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Small gardens and low maintenance plants

Instead of cursing that tiny space masquerading as a garden at the back of the house, why not count your blessings? Small gardens mean low maintenance. Instead of spending every weekend weeding and digging, choose some resilient pot plants, vegetable seedlings, shrubs or herbs and concentrate on stylish and minimalist arrangements.

Small is beautiful

A compact space might rule out those ambitious plans for flower beds, ponds and orchards, but small gardens with low maintenance plants can be elegant and alluring.

Minimum space

Those with a taste for minimalist aesthetics might choose to use their limited space for a zen garden, with an artfully arranged design using sand and pebble features. This is an artistic rather than horticultural endeavour but can create a serene and relaxing space.

For those who want to employ their green-fingered talent, a small space does lend itself to creating a kitchen garden with a self-perpetuating herb supply.

Herbs can be grown from seed and gradually moved into larger pots as they grow. With mint, keeping the herb in a pot can be an advantage as it spreads very aggressively if allowed free rein.

A modest vegetable patch can be prepared if you have a sunny area in the garden, preferably a spot that receives at least 5 hours of sunlight a day. Carrots, squash and courgettes are options. Identify the type of soil in your garden first and use the appropriate fertilisers and manure to create a conducive growing environment.

Beans, peas or even berry bushes can be trained to grow along a wall, taking up little space and offering tasty seasonal crops.

Less is more

Small gardens may be low maintenance but a little planning can be rewarding. Don't clutter the space with too much garden furniture. Instead opt for an elegant bench, preferably with a storage space beneath it. Choose shrubs that are not going to grow out of control and overshadow the whole space.

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