21 Creative Garden Ideas for the Smallest Spaces

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated March 23, 2022
A small home with hanging basket plants
Photo: Andrea Davis / Unsplash

Who says small spaces can’t have spectacular gardens?

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It doesn’t take much room to grow a garden—although keeping that garden alive might be a different matter! Regardless of whether you have a green thumb, space doesn’t need to be an issue when it comes to adding pops of green or colorful flowers to your home. Here are 21 creative ideas for gardening with a small space.

1. Use the Stairway

A stairway with potted plants
Photo: Elodie Ozanne / Unsplash

Don’t be afraid to expand your idea of a garden by using concrete pavement and potted plants. Even a narrow walkway with steps has some leverage for placing potted plants either on the sides or on the walkways themselves. 

For an added bonus, use taller stairways for the surface of your garden. Plants will transform these spaces while also standing out through the staggering effect of placing the pots on different levels. Not to mention, your shade-loving plants will be better protected from the sun if placed under a shady stairwell.

2. Vertical Wall Planter

A stacked vertical wall planter
Photo: Michael Jones / EyeEm/ Getty Images

Having a vertical garden is a great way to utilize limited space. It’s easy to have a quaint garden through the innovative use of vertical planter containers. Upcycle an old gutter or galvanized metal container for extra creativity and turn it into a stylish and unique look that any DIY-loving homeowner can pull off. The best part is this little vertical planter takes up about as much room as a door hanger shoe rack.

3. Indoor Vertical Garden Wall

An interior vertical garden wall
Photo: Boris SV / Moment / Getty Images

If you really want to make a statement about your love for gardening, what better way to show off your gardening skills than to create the ultimate feature wall? This indoor vertical garden wall is not for the faint of heart—you’ll have to regularly water the entire wall—but you’ll be sure to impress anyone who comes by for a visit. And, though this garden takes up a lot of surface area on your wall, overall, it only takes up a small amount of space in your home.

4. Sunroom Garden

Sunroom garden with concrete planters
Photo: Krakowgardendesign / Pixabay

Some small spaces, especially townhomes, also come with a small sunroom. This is the perfect space for creating a garden. Sunrooms are ideal for plants that would otherwise be unsuitable for the great outdoors in your region. You can keep plants from freezing in a sunroom or keep plants from overheating in the summer, broadening your selection of plants for the garden of your dreams.

5. Windowsill Planter

Windowsill planter box with yellow flowers
Photo: Donald Giannatti / Unsplash

A charming yet simple way to add a garden to your home is to add a planter box to your windowsill. Windowsill planter boxes keep out pests like deer and rabbits, making them a suitable option for homeowners who’ve lost their fair share of plants to unruly wildlife. And outdoor window planter boxes don’t take up any space in your home or around frequently used perimeters of the house, making them a top choice for smaller spaces.

6. Indoor Pots and Trellises

Indoor living area with potted plants and trellis
Photo: Courtesy of Love & Renovations

Indoor potted plants aren’t just for the dentist or psychiatrist's office. You’ll be amazed at how just a touch of green can polish off even the most forlorn living room. But what makes this look by Love & Renovations that much more charming is the ladder trellis. This simple addition to your indoor garden has a prolific effect on any living space, and all you have to do is prop it against the wall!

7. Use the Rooftop

 Vegetable garden on a rooftop terrace
Photo: Thomas Barrat / Adobe Stock

Sometimes, it’s not about gardening outwards and away from your house but rather upwards. Rooftop planters are a great option for condos and other homes that have a rooftop but limited yard space because the sky is literally the limit. You can use virtually any planter container you want, and if you don’t have a rooftop terrace, you can also just place potted plants straight onto your roof.

8. Wicker Bag Planters

Wicker basket planters outside of a boutique
Photo: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Beachgoers rejoice because chances are you already have a few of these wicker baskets lying around in your storage closets, taking up precious space. Simply pop a few of these baskets out (and maybe dust them off), fill them with soil, and plant some of your favorite plants in them. Then, set them on your porch or along the perimeters of your home for a chic look that goes with that white picket fence cottage aesthetic. 

9. Raised Garden Box

Raised garden box in the yard
Photo: Arjuna Kodisinghe / Adobe Stock

When space is limited, the last thing you want to do is build an unruly garden that takes over your little yard—we mean you, peppermint, thyme, and periwinkles. That’s why a raised garden box is a great front or backyard idea for containing a small herb garden. Weeds are kept to a minimum and your garden won’t spread into your nearby neighbors’ yards.

10. Stacking Garden

House balcony with potted plants
Photo: Bruno Martins / Unsplash

Whether you have trendy succulents, the ever-popular fern, philodendron, or other hanging plants, you can use their dangling features to your advantage in a smaller space. There are a few ways to get the most out of a small hanging garden: stack hanging plants on top of one another on a porch shelf or avoid shelving, which can be bulky, and instead use chains or strings to create an impressive garden tower.

11. Use the Porch

House porch with red and pink flowers
Photo: stux / Pixabay

You might not be using the force when you use the porch, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a powerful effect in doing so! Keeping your garden in porch planter boxes adds stunning colors that enhance the appearance of your house without taking up too much space. And, as with stairs, you can simply build upwards rather than outwards so that your little garden doesn’t overpower your home.

12. Pyramid Gardens

A pyramid raised planter box
Photo: Vaivirga / Adobe Stock

Pyramid planter boxes look like living statues, and you can place them just about anywhere. Their angular shapes allow you to scootch them into nooks and crannies that rectangular or cylindrical planter boxes simply couldn’t do, giving you more room for your plants. You can also buy as many tiers as you want. If you want more plants, go for a five- to seven-tier planter; if you want fewer plants, opt for three or four levels!

13. Hanging Baskets

Basket with flowers hanging on a porch
Photo: Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

This enchanting and easy landscaping idea is at the forefront of many shop entrances in little towns for a reason—it takes up less room. So, take one from the books of experienced shop owners looking for ways to sport a fashionable garden by hanging a garden basket of your own in your front door area, gutters, or porch. 

14. Use Exterior Walls

Potted plants mounted on an exterior wall
Photo: Jon Tyson / Unsplash

While you might not want to hang heavy plants on concrete or brick walls, small potted plants can add a surprising touch to exterior walls that need a little bling. You won’t have to worry about getting water on the floor with this option, as any water that drips down will simply go to watering the grass below, making it a win-win for plants.

15. Balcony Garden

Balcony with various potted plants
Photo: cocoparisienne / Pixabay

If your small space has a balcony, then you have a good excuse to load up those plants and turn your balcony into a garden oasis. Balconies—especially ones that are just for show—offer the perfect opportunity to show off your green thumb to passersby while giving your home an inviting look that puts a smile on your face every time you head home from an outing. 

16. Herb Garden Kit

 Indoor area with stacked herb garden kit
Photo: Altifarm Enverde / Unsplash

Not all gardens have to be houseplants and perennials (although they totally can be!) Altifarm Enverde takes herb gardening to the next level with an indoor herb station. From vegetables to microgreens to exotic plants that need a little more TLC than typical indoor plants, a garden kit gives you all the tools you need to easily grow plants at home with limited space. 

Put the kit on your kitchen table as an edible centerpiece or stack multiple kits in a tower by the wall as an accent feature to give your house a creative look.

17. Window Shelves

Shelf with potted plants in front of a dining room window
Photo: Courtesy of Love & Renovations

Ah, there’s nothing quite as lovely as the silhouette of rich, green plants in a bright, crisp window. With a crafty shelf and some indoor plants, you can pull off this look by Love & Renovations and bask in the ambiance of a verdant home interior. Best of all, the plants are high up and away from any high-traffic areas in more confined spaces.

18. Microgreen Garden

Closeup of an indoor microgreen garden
Photo: Anirudh Janga/ Unsplash

If space is really limited, growing a microgreen garden may just be the answer to your small space dilemma. Microgreens are, well, micro! As such, they can grow in small containers and require minimal room. As you trim and use up your microgreens, more grow in their place, making this small, little garden a big yielder for yummy greens.

19. Ladder Garden

Garden built into a ladder
Photo: Courtesy of toolboxdivas.com

Don’t let that old ladder sit unused in your garage. For small, single-story homes, a ladder such as the one made by toolboxdivas.com is another creative way to make space for a garden—while also clearing out space from your storage room! Insert some planter boxes on each rung of the ladder and you’ve got yourself a unique, tiered garden bed.

20. Spiral Garden

Spiral garden with bricks
Photo: Mira Drozdowski / Adobe Stock

Get ready, DIYers—the name of this final garden idea for your small space is as fun as it sounds, and it’s easy to do yourself. Spiral gardens are designed in a spiral to make the most out of limited space. You can make them as big or as small as you want since you’re in control of the size of the garden bed. So if you’re hoping to get your hands dirty, get your creative hat on and build one of these compact gardens.

21. Square Foot Garden

Square foot garden bed
Photo: Alix Marina / Adobe Stock

You can actually grow a lot in a little space. The square foot gardening (SFG) method involves using a square foot raised garden box, a metal grid to divide the space, and some seeds to yield garden plants. And it works surprisingly well! Just plop some seeds in each little grid and water it on the regular to have a little—but efficient—garden bed.

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