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What Are the Different Types of Small Garden Designs?

By T. Carrier
Updated May 17, 2024
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Several factors like location and convenience may necessitate a small garden space. Size should not hinder an individual from creating and maintaining attractive small garden designs, however. A traditional flower garden may serve as the option of choice for small garden designs for some individuals. Others may prefer the practicality of a vegetable garden or the convenience of a container garden. For those desiring more unique options, a rock or water garden could provide the answer.

Easier maintenance and streamlined designing are two key advantages of small garden designs. A smaller space requires less upkeep and commitment. Further, since the space is viewable in one glance and has fewer parts, the prospective gardener can devote more attention to fine-tuning those parts. Complementary pieces in both color and function are often desirable.

One of the most popular types of garden landscaping is the flower garden. Smaller, durable plants that can grow multiple seasons, like perennials, are perhaps ideal for these gardens. Each flower will draw attention, so each one must be healthy and able to endure the specific climate of the garden. Similar colors and textures in flowers add a sense of wholeness and unity to the small space. Of course, personal taste ultimately decides design matters, and some individuals may prefer more varied garden layouts.

If an individual has access to many types of rocks, a dry Japanese garden or alternative type of rock garden may be ideal. These garden types consist of mosses, small perennial plants, and rocks. Slopes with natural rock formations work best as a location. Limestone is especially useful in rock gardens because it has indentations where small plants like moss can be placed. Soil and determined plants that are ready to grow are the only other requirements.

Another small garden design option is the vegetable garden. Planting areas like cottage gardens often feature vegetables and other edible plants. Several small vegetables, such as tomatoes, can be grown in diverse conditions ranging from windowsills to small yard areas. Vegetable gardens typically require patience and routine maintenance.

Container gardens or water gardens may be the solution for extremely busy individuals or individuals who do not have a traditional yard. The former type simply involves placing several planting containers along a windowsill or porch. Routine watering should keep these plants healthy, and the time commitment is less because potted plants are often annuals, which means they only grow for one season. The latter garden type favors plants like water lilies or lotuses that grow on small ponds or other water surfaces. These types also require less maintenance, although water should remain clean and healthy for the plant growth.

Different components can make any small garden designs stand apart. Some individuals like small walls around the garden to give it a more private feel. Trimmed hedges or shrubs can accomplish the same feat. If one desires the garden as a more public setting, the garden could make an attractive sidebar for a patio or deck, with small river rocks placed around the edges. A small statue or fountain could also serve as the centerpiece of the garden.

Locations and shapes may influence small garden designs as well. Yard gardens may be planted in a variety of shapes, although for small gardens rectangular, square, or circular designs are perhaps most typical. Some small gardens may also adorn walking paths or front porches, and designs may thus occur in more of a long, narrow shape.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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