How to best utilize the space in your garden

Lack of garden space can be one of the most restricting factors for you as a gardening enthusiast. You might assume that your selection of what you can grow is limited or that you don’t have many landscaping options. 

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. With limited space to work with, you might need to be more creative, but you’ll be able to achieve amazing things if you’re willing to work with shapes, colors, and a few other tricks.

Here is what you can do to utilize the space in your garden in the best way. 

Play with perspective 

A few simple perspective tricks can make your garden appear bigger than it is. 

Emphasize width with circles, alternating paving, flowerbeds, or lawns to draw the eye to the edges. Keep in mind that bold, geometric shapes look bigger, so opt for circles or semi-circles, spanning the entire garden.

You can also use diagonal designs to draw the focus to the sides. Use stone and gravel paths to achieve this effect. They are easy to set up and demand almost no maintenance. 

Finally, separating your short garden into compartments can make it feel longer. 

Use garden beds

Grow your plants in garden beds, not rows. This gets rid of the space needed for walking between the rows. If you need more access to your plants, build an inlet or keyhole in the garden bed frame so that you can reach all of them.

Some people even use recycled items from around the house like milk crates and wood planks to give them more room to plant. Or, if you’re short on seating, you can also extend your raised beds a little to give people a place to rest when they’re in your garden.

Grow up

Use vertical space whenever you can. 

You can attach planters to walls or fences or secure mesh or trellising to encourage climbers to reach for the skies. Even walls that are shaded at the base may still have plenty of sunlight for climbing plants, setting up the perfect combination for many perennial plants of cool, moist roots and sunny leaves.

Living wall gardens are a great way to fill a bare space, and they look contemporary and exciting too. An easy option for making one of these is to attach a wooden pallet to a wall and fill it with plant pots until the pallet is hidden behind a vertical carpet of lush foliage.

Consider succession planting 

Succession planting is a way to keep a continually producing garden filled with healthy foods. For instance, as the tomato harvest draws near, plant other veggies, such as kale.

This is crop rotation on a much smaller scale. Because some plants (like tomatoes) will take a much longer time to mature, it is excellent to think about a few different planting cycles in your garden that will enable you to have food throughout the growing season.

Rotating your planting cycles can maximize the amount of food you can grow in a small space and ensure that you can harvest something while other plants are still growing.

Once you know how long it will take for your plants to mature, you can think about how you want to plant them throughout your garden.

Companion planting 

Companion planting is a way to grow plants under other plants or trees to grow additional crops and increase your yield. Plant carrots under tomatoes, radishes or beets under cucumbers, pole beans with potatoes or radishes, grow garlic, onions, and herbs under trees to maximize your harvest and space.

This gardening style came from Native Americans, who had a planting method known as the Three Sisters. It consists of planting corn, squash, and beans together. The three crops benefit from each other, the corn provides a trellis for the beans to climb, the beans provide nitrogen for the corn and squash, and the squash helps prevent weeds from growing by blocking sunlight to the soil and creates a microclimate which aids at retaining water.

Bring your garden inside

If your space is really limited, indoor planting is yet another valid option. 

Many veggies and herbs will grow well if they are near a sunny window or sliding glass door. This will help when it is too cold to grow outdoors also.

If you have a sunny window, turn it into a mini garden. You can grow many herbs indoors successfully, like basil, chives, parsley, cilantro, thyme, and ginger. Try your hand at microgreens or sprouts – both have high nutritional content.

Also, mushrooms grow great indoors, and many grocery stores sell starter kits. Grow a dwarf lemon or mandarin orange tree indoors to add beauty, color, and fruit. Lettuce pots grow well indoors, providing you with fresh salad ingredients all year.

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