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Anyone with a small space?

While I love looking at pictures on this forum from members with huge gardens and hundreds of roses, I would love to hear from people with smaller yards, surely they exist?
I have very limited space. And not moving, at least not in the next 10 to 15 yrs or foreseeable future. I love plants. All of them. Though these days I seem to be motivated by fragrance. Jasmine, roses, fragrant herbs, tropicals..
How do you squeeze them in? Need inspiration, insight and advice!

Comments (54)

  • Marlorena-z8 England-

    I grow them upwards rather than outwards... there's more room up there.. like trees in a forest... I haven't the room for big wide spreading shrubs left unattended, so mine get trained differently... it's weird, it's unconventional.. eccentric even... but I'm not gardening for landscapers... of course I can do this here, but elsewhere I wouldn't know really.. everything grows huge in warmer climates, so wouldn't be practical I suppose.. best of luck growing your roses in Houston !... I hope they do really well for you.. and you show us some pictures before long....

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked Marlorena-z8 England-
  • mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9

    I have small spaces within my small garden. I too am a plant person and love just some weird and different varieties of plants. The back bed is approximately 7 feet wide (not sure how long it is). I have zero lot lines where I live so my neighbors are literally right on top of me/my yard. I have two front beds lining the walkway to my front door that are 2 feet wide (not sure how long). I have a couple of smallish beds in the back. One is a half circle that is about 3--4 feet at its widest point and the other is maybe 7 feet at its widest point. My little side yard is about 3 feet wide and maybe 10 feet long. That is it. So, I have a lot of plants in pots. Not always the best given that we are restricted on days and times for watering and it gets hotter than Hades here in the summer and down to close to (or below) freezing in the winter.

    I have my veggies in a raised bed on wheels (2 feet by 3 feet) as I like growing them and love fresh veggies. Herbs are in small 12 inch pots, near my veggies. I have an Australian Finger Lime in a pot that I keep very small (I like different plants and that one is definitely different!). The finger lime likes to reach out and grab you--that sucker has sharp thorns on it!)--so it stays small. My back bed contains citrus trees on dwarf root stock, (yuzu, blood orange, Key Limes, variegated pink lemons) and used to have my fig trees (had to remove one as it was just got too large for the space).

    So, I have roses in my beds along with iris, day lilies, salvia's, etc., in the front beds. In the very front bed (I have to have a tree(s) according to the HOA rules), I have crape myrtles as I love the flowers and colors and the interesting bark in the winter (plus they are drought tolerant). The rest of my roses I have in pots where I can water them by my drip system.

    I keep plants only that I love as I have no space for keeping a plant (including roses) that I am not wild about. So, plants do come and go in my yard. I have starting tucking some mini roses near my citrus trees but everything is on drip. Citrus are not big on water and roses are. So I have more emitters around my roses than I do around my citrus. That is how I am able to regulate the water for plants that like and don't like water, on the same water zone for my sprinkler system timer. Hope that made sense.

    So my yard is constantly changing. I look at prior pictures and state that my yard doesn't look like that any longer. I just changed things again this winter and none of the pictures that I will post, will now look like my yard as I just changed things around again, last week.

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9
  • Marlorena-z8 England-

    mustbnuts… I love your adventurous style, always trying something different.. you have some fascinating plants I've never heard of.. amazing what you can do with a smaller space..

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked Marlorena-z8 England-
  • HalloBlondie (zone5a) Ontario, Canada
    Compared to many people on here I have a smaller yard. I live in a newer subdivision, if that gives you an idea of yard size. I do admit to having one of the largest lots in my neighbourhood though. What helps me is that I live in a colder climate. Our hot summers make everything grow quickly, but come December everything gets frozen to it's base. So nature prunes for me. My largest rose is maybe 6 x 3 feet by september. In april it will be 1 x 1. That really keeps plants in check. I have about 75 roses now and also have a lot of other plants as well. I don't think there will be too many additional roses added unless I remove some that don't thrill me. I also like a fairly tidy garden, so it is difficult for me to plant things without a plan in mind. If you want more plants, you need to be creative in maximizing the amount of space in your yard. I really like the winding path ideas and creating planting spaces in between areas, ie. in between a patio & the house, etc. I also live at the end of road, so I have a long border in my front yard next to a fence. So don't be afraid to use all of your lot lines to their full advantage. If you post a pic of your space, everyone can give suggestions!
    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked HalloBlondie (zone5a) Ontario, Canada
  • Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)

    Mustbenuts, I always love your garden. It is so cute , comfortable, cozy and beautiful. Looks like a picture from garden design magazine.
    Marlorena has very beautiful garden too. Love her ideas of growing roses up and I wish Carol is on (Portlandmystery ) She design her own yard. Small but very beautiful like a fairytale yard. So cute :)
    I have a small garden too but I removed tons of junk , creepers, trees. I don't have a big yard but wish I did. I got kinda lucky that my whole backyard is facing North so I get sun most of the day but I have issues for my front which has so many oak trees and tons of shade. I am still working on backyard before I hit front.
    I also want to moved in 10-15 yrs but thinking about having another mortgage when I am done paying for this one. So, it is like a battle yes we want to move and no we don't because I want to enjoy my life and not to pay anything.
    But my husband do want to buy a cabin in upper peninsula in Michigan and we being snow birds here to FL. But again it is a subject we both can't agree on. So, he tried to bribe me about having a huge yard....lol
    Big yards has different kind of challenges and Sheila is so right. I am studying their yards which give ideas. I am taking my time and searching, googling the right type of roses for me. Trust me I want every single rose here but I can't. I will ran out of space real quick before I know it. Take your time, buy the right roses that YOU love. We both have a lot in common in types of roses from your thread last night I posted. We both have small space, both of us have hot and humid places. We both love fragrance and blooms possibility all year round or in flushes.
    Join a rose society near you. You will see roses and get to smell them. You will get cuttings, you get so much information.
    Yesterday, I went for my meeting. I met a friend there who I gave cuttings. He has Prince and another old DA rose called something Hamilton. I can't remember the name. Since I am bad in cuttings he will grow some for me and give me.
    Sorry I wrote such a long , long comment but it is just suggestions so you know I am speaking from my heart.
    This where I am going to next month if I did not join a rose society ....I will never know about places like that...
    jin

    jin

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)
  • Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)
    Rhonda is very much like me. I love history too. But she has a huge yard like 10 acres. She is also a zone pusher. I can't wait for that day to come. I will post a thread of the 2 gardens I am going to....so it will help us. Humidity is such a challenge and the rain does not help at all. We have a huge challenge in our climate . I am dying to see Rugoses . I can't wait Bec I don't have any...lol
    A garden that exist which I never knew. Kinda over an hour drive. So, I am looking forward to this trip and I am bringing my youngest one with me.
    jin
    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)
  • Kristine LeGault 8a pnw

    I had a very small yard at my manufactured home park I didn't have any lawn and so that gave me many more options . my yard here is much larger and I find it a bigger challenge working with more space and of course more plants to tend and weeds to Pull.

    You can use things that are vertical I use lots of shepherd's hooks with big hanging baskets you can use standard roses that gives you Room underneath to plant . all in all I had hundreds of plants in a very small space.

    We built a really cool shop in the back yard so that gave me lots of angles to work with lots of planter beds surrounding the corners and the very nice secret garden in the back.

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked Kristine LeGault 8a pnw
  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    thank you for the pictures, very inspirational. mustbenuts, your garden is amazing. If I just saw pictures, I would never have thought that you are working with limited space. Everything looks picture perfect.

    Yeah, for me the challenge is to keep everything tidy, and make it looked planned. The backyard is open to the golf course, we do have an iron fence, but no plantings allowed along the back. HOA has a say in everything, and especially in the front yard.

    Also limiting is the sun situation, front is north facing, with large oak trees, so at the best, some parts get part sun. I do have my others loves, camellias, gardenias etc there.

    neighbors are also close by, side yard is barely a walkway and has pool equipment etc. This also introduces shade by the pergola where i'm struggling to get something growing. i will post a layout for ideas.

    I never take out anything i planted!! unless it dies. I need to work on that. i certainly have plants that dont thrill me.


    jin, do update us on what you find. i also decided to be very selective about what I plant next. and thank you very much for your kind post. I will look into the local rose society.



    Sheila, you are right. when we were looking for houses, we did not prioritize a huge yard. Given the amount of time we realistically have, a smaller yard is what we can maintain. Now if I can make it look like the picture you all have posted!!

  • Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)
    I hate HOA for reasons like that. Best of all you have perfect fence for climbers.
    When we bought this house the yard looks big with a pool and basketball court. I have a huge patio , I meant a Huge patio. Before I got into roses it looks fine with buganvillas and a few roses. And I planted Duke of Tuscany Jasmin plant.
    With my new found hobby now the yard looks smaller. I have 1/4 acre of land with a small house. My yard was bigger than my house. Now, I look at it differently.
    I will keep you posted for sure.
    jin
    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)
  • summersrhythm_z6a

    Most of my roses are in a suburb yard which it’s not big, I have packed roses and piled them up Lol Now I am in the process to move some to the country property. If I could do it again, I’d give them rooms to grow.


    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked summersrhythm_z6a
  • toolbelt68

    Years ago we had a backyard that was 25’W x35’L. I also parked a Corvette in that space. Sooo, there was not much room left over. Down each side, about 3 feet from the fence, on both sides, we installed a winding row of vertical 8” high pressure treated boards to form a mini fence. We then planted wild flowers down both sides. An arch was installed at the end of the yard with rose climbers going up and over. Needless to say one could really unwind after a busy day at work by just sitting on the back steps and viewing the flowers.

    My point in this is to say that you don’t need a big yard to have a thing of beauty. I think we are making a big mistake by only having roses in our gardens. Fill in the dead spaces with wild flowers.

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked toolbelt68
  • noseometer...(7A, SZ10, Albuquerque)

    Having gardened in both large properties (42 acres) and small (0.15 acre), I agree that there are pros and cons to both. The thing about a small garden is that you have to be very clear about what you want the most in your garden. Do you want space to entertain and a well designed space for people, or do you want to cram in as many plants as possible? Is it somewhere in between? In my postage stamp garden, I grew mostly smaller plants and a huge variety. The plants were meticulously cared for. In this small garden, not only was I able to be more attentive to neatness, but I noticed that it was needed, as whatever was there was more visible. In my current garden (about 0.35 acre), I grow larger plants, and probably actually much less variety than in the smaller garden. They are less attentively cared for. A forgotten drift of leaves is more easily overlooked. When I was in the tiny garden, I longed for a larger yard to grow more things, but now it is on the edge of what I'm able to care for, and frustrating when I have gone over that line and something has died from inattention. My husband said to me a long time ago (while I was probably whining about having too small a yard): "There are two big disappointments in life: 1) Not having what you want and 2) having what you want." So true in the garden. But I haven't quite learned the lesson yet. Now I want to add a second cherry tree, and a few more varieties of roses, but there isn't room, and I certainly don't have the energy for more high-maintenance plants. There are definite benefits to having a small yard, but I didn't realize it until I had a bigger yard. Go figure.

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked noseometer...(7A, SZ10, Albuquerque)
  • jacqueline9CA

    Rekha - if you could post a picture of your back and front yards, it would give everyone on here a better idea of the space, and they could be more helpful.

    One suggestion I have for shade is hellebores. If you are not familiar with them, when not blooming they are very attractive small mounds of green with very large leaves. They start blooming here (zone 9 in Northern CA) in early January, and keep blooming through March/April - it amazing how long the blooms last. No care at all, except removing last years leaves in late Fall to make room for the new leaves which start emerging then. You can plant one, or a row, or lots. They make babies after they are mature, so you will have a free supply. I cut the blooms and float them in a bowl for a centerpiece. Here are some pictures of mine.

    Jackie







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  • modestgoddess z7 MD

    I live in a row house so my entire property is only 15 feet wide.

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/5310462/my-maryland-rose-garden-2018#n=73



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  • modestgoddess z7 MD

    If you have Netflix check out the show Big dreams Small spaces. Great show for small gardens.

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  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Here is a layout, gives an idea of what I have. Most of the trees, grape vines etc were there when we bought the house. I took out most of the shrubs in the front and planted shade tolerant camellias, gardenias, etc. Along with some evergreens. They are doing fine, more or less. Only the backyard gets full sun. I cannot eat into the lawn.


    The yard has to look somewhat neat. Its It's used for entertaining, its open for all to see from the golfcourse. I would like to add another veggie bed, more Roses, how many can I cram in!! And another fruit tree or two.


  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    I have to smile at a Texan's concept of a 'small' yard. ;-) My whole plot would fit into your driveway, Rekha.

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  • monarda_gw

    I don't have one but I think a solution would be a pergola -- or several.

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  • toolbelt68

    Don’t know if a Pink Dogwood trees grow in the Houston area but if they do then I suggest you plant one in the left upper area of your layout. Since dogwood trees don’t like anything covering their roots you will want to brick in an area for chairs etc before the tree gets large(roots will grow around the bricks). They only have leaves on the outer edges of the canopy and nothing grows under them, except for ferns etc. You will end up with a great area, out of the sun, for just relaxing.

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked toolbelt68
  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Lol floral, that is true! I did not mean to complain at all, we needed, for various reasons, a large house, and we are blessed to have one in a good suburb with good schools. I spend 2 hrs on my commute every day, everything is indeed larger in Texas!


    My only issue is that I have plenty of space in the front that is not usable. Lots of paved area in the back.


    Monarda, there is a large gazebo to the right side of the spa. The area is paved though. There are 2 grape vines that grow like weeds. I am trying to grow climbing roses but they get too much shade from the neighbors trees.


    The are does get some direct sun, but not 6 hrs+


  • K S 8b Seattle

    Try Madame Alfred Carriere for the somewhat-shaded gazebo spot. Be aware that she is vigorous and can get quite large.

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked K S 8b Seattle
  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Summersrythem, there is a large wall or ledge on the side on the pool, no worries on what is planted on the other side.


    MAC is an options, but I was hoping for something not as large, but shade tolerant and fragrant. I am intimidated by the size..

  • Margaret Georgia zone 8

    Modest, which rose is that? It's beautiful.

  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Modest, would you mind posting a few pictures so I can see the space? You have an incredible number of beautiful plants and I would love to see the space.

  • monarda_gw

    The growing space is actually quite limited. I can see why you would want to use containers because of all the paved area. It must be very beautiful, though, with all the camellias and gardenias. I don't think I get more than six hours of direct sun anywhere in my front or back garden, myself (alas for me). Yet I grow quite a lot of roses. Some are fantastic in spring but no where near what they could be with more sun after that. What a shame can't plant roses along the back fence. Well then arches at strategic points?

    Also, for the north side, the hybrid musks are generally shade tolerant (except for Souvenir de la Malmaison). I thought the sun in Houston is so much stronger than that up here. Four hours might be enough for them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    Finally, where you are you could grow teas and the fantastic (once blooming) banskia roses. They do grow large, but what a show! A garden in one plant.
    Anyway, I feel so blessed to have a few yards in which to garden myself in the middle of a huge city. We must enjoy what we have.

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked monarda_gw
  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Monarda,


    Growing space is limited, but I like the large patio, being open to the golf course with all the wildlife that comes with it. Even in the dead of summer, because it is so open, we can actually sit out without baking. And the pool and paved are is quite pretty..


    I also like containers, its it's more intimate and brings everything to eye level.


    I can plant roses around the corners, just not along the whole fence as the yard is not deep enough, and hoa restrictions. I am thinking of adding a bed on the left side shortly. And maybe sneaking in a few roses between the citrus trees and pear tree.


    I will look into the hybrid musks, I can expand our front beds, to an extent...the oaks are there with their shade!


    I dont want to give the impression that I am unhappy, I have a beautiful house in a very nice setting. Most houses have the same amount of yard space, some more, some less. Every day I come home, I am happy and feel blessed to have such a beautiful house and space. I just want to maximize what I have and grow more plants!! Its genetic....my grandfather was an avid gardener, my mom is only happy when around plants..it has to rub off!!


    I just need some inspiration and some ideas which I am getting from this forum and this thread.





  • monarda_gw

    We'll be eagerly awaiting pictures of the results. Good luck!

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked monarda_gw
  • mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9

    If you want more fruit trees, you can plant ones on dwarf root stock in large pots. I had my citrus (and still do) in pots along with fig trees. In your climate, they should do well. Several companies are having sells right now on them, if you are interested. Most of my fruit trees have come from Four Wind Growers and they have good trees available. They are on the net and you can check out their supply. No, I don't work for the company nor do I get compensated for mentioning them. I have grown several berries in pots as well and they do just fine. I push zones a lot and have white alpine strawberries growing in pots in my yard and they do great. I am always cutting them back and the berries are delicious!

    Four Wind Growers

    You have a lovely yard. Much bigger than I thought. I am sure it will be beautiful!

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9
  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Thank you mustbenuts, I went a bit late to the urban harvest tree sale this year and missed out on the citrus trees, was hoping to get a lemon for a planter. Pomegranate is also on my list, I will look into four growers. My locally bought strawberries never did anything much, but I admit, I did not know what I was doing.


    I have been focusing on the front yard for the past couple of years as it was ghastly. Now that looks good, except for adding a bit here and there which I inevitably will do, nothing major to me done.


    Focus in now on the backyard. Thanks for the fruit suggestions, will be looking to add some this fall as I have some prep work to before I can plant.

  • vaporvac

    I'd l.ove to see some Before and Afters of your front yard. It sounds really pretty

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  • modestgoddess z7 MD

    the pink rose is Summer Romance

  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Thanks vapor, I will take pictures when the plants are blooming. My camellias are mostly done for this year. I do like them a lot, except none are fragrant. I put in 3 dwarf gardenias last year and cant wait for them to bloom, see lots of tiny buds!

  • monarda_gw

    Modestgoddess, I also live in a row house. Mine is 20 ft. wide. :)

  • monarda_gw

    One fairly obvious tip I can pass on from having a small garden is to enjoy things while you have them and then give them away when they get too big. Each one you discard (or which dies) is an opportunity to try something else.

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  • Perma n’ Posies/9A FL

    I second modest‘s suggestion of “Big Dreams, Small Gardens.” They talk through the design requirements of a smaller garden, and provide lots of inspiration.

    I might be tempted to put in a row of pillars in front of the iron fence. You could grow roses and other climbers (including edibles!) up them. I love the look of rope or chain swags connecting the pillars, too. It could create some privacy for you on that side.

    What a wonderful space to design around! :-)

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked Perma n’ Posies/9A FL
  • R pnwz8a

    such an interesting thread Rekha!! I hear ya! i belong to the category of people who have a backyard of size 15x20 ft. space in my backyard is out.. i went container gardening way a couple of years back and i am pretty happy about what I have achieved so far. specially when I have to move them for sun:) in my grey Seattle.

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  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Perma, I was thinking of putting up an obelisk in that corner, I think I need HOA permission for that, but should be able to get. The fence has to be replaced, so will look into it once I replace.


    Big Dreams, Small Gardens sounds interesting, I dont have Netflix or something similar though.

  • bayarea_girl

    If you are looking for inspiration for a small rose garden, check out this rooftop Shiuan's rose garden. It is amazing! it is a lot of work, but like everything in life, the greater the effort, the sweeter the reward! Helen



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  • vaporvac

    Oh. I forgot about that video! Ughhh! Too many beautiful gardens!

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  • Amanda Zone10Socal

    I got my pomegranate and fig trees from bay laurel nursery, they have a ton of varieties including smaller ones, plus a few roses. You would have to wait till next year though, they ship in January.

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked Amanda Zone10Socal
  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Oh wow...that video is insane...I could never accomplish anything like that! Amanda, thanks, I will look up the nursery, not in a hurry, next year will be just fine

  • modestgoddess z7 MD

    Pictures of the backyard

    Around 25 ft long and 7 feet deep



    Front yard is 10 x10 ft and slopes



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  • modestgoddess z7 MD

    Backyard in bloom





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  • modestgoddess z7 MD

    Roses shown:

    Summer romance, Bolero, Julia Child, Florentina with geranium Rozanne.

    Soul sister with penstemon Mesa.

    Plum perfect, Poseidon, Munsted wood.

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  • Rekha A 9a Houston area

    Modest, your space looks amazing. Appreciate the pictures, thanks a lot!

  • mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9

    Modest, your garden is just beautiful! I too have a seven foot wide bed in the back but I am not sure of the length. Nice to know there is someone else out there with similar growing (space wise) conditions. Just gorgeous! I would have never have known that you had a small space as well. Thank you Rekha for this thread. It is a delight to hear and see what others are doing with their tiny spaces.

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  • modestgoddess z7 MD

    Big dreams small gardens is a BBC show staring Monty Don so you mimight be able to find it elsewhere

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  • vaporvac

    Modest, thank you for posting those pics of you lovely space, especially the winter ones. One thing to remember is that most everyone has small areas even in a large property..... side yards, areas by the drive or front walkway, and all these ideas really help serve as inspiration for otherwise neglected areas. I have a fair amount of land for being technically within the city limits, but on different levels so each area has to be treated on its own and I'm even planning on separating one area to form a sort of "room". Seeing how you all approach your smaller spaces helps guide my thoughts! Keep 'em coming!; )

  • Perma n’ Posies/9A FL

    Big Dreams, Small Gardens is on Youtube. :-)

    Rekha A 9a Houston area thanked Perma n’ Posies/9A FL
  • mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9

    I think the promos are on Youtube. You have to pay for the Inside/Outside Channel to see them, unfortunately. I have been enjoying Love Your Garden on Youtube. Have your hankies ready for that one!

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