Sunday, July 29, 2012

Big Ideas for Small Spaces

I often miss the larger yards I had in my Florida and Georgia houses until the unrelenting heat and humidity of summer settles over the Lowcountry. Then I am happy to have a smaller yard. But the size of my yard does limit what I can do in the way of landscaping. So I am always looking for ideas to do the most with the space I have.

• Layering helps make the most of a small yard. Work from ground level upward, filling each layer with plants. Start with ground covers, annuals and perennial, then work up to shrubs, vines and trees.

• Plant flowering vines along fences, arbors and trellises. This will allow for maximum visual impact without eating up lots of precious garden space. Brighten privacy fences with trellises and flat-backed planters.

• Table top gardens and container gardens. Select a sturdy table that can hold about 50 pounds, and fill it with pots of flowers, veggies and herbs. Upkeep is minimal, and you’ll save your knees and back. Arrange potted plants in groups to save space and time watering.

• Want Veggies? Tuck tomatoes, peppers, and other edibles among sun-loving flowers, and train sprawling vegetables like cucumbers and pole beans to climb a trellis. Use lettuce as a border plant, or combine several varieties to make a low-growing bed. Small, compact squares work just as well as long rows.

• Even the tiniest yard needs trees or evergreens for a sense of structure. Many varieties of dwarf trees are ideal for small landscapes. Some examples: Flowering Dogwood, Eastern Redbud, Golden Raintree, Japanese Magnolia, and Crabapple.

Using some of these ideas we have managed to make the most of our smaller yard.

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