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Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary in a Small Space

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It can be difficult to figure out how to bring the natural beauty and benefits of plants to your home’s exterior when you feel like you don’t have the space. Creating an outdoor sanctuary in a small space demands imagination, strategic design, and a sharp eye for beauty. Whether that outdoor space you have is large or small, there are a variety of ways to elevate that area and create a personal outdoor sanctuary. Here are three things you can use to spice up your outdoor spaces, big and small:

1. Let’s start with our tried and true… potted plants!

Whether you have a large yard or a small apartment balcony, potted plants are your best friend. You can add pops of color with flowers, different decorative grasses, cascading or vining plants, and more. There’s really no limit on what you can do with a pot or multiple pots. 

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Even something as simple as a couple four-inch pots filled with herbs or leafy vegetables for cooking, placed on an outdoor table, can liven up your small balcony. Do you already have some indoor plants that would love the extra humidity and sunshine this summer? You can bring them outdoors for the season to promote extra growth while also saving some money to decorate your outdoor living space.

If you have more space – like on a larger patio or even front door steps and walkways – you can pot small trees and place them around your space to add depth and drama. If you pick a hardier variety, you may not have to worry about them as much as other plants in the fickle Tennessee weather. 

Adding pots of different sizes and colors, filled with varieties of plants, can make your limited outdoor space even more interesting. If you don’t have the space for larger pots, you could instead use plant stands to save space while still adding height and intrigue. 014 Lschneider Gardensofbabylon05152019

And, later in the year, when we transition to fall, you can replace spring and summer varieties with mums, pumpkins and other autumnal favorites. 

Some of our potted plant suggestions: When it comes to potted trees, a dwarf conifer is where it’s at. You can think of them as the little black dress of patio plants because they’re classic, go with everything, and look great year round. Rhododendrons can also be a great choice as they’re also evergreens, and they produce beautiful blooms in the summer.

No space for a tree? We have even more suggestions for that! When it comes to low maintenance flowers, you really can’t go wrong with pansies. They’re sturdy little things that can withstand a light frost, which comes in handy when you live with the unpredictability of a middle TN spring. Coral bells make a great leafy addition to any pot, as they come in different colors and handle temperature fluctuations well. There are also several cascading varieties, like ivies and petunias, that add even more depth to your pots.

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2. Another southern favorite… hanging baskets.

Whether you’re new to Nashville or have lived in the south all your life, you’ll quickly notice the love of hanging plants here. Everything from ferns to flowers occupy these aerial beauties.

When you don’t have ground space for plants, why not look up? Hanging baskets are a great way to save space, and you don’t have to worry about the drainage of a pot. They also add drama to your outdoor spaces (but hopefully without the gossip of your too-chatty neighbor 😉). 

Some of our hanging basket recommendations: There’s nothing quite as classic or simple as a fern. They’re a staple of southern homes in the late spring and throughout summer, and they’re great if your balcony or porch doesn’t get much sunlight. However, if you’re looking for something with more color, you can mix and match just like with potted plants. Some of our favorites include sweet potato vine, geraniums, impatiens, and snapdragons. 

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3. No patio or balcony roofing? Say hello to balcony boxes and window boxes.

Both are great options if you have absolutely no outdoor green space. You can drill them onto your balcony or porch railing or right under your window. (If you rent or lease your property, check with your landlord before drilling into spots like these.) There are also drill-free options with hooks that wrap over and around your railing. You’ll just want to keep an eye on them on extra windy days. You can even build your own box if you want a more unique look, or if you want a fun afternoon project!

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Some of our balcony/window box suggestions: If you want something both beautiful and practical, you can use your balcony box as a small herb garden – think cilantro for your homemade salsa or as a garnish for your taco Tuesday. Not to mention some fresh mint for the mojitos that would pair so well with both your salsa and tacos! Not feeling the herb love but would love to utilize other edible plants? Check out our edible plants blog post here. You can also use our other suggestions from potted plants and hanging baskets when it comes to these boxes (except trees, of course). 

Having limited space outside doesn’t mean you can’t have beautiful outdoor spaces. It just means you might have to be more creative with how you curate those spaces, and we’re all about getting creative here at Gardens of Babylon! So be sure to come see us at the garden center to get the perfect plants for your new outdoor space. Or schedule with one of our designers to have us bring your vision to life!

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3 Comments
  1. Avatar

    Love these ideas!! 😍

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    Thanks for the kind feedback, Dwain! Let us know the landscaping and gardening topics that you’re most interested in and we’ll try to include them.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    What a fantastic guide for transforming small outdoor spaces into lush sanctuaries! I couldn’t agree more with the idea of using potted plants and hanging baskets, they’re absolute game-changers. One additional tip I’ve found incredibly useful is using vertical gardening techniques. You can hang wall planters or create a living wall with a variety of plants, saving even more space while adding a stunning, vertical garden element.

    Thanks,
    Matt

    Reply

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