Big Ideas for Tiny Gardens

Big Ideas for Tiny Gardens

Retirement living often means downsizing your garden to no more than a balcony. That doesn’t mean there’s not loads of space for flair and creativity. Check out the following ideas to make even the smallest of spaces green and welcoming.

Chain and train

Unless it is being used as a necessary divider, a wall trellis can feel a little heavy in a small space. Instead of training climbers up a trellis, install light lengths of chain against a wall, and allow your plants to grow up them. The chains can be hung vertically, horizontally, or in swags – whatever pattern you choose, your plants will grow to occupy the shape. While you’re at it, use chains to green up the roof of your balcony space, too.

Double the value

When choosing climbers, double the value by growing colourful edible plants such as scarlet runner beans or purple flowering shelling peas. Bring shape to your climbing garden with an apple cucumber or climbing zucchini.

Reflecting abundance

Securely attach a mirror to the wall of your balcony, and you’ll instantly double the visual size of your little garden. Mirrors can often be found at recycling stores for just a few dollars. Disguise the outer edge of the mirror with climbers and trailing plants, and let it do its magic!

Keep it columnar

Just because you’re growing on a balcony, there’s no reason not to enjoy a fruit tree (or two!). Choose columnar apple trees, dwarf peach trees, or dwarf citrus which don’t take up too much space. Container-grown fruit trees can be highly productive when well cared for. They also bring seasonal interest with both flowers and fruit.

Bring in the birds

Birds, especially in urban areas, will welcome a balcony oasis, so be sure to grow organically so there are insects for them to gobble (the birds will keep the insects in balance, so there’s no need to spray). To encourage birds, set out a feeder, and provide a bird bath.

Two sides to every balustrade

A balcony garden has more space than you think, especially when you make use of both sides of the balustrade. Strongly secure sound hanging baskets onto the outer side of the balcony, and fill them with trailing, flowering plants. Clip baskets to the inner side of the balcony, and fill them with easily-reached edibles such as spring onions, herbs, and loose-leaf lettuce.

Vertical grow pouches

Vertical grow pouches can be hung against a wall to increase your growing space. To make the most of grow pouches, fill them with a quality commercial potting mix, keep them damp (not wet), and liquid feed regularly.

Bistro furniture

Where space is at a premium, choose bistro furniture for your outdoor living. This airy, lightweight furniture is compact, and if you choose the right model, it will fold away and be stored under the bed or in a cupboard when not in use. For a French look, choose metal ware. For an earthy forest look, go with stained wood.


Floor surfaces can make or break an outdoor garden. Unless you have pristine tiles, invest in an outdoor rug or artificial grass to bring your little garden to life. Be sure your plants have drip trays to avoid staining flooring.

Bring in the bunting

Bring movement to your balcony garden with a short string of colourful bunting – choose waterproof or canvas fabric if rain will reach it.

A balcony is a beautiful spot at the best of times. When you turn it into a garden space – it becomes a haven for you and your visitors!