Think You Haven’t Got Space for a Garden?

By Joanna Simmons, Houzz contributor


January 25, 2017

This article orginially appeard on

If your outdoor space is tiny, tricky or totally nonexistent, you can still find a way to grow a little garden. Forget big shrubs or sculptural trees and think instead about window boxes, clever climbing vines and lush indoor jungles. Sometimes simply getting hold of the right planters is enough to unlock the potential for a corner of greenery, while other solutions are more ingenious. Here’s a handful of ripe ideas to try.

West 2nd Street, North Vancouver

Rethink the hanging basket. Much favored by urban gardeners for dangling off lampposts, hanging baskets exist in other, cooler guises too. Great for exploiting unused wall space in a small balcony area, a hanging basket can be any shape or size, provided it’s securely supported.

Try an industrial, trough-like design, something like this one, rather than the traditional round wire version.

You could even construct your own hanging containers using upcycled cans for a beautiful and economical look.

Lennox Gardens - Small terrace and lightwell

Go big with window boxes. Treat window boxes as a mini garden, filling them with annuals, perennials and herbs for maximum variety and interest all year round.

Choose specimens that are reasonably tall so you can see and enjoy them from indoors. Plants such as Verbena bonariensis grow on tall, strong stems that won’t block the light but will bring welcome height to a window box.

Window boxes and planters in the city
For something big on impact but, perhaps, lower maintenance, try planting a row of grasses in a window box. Again, you’ll be able to appreciate these from inside, and they create a pleasing green screen that softens an urban view.
Window boxes and planters in the city

Decorate outside as you would in. Instead of trying to grow a garden in a tricky, dark courtyard like this, why not brighten it up with geometric tiles and attractive furniture? Treat the low area outside a basement window as an extension of inside so that it’s pleasant to use and great to look at from within.

Related: Finding the Just-Right Sized Patio Furniture

WHAT architecture - Beirutful House



Exploit a corner. Build planters into a corner to create a green focal point. Trailing plants help obscure the horizontal lines of the planters and, paired with smaller specimens, give a lush, abundant feel to this relaxed seating corner.

Here, the homeowners have adapted pallets to make them watertight, then painted them white.

My Houzz: A Dark Storage Space transformation to a Crisp White Loft

Nurture an indoor garden. Rather than just dotting a few potted plants around, think big and go for an abundant, indoor garden look. Group large houseplants of various sizes and heights together on the floor and use mirrors to max the effect.

Related: The Best Products to Get Your Small Garden Growing

Little Venice Rooms Summer

Alternatively, take the more is more approach, but use a single piece of furniture, such as a low bench or shelf, to organize your potted plant display. Tuck this under a sunny window and watch your plants thrive.

Living room

Introduce climbers inside. Grow vertical climbing plants indoors, trained up a simple, minimal wire mesh partition. This one flanks stairs, but the idea would work well against a sunny internal wall too.

Trees on the Roof

Seattle’s Former Columbia Congregational Church and Allied8: A Match Made in Heaven

Sean Meyers

Home Life: A Wrinkle in Time

Sean Meyers

Sound House: This home in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood offers views of Puget Sound, for a family to rival the Bradys

Sean Meyers