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5 Plants for small outdoor spaces

Laura Carson Miller is freelance lifestyle writer in Atlanta, writing for magazines and the web. Her favorite subjects include beauty, health/wellness, and financial issues. She is also an avid cook, gardener, fashionista and interior st...

Small space big impact

If you’re ready to spruce up your smaller patio, balcony or porch, these plant suggestions will help you make the most of your allotted gardening area. Read on to find out how to maximize your patio garden with plants that are big on show and not on space!

Small outdoor spaces

1Shrubs and bushes

Just because you have only a small area in which to garden doesn't mean you can't enjoy hearty bushes and shrubs. Grown in containers, these plants will often stay smaller and more compact, lending themselves perfectly to limited patio or balcony spaces. Azaleas, rhododendrons and hydrangeas produce colorful flowers while boxwoods and bay laurel provide a backdrop of deep green foliage.

Use shrubs to create a private garden room >>

2


Vines and climbers

One way to make your small outdoor space seem larger is to lift the eye upward with taller plants, such as bamboo and various vines and climbing varieties. A large pot that holds another plant can also house a trellis in back where vines such as roses or clematis can grow unobstructed. A modular wall garden panel can display vines such as ivy, moonflower or balloon vine.

Vines and vertical gardening >>

3Ornamental grasses

With ease of maintenance and offering color and texture, ornamental grasses are an easy choice for small-space gardening. Available in dwarf varieties that don't grow as tall, these grasses are hearty and tend to be disease- and pest-free. Hameln dwarf fountain grass is a stylish perennial pick with white plumed flowers in the summer and fall. This variety likes sun, so if you have more of a shaded area, go for Hakone grass, which thrives in shade. The colorful yellow-green hue will help brighten shady corners, too.

Stylish planter pots >>

4Bonsai

Small trees grown in pots define this Japanese art form, which involves a particular way of pruning and cultivating them through specific techniques. Jade trees, ficus and Japanese maple are all popular bonsai species. Dwarf bamboo and Japanese white pine make good bonsai trees for beginners. Many bonsai plants bear fruit or boast beautiful blossoms, while adding style and a fun hobby to your small outdoor garden space.

Tips for choosing a bonsai tree >>

5Hanging baskets

Many different types of plants thrive in hanging baskets. They make a big impact while leaving added floor space for plants or furniture. Trailing varieties, sometimes called "spillers," hang over the sides of the basket and are ideal if baskets are placed high. Some popular spillers include sweet potato plant, fuchsia and creeping Jenny. By placing multiple plant types in each basket, you really get a big bang for your buck and a feast for the eyes.

Gardening in a small space doesn't mean your plants can't have big impact. With the right selections, you can make your small space garden a place to dream big!

More gardening tips

Get your backyard ready for spring!
How to garden on a budget
8 Outdoor and garden accessories

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