place hanging baskets to preserve good views while providing needed screening. Fill them with edible plants like trailing strawberries, vegetables like compact trailing tomatoes or peppers as well as herbs and flowers for fun and expanded benefits.

Select weather-proof containers when using them outdoors year-round. Purchase perennial flowers, trees, and shrubs that are at least one zone hardier to increase winter survival when gardening in colder climates. Filling containers with heat- and drought-tolerant plants also helps boost success with less effort.

Go vertical with vines.  Annual vines like cardinal flowers, canary vines, and hyacinth bean vines quickly cover a trellis and provide a long season of bloom.  Perennial vines like our native honeysuckle, clematis, and climbing roses provide years of beauty but may take a couple of years to reach their mature size and flowering potential.

Train annual and perennial vines together onto trellises for quick cover and extended bloom. Look for those that also provide fragrances like jasmine vine and sweet pea vine for a bit of aromatherapy. Grow peas, pole beans, cucumbers, and others for a bit of homegrown flavor.

Add an arbor for a dramatic entrance to your small space garden or a striking statement in the garden any time of the year. Set the arbor in a garden or place containers at the base for added beauty. Add lights to create a bit of evening ambiance.

Dress up fences and walls with plant-filled containers and include wall-mounted trellises that provide plenty of spaces for vines to climb and create a green wall. These can be mounted on a wall or fence and the vines planted nearby in the ground or a container and then trained onto the trellis.

Extend your enjoyment into the evening with outdoor lighting. New solar-powered lights and even planters eliminate the need for wiring and allow you to place the lights where needed.  

Creating the small space garden of your dreams is easier than you think. Take some time to plan, and select plants, supports, and accessories suited to your growing conditions and design preferences. Then relax and enjoy your new space.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts the “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Her website is MelindaMyers.com.

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