lettuce surrounded by different vegetable
ECO gardener

While having acres of garden space is ideal for farming, you don’t need a lot of yard space to build a garden. City folks who’d like to try their hand at gardening could build an urban garden on rooftops. To build a garden, you must learn how to make the most out of your outdoor space, no matter the size! From investing in raised beds to fitting all your fruits and veggies on your yard, here are practical ways of optimizing your outdoor space for gardening:

Start Small

woman planting seed

It’s tempting to empty the nearest nursery to start your gardening journey with a bang but don’t. Instead of collecting several plants to get your balcony or patio garden going, start with a couple of plants first. Starting small is important especially if you are new to gardening. You don’t want to spend a small fortune on the wrong plants. Also, growing a lot of plants can be overwhelming for beginner gardeners so spare yourself the trouble and curate your collection.

Our advice is to start with 3 to 5 native plants or easy-to-grow crops. Native plants will fare better than exotics because these plants have adapted to the local climate. Since these plants have adapted well to the local climate, they’re much easier to take care of, which is perfect for busy or newbie gardeners.

Choose High Yield Crops

Some fruits and vegetables need more room to grow; others will do well when grown in a small pot or a container. If you are dealing with a small space, it makes sense to choose crops that give the best yield despite the limited garden space.

Assuming that you only have a square foot of gardening space to spare, do not plant crops that grow too big like cabbages, cauliflower, brocs, etc. These crops spread as they grow and they will require several feet of space in between.

We recommend planting high-yield crops that are suitable for small gardens such as carrots, garlic, lettuce, radishes, spinach, and any type of vertically growing crops. You can make the most out of the garden’s vertical space by installing trellises for your tomatoes, cucumber, beans, and other vine fruits and vegetables.

Try Vertical Gardening

Speaking of maximizing the garden’s vertical space, you can make the most out of a small garden space by growing your crops vertically. Apart from installing trellises, you can use lattice, bamboo, pallet, netting, and rope to create your own vertical garden.

A vertical garden provides optimal yield and better pest management. Harvesting is also much easier when the crops are grown vertically. In addition, some types of trailing crops add shade and privacy to an outdoor space, which is great if you want to enhance your outdoor landscape.

Crops are less prone to leaf fungus and fruit rot because the fruits are not in contact with the soil. Since the air moves freely through the plants, there will be less moisture buildup that could lead to diseases and rot. Saving water is also easier when growing a vertical garden. Every time you water your plants, there are fewer runoffs. Harvesting is also easier because you don’t have to bend over every time you are collecting your crops.

Mix Things Up

bunch of herbs planted in a raised bed

Traditionally, growers would set aside space for certain types of crops. This is ideal if you have a large expanse of space at your disposal but for most people with small gardens, this isn’t recommended at all. You could end up wasting a lot of space when you are growing only a limited type of crop. You can make the most out of your garden space by growing edibles and ornamental plants at the same time. It’s unconventional but it works for most urban gardens.

Growing diverse varieties of edible and ornamental plants enhance the look of your outdoor space while also protecting the crops from pests. Some types of flowering plant varieties, for instance, could repel nibbling insects. Other ornamental plants are known to attract pest-eating predators like nasturtium and calendula. Planting flowering plants near fruit-bearing plants ensure an optimal yield come harvest time.

Invest in Raised Beds

ecogardener raised bed planters

When building a garden in a small space, it’s better to grow your crops in beds, not in rows. Planting crops in beds eliminates the wasted space for walking in between rows. A raised bed or two is perfect for any type of home gardens, particularly gardens with poor soil quality.

Raised beds give you better control over the soil quality while also helping you maximize your outdoor space. Thanks to the extra protection that raised beds provide, your crops are less prone to disease, rot, and infestations. The crops are also easier to maintain because the plants are grown in a confined space! To maximize your space even further, consider planting the crops closely together.

Think Multipurpose

When it comes to optimizing an otherwise cramped garden space, it's best to invest in compact, multipurpose pieces to make every square inch of space work harder. That’s why it pays to spend your money on gardening items that pull double duty.

Hanging bins and baskets, benches with extra storage, even a patio table that works as a planter, these pieces makes a terrific addition to a small garden. These items serve a variety of purpose while also stretching the storage space of a small garden.

Add a Focal Point

vegetable garden

Think a focal point is only reserved for a large garden? Think again! Even a petite urban garden could benefit from a focal point. A focal point attracts the eye and adds a sense of purpose to a space. It also enhances the flow of the design, keeping the outdoor setup cohesive and harmonious by pulling all the design elements together!

Since you are decorating a small garden, choose compact items to use as a focal point. These items could be anything from a decorative water feature to a cluster of ornamental plants. You can also use hardscapes, cute planters, or a bench as your garden's focal point. The right placement is everything when creating a focal point. Set your outdoor accents in the perfect spot. Don't be afraid to play around until you find what works for your garden setup.

A Place for Relaxing

No matter how small a garden is, it pays to save a little space for relaxing. Enjoy your hard work by adding a simple seating area in your garden setup. Nothing too elaborate or bulky if you are working with a small space, a rustic bench or a compact patio chair or two is a great way to start building a spot where you can relax in the garden. Frame the seating area with lots of aromatic herbs, flowering or trailing plants to create an intimate, soothing space.

Add textures, colors, and pretty paving to give this space visual interest. You can also use trellises, an arch or perhaps an arbor to let the crawling plants frame the space. Gardening in a small apartment has its challenges but there are ways to make the otherwise limited space work according to your gardening needs. With these gardening tips, you can create a stunning yet productive garden space, no matter how tiny your outdoor space may be!

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