Small Garden Ideas

Small Garden Ideas: tomatoes and basil in pot on deck

Using a large railing planter for the tomato plant and a tall, slender pot for the basil prevents this garden from taking up valuable deck space.

Do you dream of a garden filled with edibles but live in an apartment? Love the idea of fresh herbs and veggies to create culinary delights but think your patio is too small? Well, good news! You don’t need acres of land or even a huge garden to grow your own healthy, delicious food. If you’re the proud owner (or renter) of a sunny balcony, fire escape, patio, postage-stamp lawn, flat sturdy roof, or front porch, you have plenty of room to grow veggies and herbs—and we’ve got a bunch of small garden ideas to help you out.

First, though, we should note that most crops require 6-8 hours of full sun for strong plants and ample harvests. However, even a semi-shady spot can produce food. Greens like kale, lettuce, Swiss chard and some herbs, like mint, parsley, and thyme, can do just fine with as little as 3 hours of sun per day. (Check the free Homegrown with Bonnie Plants app to determine how much sun your plants need.)

Also, if you want instant success, check out our Bonnie Plants pre-planted containers filled with your favorite veggies and herbs, perfect for small spaces.

Ready to get growing? Check out these small garden ideas:

Small Garden Ideas: lettuces growing in strawberry pot

With their multiple openings, strawberry pots allow you to grow a variety of lettuces in a single container.

Contain it.
From large pots to hanging baskets to window boxes, containers offer many unique ways to grow edibles. Be creative! Think about replacing your typical hanging baskets of geraniums with baskets of strawberry plants on your front porch, or use window boxes to grow herbs. Tiered containers, raised planters, repurposed food-safe wooden crates, or even gutters attached to a fence can all work beautifully, too. Just make sure they have holes in the bottom, allowing them to drain well so that roots don’t rot. For best results, fill pots with a high quality potting soil like Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix.

Remember: containers need to be watered frequently, especially in summer’s heat. Make sure you have nearby access to water, whether it’s a kitchen faucet and watering can for the balcony or a hose and watering wand for the patio. It’s also a good ideas to place pots in a protected (but still sunny!) space if you can, as strong winds can topple containers. (Get more great container gardening tips right here.)

Small Garden Ideas: cucumber trellis in raised bed

This raised bed boasts a tent trellis made of cattle panels, which allows cucumbers to grow tall without sprawling over the edges.

Raise it up.
Place a small, attractive raised bed on your patio for easy growing or convert a fire pit into an edible garden, making an attractive small backyard feature. Either way, fill them with organic Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil to give your plants a healthy start.

Grow up.
One of the best ways to maximize your small garden area is use vertical space. Trellises or walls provide great support for climbing plants like pole beans, cucumbers, peas, and even small melons (with supports for the fruit). Vertical gardening adds another benefit to your space, too: green screens that provide privacy from your neighbors. Plus, combining pretty flowering vines on a trellis with climbing vegetables gives you both a delicious harvest and a beautiful accent for your small space garden.

Small Garden Ideas_edible landscaping along side of house

A narrow, sunny strip along the side of the house is an excellent place for a colorful edible landscape garden. This one is filled with cabbages and flowers.

Double the payoff.
Try edible landscaping, which allows you to get two benefits from a single space: plantings that not only supply your kitchen with fresh food, but also look amazing. For example, choose a large container to create a beautiful edible arrangement with a tomato plant as the tall center focal point, strawberries to spill over the edge, and basil to fill in the rest. Another idea is to place a small container of herbs on each step leading to your front door, set out of the way of foot traffic. Or, create a vibrant living wall on your fence, tucking plants into fabric grow pockets or adding brackets that support containers.

No matter how you end up styling your small garden, keep your plants supplied with all the nutrition they need by feeding them with a continuous-release fertilizer like Miracle-Gro® Shake ‘n Feed® Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Plant Food.

When you really look at your available space, you’ll probably find all sorts of small garden ideas.
Maybe one day you’ll grow an acre of food, but for now, enjoy the pleasures and produce from your small space garden!