Small-Space Gardening Tips From Sunset

Narrow, small, or odd-shaped yards are fairly common here in San Francisco, where the lots are generally tiny, and yet we've seen so many gorgeous gardens wedged into these little slices of the city. Sunset Magazine, a favorite source for garden advice, has some helpful tips for those looking to make good use of limited outdoor space.

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Sunset recommends being incredibly detailed when planning your small-space garden. Think about exactly what you might like to do in the space, how often you plan to do it, and for how long. Then decide on how much of your garden you need to set aside for hardscaping (like a patio or a built-in bench). Some prefer, for instance, to spend outdoor time knee-deep in garden beds, while others like to lounge with a book, and still others want their outdoor space to serve primarily as an al fresco dining room. Each of these possibilities demands a very different approach to hardscaping.

The Sunset crew also suggests simplifying when it comes to color scheme and plant choices. Small-space gardens that are all over the map with color and foliage might end up feeling cluttered or messy.

The reminder to use vertical space is also welcome. Walls and fences are plantable spaces, and they should be treated as hardscaping as well: think about their inherent aesthetic value, since in a small space they are more prominent than in a large one.

Click here to read the full story and see more small-space garden photos.

Got any small-space gardening tips to share? Feel free to weigh in below.

(Images: Steven Gunther/Sunset)