Small Garden Design Tips

Creating and enjoying a garden even in the smallest of spaces

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Sticky: Small Garden Design – Space is not a Limitation

Posted by admin on Jun 28, 2013 under small garden design

“>Small Garden Design,

Have you always dreamed of having a garden, but thought you didn’t have enough space?   Its time to think again…with a small garden design you can enjoy gardening, even in the smallest of spaces.

Whether you live in an apartment, condo, row house, or just have a small yard, there is always space to create a small garden.  Your only limitation is your creativity!

Have you always wanted to grow flowers, roses, vegetables, or herbs?  All of these are possible with a small garden design. Whether its container gardening on a small deck, patio, or table top, vertical gardening to overcome the limitations of space or carving out an area in a small backyard, you can brighten up your outdoor space with a small garden design.

Not sure where to start?  That’s where Small Garden Design Tips comes in…here we’ll explore tips and ideas for small garden designs.  Please also share your tips and ideas.


Check out our Facebook page for more tips and ideas.  Add your thoughts and comments!



Dress up your dinner plate with flowers from your small garden.

“>Hanging Nasturtium - edible flowers for small gardens

Can the flowers you grow do double duty?  If you plant edible flowers, enjoy them as they grow in your garden and then use them to dress up your dinner plate too!

Are you growing chives in your small herb garden?  Then you already have edible flowers to add to your culinary creations.  Chive blossoms can be used in salads and vinegars.  Pick the flower heads apart and add to a salad for a light onion flavor.

A common edible flower is Nasturtium.  Nasturtiums are easy to grow and incorporate into small garden designs.  They work well in hangers or containers.  The climbing variety lends well to a vertical format and they come in multiple colors – yellows, oranges, and reds.  I’ve added them to a dinner plate for great color and peppery taste.

How to know which flowers are edible?  You should always be careful before eating any flower. Check out this Edible Flowers Chart  for guidance.  You’ll find that rose petals, lilac, and lavender are other flowers that can be incorporated into your recipes.  Even the flowers of weeds have found their way into recipes…dandelion wine anyone?


Peonies…a sign of spring.

Posted by admin on May 13, 2012 under flower garden design, small garden design

After the first bulbs of spring bloom – crocus, hyacinth, tulips, jonquil – the beauty of the peonies, a sure sign of spring Peonies for Spring Small Garden Designsbegin to bloom.   With their sumptuous flowers in colors ranging from white to yellow, light pink, dark pink and red, peonies are a perrenial favorite.

Peonies grow with lush foliage providing large blooms that are often fragrant.  They grow from 2 to 4 feet in height and provide booms that are great cut flowers.  With few pest, they make a great addition to any small garden design for adding blooms from spring to early summer.

Peonies love sunny areas and can survive for years undisturbed.  They usually require little to no maintenance, although they may need dividing if they become overcrowded.  At the end of the blooming season, cut down the foliage.  Because they’re perennials, the peonies will re-sprout and bloom the next season.

Notice ants on your peonies?  Whatever you do, don’t break out the insecticide or despair.  Ants are seem to be attracted to some peonies, especially the unopened blooms.  They won’t do harm.  Once the blooms open, the ants seem to go away.

Looking for more info on peonies?  Check out the Frequently Asked Questions at the  Heartland Peony Society.

New Planting Zones for Small Garden Design

Posted by admin on Jan 28, 2012 under flower garden design, small garden design

Did you know the USDA has updated the Plant Hardiness Zone Map for 2012?  Seems the USDA has remapped the planting zones for the United States.  Learn more by visiting the interactive USDA Plan Hardiness Zone Map.

Spring Bulbs start growing in January
Bulbs sprouting in January in Philly area

What does this mean to small garden design?  It means that planting zones around the country have been adjusted to the gradual warming that seems to be occurring around the country.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed a change where you live, but I have noticed a big change this year.  As you can see by the picture accompanying this article, it is the end of January and here in the Philadelphia area, my hyacinth, crocus, and tulip bulbs are sprouting quickly!  Should the unusually warm weather take a turn, all my spring bulbs will be freeze and there goes my beautiful spring bulb small garden design!

Are you experiencing the same thing where you live?

Ornamental Grasses for a Small Garden Design

Posted by admin on Oct 2, 2011 under small garden design

Looking for plants for your small garden design that span the seasons, adding beauty spring, summer, fall, and winter?  Then look no further than ornamental grasses.

Benefits of 0rnamental grasses for a small garden design…

  • They come in varying textures and colors.
  • They are easy to care for and require little effort.
  • When ornamental grasses go to seed, they add beauty to fall and winter landscapes as well as providing seed for birds.
  • Many ornamental grasses are perennial, providing beauty year after year.

Want to learn more about ornamental grasses for your small garden design?  Check out this article about Carolyn Kolb of Wind Dancer Gardens.  The articles relates how she started Wind Dancer Gardens, where she specializes in ornamental grasses.  The article also provides details on how to plant ornamental grasses, and even contains a short video where Carolyn discusses 4 types of ornamental grasses and how to plant ornamental grasses.

Vertical Gardening Book Review

Read recent review in Los Angeles Times with authors Susan Morrison & Rebecca Sweet of Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces.

Vertical Small Garden Design

The authors discuss vertical gardening craze and their new book.  The article also provides pictures of vertical garden ideas for small garden design!





Vertical Gardening – Small Garden Design Ideas

When space is limited, going vertical can provide you the space you need to create your small garden design.  Many plants, vegetables, and even herbs can be coaxed to grow vertically, making them perfect for a small garden design space.

Vertical Small Garden Design Ideas
Vertical Gardening – Grow, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space, by Derek Fell


Vertical Small Garden Design
Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces, by Susan Morrison


There are various methods for creating a vertical small garden design.  Here are some ideas I’ve come across. Building a Vertical Pallet Garden Vertical Gardens can be Lush Masterpieces Vertical Garden goes Green with Recycled PET Bottles As with container gardening, the options for vertical planters can be endless…shoe bags hung to hold individual plants, old rain gutters, wooden frames, and more.  Check out some of the books devoted to Vertical Gardening. Do you have any vertical gardening idea that you can share?




Small Garden Design using containers from around the house…

Using household items as planting containers is a great “green” way of recycling items.  Use your creativity to turn shoes, boots, bowls, old pails, and other household items into containers for herbs, flowers, vegetables, and other plants in your small garden design.

Check out this short video that shows how you can use household items for small garden design and spruce up your container gardening.

What household items have you used for unique garden containers?  Share your ideas by commenting!

Flowers for Small Garden Design – Annuals or Perennials?

Posted by admin on Jun 28, 2011 under container gardening, flower garden design, small garden design

When it comes to picking flowers for your small garden design, there are two broad categories of flower types – perennials and annuals.

What’s the difference?  Perennials will grow back year after year.  Annuals typically only last for one growing season and must be planted again every year.  I say typically, because some annuals will reseed themselves.

In this short article, I will touch on just a small sampling of the many choices you have for perennials and annuals that work well in gardens that get full sun to partial sun.

Columbines add a dash of color to an early spring garden

If your small garden design is going in the ground, consider a small perennial flower garden designed to provide beautiful blooms year after year.  The flowering plants you have to choose from are endless.

Choices for early spring…there are endless varieties of bulbs for tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, irises, and lily varieties to choose from.   Peonies are also an early spring bloomer.  They make great borders, grow low compact almost like bushes, and are hardy for colder regions.  Another early spring bloomer that comes in a variety of colors from pinks and yellows to blues is columbines.

For late spring and summer, daisies and flowers in the daisy family such as Echinacea or purple coneflowers, yellow and red gaillardias, and black-eyed Susan, which are actually biennials, all provide great color.  Dianthus can be found in a variety of colors from white, pinks, reds, and purples to all combinations of mixtures.  Asters and mums are great for late summer and fall with a great selection of colors to choose from.

White Daisies
Daisies are perennials that return year after year
Daylillies in a rock garden
Daylillies in a rock garden

Many perennials will spread and can fill your garden space over time.  Instead of planting all perennials, another option is to mix perennials and annuals.  This way, you can have some plants returning each year while experimenting with different annuals to add variety to your small garden design each year.  Experimenting is what makes small garden design so much fun!

Are you working with a small garden design on a deck or patio?  Try container gardening for your flower garden design, and consider annuals.  While perennials will grow back every year, they also tend to want to spread, which makes them difficult to maintain in container gardening.  Also, if you live in an area where you get cold weather or freezing weather, the flowers may not survive the winter in a container.

The varieties of flowers to choose from are endless.  Some annuals for full sun areas to consider…pansies in early spring, grazania, geranium, marigolds, petunias, zinnia, cosmos, and portulaca…the choices are endless.

Hanging Nasterium
Nasturtium flowers are not only colorful but edible too!

Summer has just started.  If you still want to plant flowers, it’s not too late.  Consider planting annuals that will bloom into the fall – asters, mums, and marigolds, just to name a few.

What new annuals and perennials have you tried in your garden this year?  Leave a comment and share your experiences.

Railing Planters for a small garden design
Railing pot with portulaca, grazania, and vinca










Unique Plants for Your Small Garden Design

Posted by admin on Jun 5, 2011 under container gardening, small garden design

After a very rainy May in the eastern USA, I have finally gotten my gardens and containers planted.  In addition to planting some usual favorites, I’m trying some new plants…at least new to me.

Solamum pyracanthum
Porcupine Tomato

The most unique plant I’ve added to my collection…a Solanum pyracanthum or “porcupine tomato”.  Orange thorns coming out of the green leaves drew me to this unique plant.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

This plant takes full sun – great for my patio – and flowers with electric blue blooms.  Can you imaging how the electric blue blooms will look with the orange thorns?  I just had to buy one to see what it will look like in bloom.  Once it blooms I will post some images.

Unsure if this plant can take the east coast winter, I’ve planted it in a small container.  This way I can bring it indoors over the winter and will hopefully have it for my garden next year.

If you’ve grown a porcupine tomato, I’d love to hear your experiences with this plant.

What’s the most unique plant you’ve added to your small garden design this year?