Many people face the challenge of a small outdoor space, making it difficult to design an outdoor space. Even if your outdoor space is no larger than a strip running along the side of your home, it is still possible to create an outdoor room that can be both enjoyable and relaxing.
Turning the narrow alley between your home and the property line into a serene setting can be easily done with a little hard work and accessorizing. The idea is to add plants that will not overtake the area and can be easily maintained. For example if there is a fence, plant trees along the inside of the fence to block out the view of the neighboring property. The Japanese maple is a good choice for this job. In between the maples add crepe myrtle or ferns, just be sure to keep these well pruned. Creating a mosaic pathway down the center of the alley is a good idea, allowing for narrow planting on either side. Adding a bench along the path and a nice sittingarea at the end of the property creates a landscape that is both useful and attractive, making the most use out of a tight spot.
If the attractive setting is not what your goal is, but a vegetable garden, we have a solution for this problem as well. Even in an apartment setting, or small yard a vegetable garden is not out of the question. Vegetables should be planted close together, as this will maximize the space. In typical gardens plants are spaced further apart so you can work between the rows to better care and maintain the plants. This is not the case for small gardens, as all the plants can be easily maintained from the outside edges. Be sure to pay careful attention to creating perfect soil, as this will make your plants and stronger in a small space.
You can also consider container gardening. This allows form you to garden indoors as well. Containers can be moved easily to suit your area. Make sure the pots are the right size for plants when they reach their full size. It is always best to use a potting soil over regular dirt. Dirt can carry disease which can harm your plants. You can plant tomatoes, onions, squash, carrots, lettuce, herbs, peppers, and basically any type of plant in this method. If you have a very tiny area like a patio or balcony, consider patio tomatoes placed in planters or even small herb pots that can actually also be brought indoors like basil or oregano that will make meals extra fresh and delicious.
Container gardening can move in a vertical direction to save space as well. For example containers can be placed in shelves, or on fences instead of placing them all on the ground. Cucumbers and squash can be trained to grow up a trellis, while cherry tomatoes can be hung and grown upside down. These are simple ways to grow vegetables without taking up too much space.
You can incorporate a small garden into your landscape in other ways as well, like adding a tomatoes plant between two bushes, or growing vine vegetables up a the side of a wall by using a trellis. Leave vegetables like cabbage and lettuce can be used as decorative floral arrangements as well, perfect as border plants. Many herbs and spices also have pretty flowers that can add an attractive touch to your setting, allowing them to serve duel purposes.
By: Susan Soler of the Garden-Fountains.com Team