Backyard garden designs and ideas often seem to feature an enormous amount of space with endless possibilities. If your Melbourne backyard is closer to the size of a postage stamp, what you really need are very small back garden ideas that fit your space and your landscaping budget.
Landscaping Ideas for Small Backyards
You’ll never get lost in your small backyard, but working with a very small area often limits how many backyard garden designs and ideas you can incorporate. Ask yourself what you want out of your backyard: a living area, an edible garden or flower garden, a water feature–and take into consideration how you’ll store any tools needed for the maintenance of your backyard, too.
Making a very small backyard into a living area
If you have just enough space available to entertain or host a barbecue, your very small backyard can become a cozy gathering place. Choose outdoor furniture carefully: each additional chair or table takes up precious square footage. Using vertical space for shelving can open up storage for keeping barbecue spices and drinks organized.
Landscaping options may be limited in this scenario. Consider climbing plants to add greenery to the space, or shrubbery that tends to grow up rather than out. If you want to lay down patio stones, pavers, or brick over the entire backyard, adding a few sizeable potted plants or hanging planters is an easy-to-maintain alternative to ground planting.
If you’re worried about making the most out of your small backyard, the Melbourne landscaping professionals at Normark can help you design and construct the perfect setup for your small backyard.
Low-maintenance landscaping ideas for small backyards
Good news: your tiny backyard is easy to maintain thanks to its small size! Using native drought-resistant groundcover plants means little to no extra watering on your part. Take it a step further with textural paving, a popular feature that looks striking and requires no watering or pruning. Use succulents and cacti in colorful pots for drought-resistant plants that offer a pop of color.
Most succulents and cacti are hardy plants designed to withstand long periods without water. They can be surprisingly colorful, with unique shapes and textures and a variety of growing habits. Trailing and ground-crawling varieties tend to grow quickly and include many types of Sedum and Euphorbia. Sedums also make great ground covers for steep slopes. Agave and Aloe plants and Opuntia “prickly pear” cacti can grow into large bushy forms.
Want to avoid prickly plants? There are many cacti-like succulents from the Euphorbia genus without spines, although they have a skin-irritating poisonous latex sap. Jade plants can grow into beautiful tree-like or bush-like shapes that may satisfy your desire for greenery without requiring much water.
Cacti and succulents can be propagated with cuttings from the main plant, so you can purchase a few rooted plants and propagate cuttings to fill in your garden very easily! Removing leaves or branches from the “mother plant” rarely requires special tools, and the cuttings are often quick to root on their own.
Very Small Garden Ideas on a Budget
If you want to create a decorative or edible garden on a budget, there are plenty of small backyard garden designs that can give you the plant life you crave with limited space available. One of the most important very small garden ideas is the use of vertical space. You may not be be able to build out, but you can still build up!
Vertical gardening and planters for small backyards
Tiered planters, wall planters, and hanging planters make the best use of your very small backyard’s vertical space. Other great features for small backyard garden designs include fire pits and string lights to add coziness to the space. Using pavers, bricks, stones, or artificial turf is another way to reduce watering needs. Stones and gravel can help retain moisture in the soil after rain or watering, another great feature for handling Melbourne’s hot days!
Vertical gardening is one of the best options for keeping a garden in a very small backyard. Planters can be built up against a wall in the form of shelves or individual pots. You’ll have to consider the size and spacing of the shelves or pots with the mature size of the plants you want to grow. Mixing in trailing and upright plants can create a beautiful effect.
You can also create a truly vertical wall garden with succulents. This involves creating a frame, filling it with soil, securing a screen or other wiring to hold in the soil and plant roots, and then adding fully rooted plants or cuttings.
A tiered planter system takes up more space than a totally vertical system, and can be set up in a variety of shapes and designs to suit your space. From the traditional stair or step-ladder configuration to stacking tower styles, you have a lot of options.
Creating a very small backyard vegetable garden
If you want to grow your own vegetables and herbs and are ready for the care involved in maintaining the soil and everything else, you have a lot of options! Investing in raised garden beds can help reduce back strain and provide natural weed control. You may also want to consider a rainwater tank to collect fresh clean water for irrigation or watering your garden. A compost bin helps you create fertilizer out of waste produce that would otherwise go into the garbage.
Trying to create a veggie garden on a budget? You may want to focus on perennial plants that bloom year after year, or high-yielding, easy-care plants. Consider crop rotation combined with composting to ensure your soil stays rich. You should also consider the harvest time. To have vegetables growing all year round, you’ll need to mix cool season and warm season crops.
With gardening in general, you want to make sure you’re watering and fertilizing efficiently. That’s another reason to use raised container beds or planters for your garden: you know that your water is getting to your plants! Avoid terracotta planters if your veggies require moist soil. However, the water absorption and “breathability” of terracotta planters can benefit cacti and succulents that can rot if they sit in water. Group your plants based on their watering needs and water them deeply less often rather than watering them shallowly more regularly.
Using native and drought-resistant plants
Working with the Melbourne climate is crucial to making very small garden ideas on a budget work for the long-term. Drought-resistant native plants don’t require expensive sprinklers or irrigation systems to thrive. A container garden is easier to irrigate than an entire backyard, and you can set up an efficient drip irrigation system if you’re set on growing plants that require frequent watering.
Landscape consulting and designing for your small backyard garden with Normark can help you get the perfect combination of planting options and materials to produce the garden of your dreams!