Tips and Guides

5 Small Space Gardening Tips

Make the most out of your small garden


The need for more space in city dwellings has forced residential designs to maximize floor area at the expense of "less important" space such as the garden. Gone are the days when huge lawns filled the outdoor areas of middle-income residences. There's no need to fret as you can still enjoy the perks of outdoor living!

A well-planned pocket garden, anywhere from 10 to 15sqm, can still meet your needs with these easy tips:

Pictorial direction by Issa Villar and Carlo Vergara. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

1. Choose your plants well. Choose plants that do not crowd spaces. Opt for plants that are columnar (narrow and vertical) in nature such as the Indian tree, or those that respond well to pruning and shaping (ficus or eugenia). Flowering vines that climb onto obelisks or any other vertical form is another way of making use of vertical space. However, do not omit trees with canopies because they will provide shade from the hot sun. Purchase trees that are already mature in size so that they do not become obtrusive during their formative years. Given the small space, you choose plants that you really like.
2. Provide sitting areas and pave your garden. A garden bench is a more practical choice. Also, constructing plant boxes that can double as makeshift sitting areas can turn the garden into a more relaxing outdoor space.

Considering hardscape materials for paving is better than choosing lawn grasses such as Bermuda or blue grass. Tiles, concrete pavers, or pebbles are good low-maintenance paving materials that will last longer than grasses in a small-space garden. This holds true when other plants become bigger and block out most of the sunlight needed by lawn grasses.
3. Accessorize your garden. Inject some garden ornaments that reflect your own personality, whether it is a chime hanging on a branch or a lantern placed on top of a rock.
4. Be creative. A small fountain in a similarly small pond can provide a quaint water feature with the calming sound of trickling water. These simple things will invite you to linger in the garden a little bit longer.
5. Re-invent your space. This was once a paved indoor garden but due to lack of space and sunlight, it was converted into a koi pond. It has now become the focal point of the house and even makes it cooler due to the continuous evaporation of water. Some situations present us with challenges and this is the best time to give your home a new look!

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