7. Garden Size: Obviously the smaller the garden space, the less plants you can have in it. This is especially true if you choose to use a large, focal point plant. A small space will look cluttered fast if there is too much diversity. Just think of how your home feels when toys and clothes are strewn all over the place.
8. Color Preferences: Limit your plant choices to 2-3 colors, maybe even only 2-3 different types of plants. If you start by selecting only 3 different plants. You'll probably want at least 3 of each, so that's already 9 plants. Play with positioning them in the space and take it from there. You can always add more.
9. Quantity: How many you will need or want of each plant depends upon the size of the space and the width or spread of the plant. There are two schools of thought about how densely to plant a new garden.
If you want your garden to look mature and full its first year, you will need to space young plants more closely or buy larger plants. You will get an immediate impact, but you will also need to begin dividing sooner.
If you have the patience to allow your garden to fill in slowly, you can leave room for the plants to grow into their new home and fill in temporarily with annuals.
Average Spacing Guidelines
- 6- 12" spread - 2 plants per sq. ft.
- 12 - 24" spread - 1 plant per sq. ft.
- Larger than 24" spread - 1 plant per 2 sq. feet
10. Texture & Form: Unlike color, you will want some variety in texture and form, to give the garden depth. And with only a handful of plants, look for plants with long lasting appeal. Great foliage, perhaps variegated, colored or lacy, and a long season of bloom. You may be able to get away with a sequence of bloom if you include spring bulbs.
There really is no final choice, since gardens are never finished, but try to be as realistic as you can. Sketching it out on graph paper first, can help you to visualize how your garden will look. This may be the best route to go, but many gardens would never get planted if we waited until we felt things were perfect and it can be hard for a new gardener to equate what's on paper with reality. Sometimes you just have to get started. You'll learn as you go.
Making the final choices
Just make sure that most of your plant choices fit the criteria you've outlined and the growing conditions you have to offer. Try not to squeeze in too many different plants and you're small space garden should look and grow just fine.