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Garden design encyclopedia

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Small Garden Design - Making the Most of Container Gardens

Small spaces and containers simply go together. Containers give you the chance to experiment and try different plants. If you don't like it or a plant is under-performing, it is easy to correct.

But where containers really excel is in control. The gardeners can choose just the right soil, the right exposure and the right cultural conditions.

As a Garden Unto Themselves

It's possible to create an entire garden with potted plants, so not having a yard is no excuse for not having a garden. Not every plant will be happy in a container, but you might be surprised how many and which ones do.

Dwarf trees can be left outdoors year round. This includes fruit trees, ornamentals and evergreens. Many vegetable varieties have been bred specifically to be grown in pots. Anything with the words 'patio' or 'mini' in their name is a good bet.

Using ornamental flowers in containers gives you the means to truly have season long bloom. You can switch out plants or simply switch out pots.

As Filler

No space can be wasted in a small garden. But try telling that to a plant that's been eaten or that temporarily succumbed to the humidity. Potted containers are perfect for last minute fixes. Whether you create a new pot of simple petunias or pull a masterpiece off of your deck, it can be tucked in next to the ailing plant and instantly fill the void.

As Focal Points

Another speciality of containers is their ability to create a focal point. If you're having trouble finding a plant that will provide you with height and not take up your entire garden space, look instead for a tall urn or chimney pot. The foot print is relatively small, but you can fill the top with spiky or spreading color. If the foot print of an urn is still too large for your garden space, consider placing a stand, some blocks or a tree trunk in the space and placing the container on top.

Even the pot can be used to add color or texture to the garden. Containers are a great way to express yourself in the garden. Found items, cracked pots, rusted wheelbarrows, old shoes, even the kitchen sink can be put to use in the garden.

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