When you don’t have the budget or inclination to do the landscaping projects you really should do, downsize. Downsize with smaller landscapes and smaller plants. Small sized gardens can be used effectively to enhance bland foundations, corners, and entrances as well as add color, fragrance and interest to patios and other sitting areas.
Small gardens use small scale shrubs and perennials. Anchor shrubs should mature around 3 to 4 feet tall and are typically placed in the back 1/3 of the area. Planting one or two evergreen shrubs makes a good base. Colorful small shrubs and shrub-like perennials are other good choices.
Small garden anchor plants:
- Boxwood Winter Gem
- Boxwood Wintergreen
- Nandina Firepower
- Sungold Cypress
- Sunjoy Gold Pillar Barberry
- Bloomerang (reblooming lilac)
- Barberry Royal Burgundy
- Arctic Fire Dogwood
- Clethra Sugartina Crystalina
Karley Rose, Prairie Dropseed, Karl Foerster and Adagio are some of the more striking ornamental grasses that are attractive as single specimens and can be used in lieu shrubs as anchor plants.
Plant perennials of varied heights keeping within 12 to 40 inches tall for added interest. Some of the friendliest and brightest varieties are:
- Lo & Behold Blue Chip Buddleia
- Lavender (Munstead, Hidcote & Kew Red)
- Pineapple Sage
- Walker’s Low Catmint
- Echinacea Day Dream (yellow) & Hot Lava (orangey red)
- Purple Dome Aster
- Heucheras Plum Pudding & Mystic Angel
- Gaillardias ?Arizona Sun & Burgundy
- Monardas Fireball & Blue Stocking
- Veronicas Red Fox & Sunny Border Blue
- Little Spire Russian Sage
Small scale ground covers are the last touch for small gardens.
- Creeping rosemary
- Corsican Mint
- Elfin Thyme
- Red Creeping Thyme
- Blue Star Creeper (Laurentia)
- Big Blue Liriope
- Highland Cream Thyme
Use spreading plants that have a spreading habit to fill in over several years such as:
- Red Drift Rose and Apricot Drift Rose ?
- Beauty Bush Dreamcatcher
- Rudbeckia Autumn Colors
- Moonshine Yarrow & Summer Pastels Yarrow
- Shasta Daisy Crazy Daisy
- Dianthus Firewitch
How to plan a small sized garden for your enjoyment:
- Select at least one small scale shrub to anchor the garden
- Choose 3 or more perennials in varied heights
- Use one variety of groundcover for the front most part
- For even more interest add a butterfly house, bird house or whirligig just off the center point
For more ideas on small sized gardens, visit Greenwood Nursery.