Small Spaces


If you’re living in a townhouse or in the city or inner city, you may not have too much of a back yard. It may have no lawn, only concrete or tiles. This should not be an excuse not to jazz up your space.

Please note, a future post will be about balcony spaces.

Planter boxes can be erected. Also when planning your outside space, leave some areas to be planted out. You don’t have to have a huge garden to have nice things growing. For example utilize your space properly. Grow Espalier plants. Citrus, plums and even olives can still produce an abundance of fruit in a narrow space. Another example is dwarf species in small beds or pots.  And the use of herbs which can add aroma to the space as well as a culinary addition. They also look fantastic. Raised boxes can also be used for vegies and potted flowers.

The use of trellis is encouraged too. Adding different colour throughout your garden.

Species for planter boxes: lettuce, capsicum, chillies,  tomatoes, potatoes  (adding a built-up planter especially for potatoes would give your space a real lift), spinach, silver beat.

Herb Species which work well in pots are:  Rosemary, Basil, oregano, mint (these tend to go weed like if not contained), thyme, parsley, sage.

Plants which work well in pots: Pelargonium,  geranium, gardenia, Daphne, pansies, stock, status, hollyhock, gazania, Fuchsia,  orchids, Clive, succulents, kangaroo paw.

Species to espalier: lemon, lime, kumquat,  plum, olive.

Species for climbing: Ivy, grapes, star jasmine.



What do we need to consider when we are designing a small landscape?

  • Sustainability
  • Water
  • culinary
  • visually stimulating
  • Aspect
  • Soil type
  • Planters or garden beds
  • Vertical plantings
  • Accessibility to area.
  • Exposure to sun and Wind – how this will effect choice of plants.
    • Overshadowing  – need to know this for plant selection
  • Shade

How can this be utilized?


  • Space
  • Plants

Hard landscape

  • lawn
  • Paving
  • Containers
  • Built up beds
  • vertical trellis

Soft landscaping including plants

  • Vines
  • Small trees
  • Vegetables
  • Fine detail is important

 Rectangular cubes of kumquats Add to dictionary and Japanese maple. The contrast of colours look spectacular against the grey tiles.

 On the other side of the Japanese maple, we have a water tank with Star Jasmine climbing on it.

Another vine used in this small space, is ivy.  So many different varieties and species of Ivy.

Small planters with herbs and vegetables
Sedum around stepping stones to the water source
Use of pots with succulents and spilling out plants.

Some more thoughts

Dwarf citrus in urns or pots can add colour to concrete city.  The use of urns in general or water features – obviously size will be a factor.  Mirrors can be used to make spaces look bigger.  Integrate ponds with plants.  Use smaller plants.  Unless you like the closed in feeling.  Consider foliage textures and the size of the leaves.  Also make sure your plants work well together both visually and they have similar properties and needs.

There is a plethora of information which can turn a drab concrete jungle into something quite engaging and stimulating.  And most of all, enjoy!

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