Create a Garden Oasis in Any Size Yard, Deck or Balcony

Wire wall pocket planters dress up walls with color and interest. (Photo courtesy Gardener's Supply Company)
Wire wall pocket planters dress up walls with color and interest. (Photo courtesy Gardener’s Supply Company)

No matter where you garden, there never seems to be enough time and space to accomplish all your gardening goals. Make the most of every minute and square foot of space in your landscape, deck, patio or balcony.

Start with a vision of what you want to create. Perhaps it’s a secret hideaway in a large lot, a private oasis in a small urban lot, a tropical retreat on your balcony or a space to entertain. Once you decide, look for the right plants, containers and accessories suited to the space and design of your small-space garden.

Create a lush oasis by including plants at all levels. Groundcovers not only provide greenery and seasonal interest, but they also protect the soil from erosion. A vine growing in a container that is allowed to crawl over the surface can do the trick when there is no soil for planting.

Use perennials and small shrubs as dividers and low-growing screens. Tall ornamental grasses and vines, as well as larger shrubs and small-scale trees, can help screen unwanted views and noise.

Grow these in containers and save time with self-watering pots. Use elevated planters to bring gardens to eye level and strategically place hanging baskets to preserve good views while providing needed screening. Fill them with edible plants like trailing strawberries, vegetables like compact trailing tomatoes or Pot-o-Peno peppers, as well as herbs and flowers for fun and expanded benefits. Make maintenance easy and less messy with self-watering pots like the Viva self-watering hanging basket.

Select weather-proof containers when using them outdoors year-round. Purchase perennial flowers, trees and shrubs that are at least one zone hardier to increase winter survival when gardening in colder climates. Filling containers with heat- and drought-tolerant plants also helps boost success with less effort.

Go vertical with vines. Annual vines like cardinal flowers, canary vines and hyacinth bean vines quickly cover a trellis and provide a long season of bloom. Perennial vines like native honeysuckle, clematis and climbing roses provide years of beauty but may take a couple of years to reach their mature size and flowering potential.

Train annual and perennial vines together onto trellises for quick cover and extended bloom. Look for those that also provide fragrances, like jasmine vine and sweet pea vine, for a bit of aromatherapy. Grow peas, pole beans, cucumbers and others for a bit of homegrown flavor.

As always, make sure the plant you select will thrive in the existing conditions and that the trellis is large and strong enough to support the plant. Many new containers have built-in trellises, like the Lexington Planter with Trellis, making it much easier to grow these in pots.

Add an arbor for a dramatic entrance to your small space garden or a striking statement in the garden any time of the year. Set the arbor in a garden or place containers at the base for added beauty. Add lights to create a bit of evening ambiance.

Include wall-mounted trellises like the Exeter Wall Trellis ( that provide plenty of spaces for vines to climb and create a green wall. These can be mounted on a wall or fence and the vines planted nearby in the ground or a container and then trained onto the trellis.

Extend your enjoyment into the evening with outdoor lighting. New solar-powered lights and even planters like solar-illuminated planters eliminate the need for wiring and allow you to place the lights where needed.

Creating the small space garden of your dreams is easier than you think. Take some time to plan and select plants, supports and accessories suited to your growing conditions and design preferences. Then relax and enjoy your new space.