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3 Easy Ways to Create a Small-Space Garden

A woman gardening with a small shovel and a plant.

Having a home garden can boost your mood, diet, and physical health. As a hobby, it can give you a sense of purpose by caring for something. But what if your landscape seems too small for a garden? Don’t throw in the trowel! Whether it’s a balcony or a tiny backyard, it’s easy to maximize your area and create a small-space oasis. Roll up your sleeves and dig in!


Oh, Grow Up! (Vertical Gardening)

A vertical garden

If you live in an urban area or want to garden on a balcony or porch, vertical gardening is a great way to add some greenery to an area with limited space. You can create a vertical garden using a variety of methods, from simple tiers of drainable containers to hydroponic tower systems. You can also hang planters from hooks or wall mounts, or install a trellis for climbing plants (strawberries, tomatoes, ivy). Then, add water to the top of your setup and allow it to trickle through your plants. By putting a reservoir at the bottom, you can collect and recycle the water to reduce your footprint.


If your area gets plenty of direct sunlight, cacti, flowers, and most vegetables can flourish when watered well. And for a heavily shaded garden or covered balcony, stick with low-light plants like coleus, ferns, and begonias.


Contain Your Excitement! (Container Gardening)

Simple, flexible, and versatile, container gardening is the perfect way to dip your toe in the gardening pool. You can start with a nice flower in a windowsill and work your way towards small pots or large planters outdoors. Marigolds are a fail-safe annual, and leaf lettuce is easy to grow from seed — a great choice for containers.


Consider these three factors with your container garden:


  1. Container material — These must be able to drain. Each type (terracotta, plastic, wood) affects soil moisture and temperature, so check with your garden center to choose the best options.

  2. Soil type — Unlike garden soil, potting mix provides adequate aeration, which helps balance the drainage and nutrients. Adding fertilizer can enhance plant health.

  3. Seasonal care — The types of plants suited for containers may need to be pruned or moved inside during colder weather.


Container gardens give you the flexibility of being able to easily move and nurture your garden, giving novice gardeners the ultimate learning curve.


No Big Dill! (Herb Gardening)

An herb garden, with two visible plants labeled "Basil" and "Marjoram"

Looking for a low-maintenance garden? Herbs can be some of the easiest plants to grow, and they have a long lifespan that can last well past their harvest. Plus, herbs can be used for medicinal, culinary, and aromatic uses in your everyday life. Basil, lemongrass, lavender, and sage are common herbs whose uses range from the kitchen to potpourri. In general, herbs favor these four common growing conditions:


  1. Soil that’s not overly rich

  2. Lots of sunshine

  3. Regular water with good drainage

  4. Periodic trimming and harvesting


When planning your herb garden, be sure to learn about specific growing habits and uses to give you many seasons of enjoyment and value.


The more you know, the more you grow.

One dilemma many people face is trying to decide what type of garden to plant — flower or vegetable? You can do both! Planting bee- and butterfly-friendly flowers in the same bed as your vegetables can help your garden flourish while supporting endangered populations of pollinators. Meanwhile, planting flowers that repel damaging insects is an environmentally friendly alternative to pesticides. This approach, known as “companion planting,” is a simple way to naturally improve your vegetables’ health and harvest. See what works best with what you want to grow.



No matter how limited your space may be, gardening is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. You can connect with nature, nurture life, and create beauty in your world. And this summer is the perfect “thyme” to start!


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