By September 28, 2013

5 Tips for Landscaping Small Spaces: Container Gardens for Patios & Porches

Landscaping in a small outdoor space can seem tricky, especially if you’re confined to a small patio, porch or balcony. Small spaces are a blessing and curse. While you may not have the room for a full garden, landscaping maintenance is a lot simpler in a confined space. With a bit of planning and the right containers, you can dress up your outdoor space with more than just holiday lights and a couple of folding chairs.

1. Have multiple focal points

Potted Plants

Give your space visual appeal by having more than one focal point in the landscaping. This means having more than one potted plant in a corner. As you plan the elements for your patio, balcony or porch, think visual discovery. For example, use unusual containers like pitchers, an old dresser, a pedestal sink or glass jars that you recycled. Use a larger container to make a water garden. Mix tall and short plants in one container. Add some garden art and use repetition to draw the eye.

2. Know thy plants

Plant Varieties

When you have a container garden, choosing the right plants is as important as their arrangements. First, consider the conditions on your patio, porch or balcony. For instance, does it get full or partial sun? Is it windy? Then find the types of plants that grow well within the microclimate and learn a bit about their care and needs. If you’re a gardening novice, choose plants that are simple to maintain. As you repot the plants that you purchase, use the recommended potting mix and container so there is sufficient drainage.

3. Grow up

Potted Flowers

When the space on the ground is limited, consider the vertical spaces available. Secure a trellis to a wall for climbing plants, for example. Mount gutters onto a wall for rows of plants and leafy vegetables. Hang a shoe organizer from a door and add plants in the pockets. Cover the outsides of a shipping pallet with landscaping fabric, add dirt, lay the pallet against the wall and add plants. Mount canning jars with plants in them on the wall.

4. Don’t forget the flowers

Patio Landscaping2

If you have a themed container garden filled with mostly green plants, add some pots with colorful flowers. Not only are blooms beautiful, they attract pollinating insects like bees and butterflies that will help your garden thrive. If you have a container garden with herbs, consider adding edible flowers like borage, nasturtium and calendula. Some flowers are also great at repelling pests, such as lavender and marigolds.

5. Landscaping maintenance

Small Spaces Landscaping Ideas

As you plan your container gardens, group plants that have similar landscaping maintenance needs. This means not planting succulents, for example, with ferns. The plants that you group together should have similar sunlight, watering, feeding and drainage requirements. As your plants blossom, pinch off faded blooms to encourage more flowers to grow. Pruning and trimming is another landscaping maintenance job that you can’t neglect to ensure that you have enough space to enjoy your small garden when you’re outside.

Landscaping in a small space can be just as rewarding as tending to a larger garden. Be creative and thoughtful about where you place the containers, and share the bounty with your family and friends.

Guest author Steve Stewart is President of Landscape East & West, award-winning Portland landscaping contractors. Landscape East & West is a full-service landscaping company specializing in sustainable landscape maintenance, outdoor kitchen and patio design, and much more. Visit to view services and portfolio.

Posted in: Home Improvement

About the Author:

Jon Clark is an Internet Marketing Consultant, Entrepreneur and current editor of the Facebook Marketing Blog. Jon loves coffee, sports and NY. You can follow him on Twitter @jonleeclark or circle him on Google+.

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