In the Garden

Create a Garden Oasis in Any Size Yard, Deck, or Balcony

No matter where you garden, there never seems to be enough time and space to accomplish all your gardening goals. Make the most of every minute and square foot in your landscape, deck, patio, or balcony.

Start with a vision of what you want to create. It could be a secret hideaway in a large lot, a private oasis in a small urban lot, a tropical retreat on your balcony, or a space to entertain. Once you decide, look for the right plants, containers, and accessories suited to the area and design of your small space garden.

Create a lush oasis by including plants at all levels. Groundcovers not only provide greenery and seasonal interest, but they also protect the soil from erosion. A vine growing in a container that crawls over the surface can do the trick when there is no soil for planting.

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Large shrubs and decorative Allium create a picturesque divider

Use perennials and small shrubs as dividers and low-growing screens. Tall ornamental grasses, vines, larger shrubs, and small-scale trees can help screen unwanted views and noise.

Grow in containers and save time with self-watering pots. Use elevated planters to bring gardens to eye level and strategically place hanging baskets to preserve good views while providing needed screening. Fill them with edible plants like trailing strawberries, vegetables like compact trailing tomatoes or Pot-o-Peno peppers, herbs, and flowers for fun and expanded benefits. Make maintenance easy and less messy with self-watering pots like the Viva self-watering hanging basket.

Select weather-proof containers when using them outdoors year-round. Purchase perennial flowers, trees, and shrubs that are at least one zone hardier to increase winter survival when gardening in colder climates. Filling containers with heat- and drought-tolerant plants also helps boost success with less effort.

A garden bamboo trellis is perfect for climbing vines

Go vertical with vines. Annual vines like cardinal flowers, canary vines, and hyacinth bean vines quickly cover a trellis and provide a long bloom season. Perennial vines like our native honeysuckle, clematis, and climbing roses offer years of beauty but may take a couple of years to reach their mature size and flowering potential.

Train annual and perennial vines onto trellises for quick cover and extended bloom. Look for those that also provide fragrances like jasmine vine and sweet pea vine for a bit of aromatherapy. Grow peas, pole beans, cucumbers, and others for some homegrown flavor.

As always, ensure the plant you select will thrive in the existing conditions and that the Trellis is large and strong enough to support the plant.

Try new containers with built-in trellises making it much easier to grow the assorted vines in pots. An example is the Lexington Planter with Lattice Trellis. It is attractive and easy to place in a small or large area for added color.

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Add an arbor for a distinct look to your garden’s entrance or anywhere in your yard

Add an arbor for a dramatic entrance to your small space garden or a striking statement in the garden any time of the year—place containers at the base of the arbor for added beauty. Add lights to create an evening ambiance.

Dress up fences and walls with plant-filled containers like Wire Wall Pockets Vertical Garden, a Galvanized Hanging Triple Planter, or an outdoor shelf like the Veg Trug herb rack.

Include wall-mounted trellises like the Exeter Wall Trellis that provide plenty of spaces for vines to climb and create a green wall. You can mount these on a wall or fence, and the vines planted nearby in the ground, or a container can train onto the trellis.

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Photo courtesy by

Extend your enjoyment into the evening with outdoor lighting. New solar-powered lights and even planters like Solar illuminated planters eliminate the need for wiring and allow you to place the lights where needed.

Creating the small, medium, or large space garden of your dreams is easier than you think. Take some time to plan and select plants, supports, and accessories suited to your growing conditions and design preferences.

As you relax and enjoy your new space, you will realize it was all worth it!


Melinda Myers

Melinda Myers is a nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist. She has more than 35 years of horticulture experience, a master’s degree in horticulture and has written over 20 books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” gardening DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments as well as columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazineVisit her website at

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