Gardening with Limited Space

Depending on where you live you may find yourself with limited traditional gardening space. Luckily, plants are quite adaptable and will grow in containers, on roof tops, and even up walls quite happily. Whether you have a small side yard or no yard space at all, there are gardening options out there for you.

Side Yard Gardens

Depending on how your house sits on the property, you may be faced with a narrow side yard. While some people see side yards as a challenge, they can be a great design opportunity.

A linear feature like a dry creek bed or a trellised archway at one end will draw the eye through the space and make it feel larger. Add crushed gravel or mulch to create a natural and low-maintenance path. Choose tall but narrow plants that maintain their form like ‘Sky Pencil’ holly or clumping bamboo to create effective screens along the property line.

If your side yard gets good sun, you could even install a raised bed and create a kitchen garden, or create an herb garden using a series of containers.

Balcony Gardens

If you love gardening but live in a condominium or apartment, there are a few ways to use your balcony for gardening.

First, think about how much sun you get. If you have a north-facing balcony, you’ll need to choose shade-tolerant plants. If you’re blessed with plenty of sun, you can grow herbs, flowers, vegetables, and even dwarf fruit trees!

Any type of planter will work, though many balcony gardeners prefer self-watering containers. Don’t be afraid to think beyond your floor space and start using the walls. Add a wall bracket to hold a hanging basket, or choose a vine that can be trained up a trellis. Or try one of the new vertical garden systems that allow you to grow plants on the wall, almost like a painting!

Vertical Gardens

Vertical gardens, also called living walls, have become popular in cities where gardening space is limited. They can cover an entire wall of a building, or can be smaller, artful accents for indoor or outdoor rooms.

Living walls are generally used for ornamental plants, and are a great way to have a lush garden in a limited space. They all use some type of structure to support plants and distribute water and nutrients, and many include a barrier to prevent moisture from harming walls.

Even though these gardens look easy, they do require some maintenance. Several affordable and easy-to-use kits are available to help get you started with this new gardening trend.

Roof Gardens

Roof gardens—growing plants or turf directly on a building’s roof—has been popular in Europe and Japan for decades. Also known as a “green roof,” roof gardens greatly reduce storm water run-off, help to reduce cooling costs in the summer, and filter pollution from rain water.

On hot summer days, the surface temperature of a green roof can be cooler than the air temperature. Cities and government agencies are even providing financial incentives to encourage homeowners to “green-up” their roofs.