Have a tiny space but longing to plant a bountiful garden? It’s totally possible to have an amazing garden even if you have a home with little to no yard! These garden ideas for small spaces can help you build the garden of your dreams, no matter what the square footage.
If your home has a tiny yard or a small outdoor living space, you can still flex your green thumb and have an amazing garden. You can do it all without a ton of work or financial investment, which is always nice!
Whether you are an urban dweller wanting to try out rooftop gardening or you have a condo with a small patio, these garden ideas for small spaces will help you get the best ‘bang for your buck’.
Best Garden Ideas for Small Spaces
Having a small space doesn’t need to prevent you from having the outdoor space of your dreams. It does mean that you need to get a little more creative about how you plan and structure your gardening space.
These tips are not only clever and effective, but they also create beautiful gardenscapes in any size space.
1: Grow Up, Not Out
One of the best, most effective gardening ideas for small spaces is to grow up rather than out. There are so many different methods you can use to garden vertically.
Interestingly, vertical vegetable gardening actually provides a few benefits over traditional gardening. In addition to saving space, growing vegetables vertically gives your plants more sunlight, improves air circulation, helps reduce pests, and makes your plants easier to water and harvest.
Try using these vertical vegetable gardening techniques:
- Utilize hanging baskets – many foods can grow in hanging baskets, including cherry tomatoes, strawberries, and herbs. You can even swap a regular hanging basket for a tiered version to get more vegetables growing in a small space.
- Garden in a shoe organizer. A shoe organizer can be a surprising tool when looking for small vegetable garden ideas. Simply make sure each compartment has drainage holes, then fill each shoe space with compost or potting soil. Add your plants in a sunny spot and water as directed.
- Plant a garden in a pallet. Create a beautiful, rustic looking garden by attaching terra cotta pots to a standing pallet that is leaning against a wall. Use zip ties, metal rings, or something equally as strong to attach your pots to different slats on your wood pallet.
One of my favourite gardening ideas for small spaces is using a trellis to grow plants upwards. Trellised plants will also require less water, have better structure and increased airflow. Additionally, these plants are easier to harvest and will have the added benefit of providing shade for other shade-loving plants.
You can purchase a trellis in different styles, but they are also relatively easy to DIY if you want to save some cash. Vegetables that grow well on a trellis include:
- Pole beans
- Cucumbers (also check out this guide on how to grow cucumbers!)
- Pumpkins (Cinderella pumpkins are my favourite)
- Indeterminate tomatoes
2: Container Gardening
Container gardening is a great method for growing pretty flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs, even if you have no yard whatsoever! I love that you can grow different items in pots then simply rotate them or group them differently for a whole new look.
Plus, container gardening has one very real advantage over your typical in-ground gardening—you can take your containers with you if you have to move!
As if those reasons weren’t enough, growing vegetables in pots saves tons of gardening space while also reducing threats from pests and weather.
One beautiful way to do container gardening is to stack terracotta pots inside of each other to build a tiered garden. Not only will this save space over having multiple pots on the ground, but they can be quite pretty as well!
Vegetables that grow well in containers include:
- Strawberries (so well that I wrote a whole post about it!)
Related post: Check out this guide for a full breakdown of vegetables that grow exceptionally well in containers, and start a few containers of your own!
Potted Fruit Trees
Surprisingly, even fruit trees will do well in a container garden. Most fruit trees will grow well in containers for a short time (and then need to be transplanted to the ground); however, if you want to grow fruit potted trees long-term, try growing calamondin orange, plum, apple, fig, or a dwarf variety of your favourite fruit trees.
With fruit trees, know that they rarely bear as much fruit as if the same tree planted in the ground would. Potted fruit trees also tend to produce fruit a season or two before planted trees do.
Note: planters will freeze faster than the ground will so choose a fruit tree variety that can survive at least two zones colder than where you live.
3: Square Foot Gardening
Square foot gardening is a very efficient gardening idea for small spaces that divides raised beds into a grid. Because the raised bed is filled with a very nutritious dirt mix, you can use this method on top of any surface, like grass or concrete.
For small vegetable gardens, the square foot gardening idea is a great method because it produces high yields in a small area (typically 4’x4’ raised beds) through the use of companion planting (see below) and efficient plant placement.
4: Try Companion Planting
Companion planting involves growing certain plants near each other to attain mutually beneficial qualities (repelling pests, nutrient requirements, etc) in order to help both types of plants grow efficiently and produce better yields. It’s a space-saving technique that also keeps plants happy while attracting more pollinators.
Learn more about how to companion plant and the best flowers to use for it here, and this guide on which combinations of vegetables work best together.
5: Choose Plants That are Perfectly Sized for a Small Garden
Along with growing vegetables vertically, plant vegetables that are meant to be grown in small garden spaces. There are several different ways you can do this from planting dwarf varieties of your favourite vegetables to planting single leader tomatoes.
While there are several design tips that provide garden ideas for small spaces, another factor to consider is your plant size. Instead of planting full-size vegetables which take up a lot of space, consider growing dwarf-sized vegetables. You’ll be able to grow more in less space. Here are a few dwarf varieties perfect for small vegetable gardens:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Baby eggplants
- Dwarf lettuce
- Baby artichokes
- Dwarf carrots
- Dwarf avocados
Single Leader Tomatoes
Bushy and multi-leader tomato plants take up more space than single leader (stem) tomato plants do. If you need to be very mindful of your space allowance, grow single leader tomatoes and still enjoy large yields while using less space.
In order to do this, you have to grow indeterminate tomato plants, which grow more vine-like than bush-like. Improve the health and structure of your plants by training them into single leader tomatoes with these steps:
- When you plant your indeterminate tomato plants, also place a 6 ft tall stake with your plant and tie the main stem of your plant to the stake once it reaches about 10-12 inches in length.
- As your plant grows, continue to tie the main stem to your stake at 8-10 inch intervals.
- Regularly inspect your tomato plant for suckers (side stems) and pinch them off at the spot where they come out of the main stem. Remove suckers when they are no more than 2-4 inches long.
Plant Varieties That Have Higher Yields
Certain vegetables will naturally produce more than other varieties of plants will. If you want to focus your small garden space on the vegetables that provide the highest yield, try planting:
- Salad greens
- Pole beans
Cucumbers can actually produce such a big crop that you don’t even know what to do with them all, ask me how I know! I actually had to create this list of ideas to use up extra cucumbers.
6: Plant Back-to-Back Crops
If you live in an area that has a longer growing season, make the best use of your small space by growing back to back crops. There are several different ways to do this, but the basic idea is to plant one round of a certain vegetable (like lettuce), and then plant another batch of seeds a few weeks later.
That way, once you harvest your first batch, you’ll soon have another batch to harvest. You can keep repeating this method the entire season or until the seeds stop sprouting.
Garden Ideas for Small Spaces – Final Thought
If you want to garden in a small space, grow upward! Don’t hesitate to get creative. This tip plus the other garden ideas for small spaces on this list will help you make the most of your small space and still enjoy a bountiful harvest this year.