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Tips for Gardening in Small Spaces

Splashes of colour break up green, provide variety, contrast and focal points. Try sowing both annuals and perennial flowers. e.g. cosmos, hydrangeas, sunflowers and marigolds.

You don’t specifically have to plant flowers though. A wide range of herbs and vegetables have beautiful flowers too. These include: chives (purple), spring onions (white), dill (yellow), thyme (pale pink to purple), basils (white or purple), pineapple sage (red), rosemary (purple), rocket (white), as well as all flowering vegetables and fruits.

Group plants around a theme

Create a collection of plants with the same foliage or flower colour for greater impact.  Theming an area of your garden by clever use of colour is an easy trick to use.  Stand back and take a look at the colours in your garden now.  Could you move them around for better effect?

For example, putting a punnet of four or six of the same coloured flower in a container for mass planting has a greater effect than just adding one flower.

Add Some Garden Art

Garden art can be any ornament, collection, treasured find or something you make. When you add decorative items to your garden, it reflects your personality and adds character to your small space.

Use colourful pots or feature containers

Feature planters can help draw the eye to a focal plant or area. A planter with a splash of colour is a simple example of ‘less is more.’Do you have a special pot that makes a statement? Or a heavy weight pot or one with a beautiful fruit tree or favourite plant in it?  You can again use design techniques to make this element look more important.

Use multi-functional edible herbs and flowers

Herbs provide fresh ingredients for the kitchen, have edible flowers, make attractive borders and pleasing aromas.

Choose herbs like curly leafed parsley, clumps of chives, mounds of lemon thyme and compact Greek basil with marigolds, violets and tatsoi.  Not only do they provide variation in colour but add beauty, flavour and structure too.

Create unity and diversity

Achieve a beautiful garden by repeating a colour provided by a variety of different plants.

Colour themes are a very effective design trick for adding beauty.  Here are some ideas for combinations to get started:

  • Yellow/Orange: e.g. yellow capsicums; orange marigolds; calendula; cherry tomato varieties like ‘yellow pear;’ nasturtiums; orange chard; cosmos; and yellow chillis.
  • Purple: e.g. a wide variety of sages; purple basil; thyme; eggplant; beetroot; rainbow chard; rhubarb; rosemary and chive flowers; some lettuce varieties; alyssum (purple flowers); ajuga purpurea; lavender, violet, geranium, viola and petunia.

Choose a feature

For example, this may be a plant, statue, piece of garden art or even outdoor furniture.  Whatever is special to you, highlight it by drawing the eye to it.  Some ways you could do this are:

Choose a focus plant such as a productive citrus tree in a pot by centring it on your balcony or verandah.

  • As you come out the door it should catch your eye immediately.  Use a pot or container that is a different colour to the others so it makes a statement.  Under-plant around the base of the tree with some colourful annuals or ground cover.  Position plants lower on either side of the pot so the eye goes to the tree first as the highest point.
  • Outdoor art can take many forms and be made from a wide range of materials.  From pieces that sit in pots, on tables or furniture to wall mounted frames and collections, these can be a talking point and focus, or help theme your outdoor room.