Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Small Space Gardens Plus Book Reviews and Giveaway

Today I thought I would shake things up a bit and show some ideas for smaller gardens.

In this first garden, the backyard is so small, the lawn is no bigger than an 8'x 10' area rug.

Despite the limited space, these homeowners have managed to create the
prefect outdoor retreat in the heart of a busy downtown core.

Remember spider plants? Doesn't it look stunning in this rusted urn?

No space for one of the ponds that I showed in my last post? Hang a wall fountain instead.

Details count even more in small gardens. This is one of my all-time favourite hanging planters.

A classic. 

This is a tiny courtyard garden with lots of charm.

There is just room enough for a storage shed on one side and a small garden on the other.

I love the way the homeowner has made use of all the space available to her.

Small-Space Container Gardens by Fern Richardson, 
Timber Press, CAD $23.95, US $19.95,

I also have two books on small space gardening to share with you today. The first is Small-Space Container Gardens

Not everyone has a piece of land available to them for gardening. Author Fern Richardson gardens on a small apartment balcony, yet she manages to grow figs, nectarines, herbs and berries. 

In her book, she offers anyone who wants to grow plants creative ways to make use of patios, porches, decks, rooftops and even windowsills. The book addresses the basics like plant and container selection, as well as many of the unique challenges presented by small space gardening like wind and weather extremes. There is even a helpful chapter on troubleshooting disease and pests. 

The Balcony Gardener by Isabelle Palmer. 
CICO Books, CAD $23.95 US $19.95

The second book is the Balcony Gardener by Isabelle Palmer. What do I like best about this book? It is filled with lots of great ideas. 

Birdcage Image from The Balcony Gardener © CICO Books

Take this birdcage planter. Isn't it wonderful? I really want to make one of these!

Another thing I like about this book is the fact that you don't necessarily have to read it cover to cover just to find the information you need to get started. The book's wide range of topics are all clearly identified. There are also handy list of things you need and clear instructions for each of the projects.

 Patio Image from The Balcony Gardener © CICO Books

Topics covered in the Balcony Gardener include: a basic primer on small space gardening, using plants to screen for privacy, small water gardens, getting creative with containers, growing herbs, tomatoes and strawberries as well as...  

 Garden Image from the Balcony Gardener © CICO Books

furnishings and lighting ideas. Many of the projects like the birdcage planter are fun whether you have a small garden or not.

I have a copy of each book to giveaway. If you would like to be included in the draw, please leave a comment below. I will draw one name for each of the two books with the help of some fabulous assistant.

I will leave the contest open for a full week (Closes next Wednesday at 12 pm) and will do a draw early the following week. 

Many thanks to CICO Books and Timber Press for providing the books in this giveaway. Good luck everyone!

I am going to link this post to Holley's monthly book review party. To discover some other really great gardening themed books, be sure to click the link: Roses and Other Gardening Joys.

More Information and Links:

About the Author of Small-Space Container Gardens:
Fern Richardson is the creator of the popular blog Life on a Balcony. A master gardener, an amateur photographer and garden designer, she lives in Long Beach California.

About the Author of The Balcony Gardener:
Isabelle Palmer is an author and the founder of an innovative online company: Her online shop specializes in product ranges for small urban outdoor spaces: balconies, patios, roof-top gardens and terraces.
Isabelle studied art at Chelsea College of Art and Design before getting a degree in economics. Always a keen gardener, she started of her own small space garden and that lead her to believe that others would want to do the same.


  1. The birdcage planter is wonderful, I´d love something like that!

  2. I would love a copy of either the books - my balcony garden isn't quite what I had envisioned and I could use the help. Thanks for this opportunity!

  3. I like the little courtyard, so snug and pretty. It's nice to see photos of small gardens.

  4. Oh, I just love the first garden. I love the way they have made the grass an area rug! And thanks for pointing out the spider plants. I would have missed that detail! That little hanging planter is so unique. Although these may be small gardens, they are definitely big on ideas and inspiration! Thanks so much for linking in!

  5. I love container gardening, would enjoy either of these books to further my experiences. Thank you!

  6. you know I looked at those plants and thought, geez i recognize that. My spider plants aren't nearly so large but now that I've seen what can be done I'm keen to try something similar.

  7. Oh how I love gardening books! Thanks for the sweet giveaway Jennifer!


  8. Oh please enter me, I'd be happy with either one.
    Love your blog.

  9. Delicious photos that I could view and dive into on any given day! Gosh, I love your garden blog!!! You are such an inspiration. Your photography is stunning!
    Yes, please sign me up for the giveaways. Thanks for the best garden photos of the day!

  10. Your website is a beautiful inspiration to creating purposeful outdoor spaces. The hanging wall fountain is a wonderful suggestion. Thanks for the beautiful photography.

  11. They say good things come in small packages and these gardens are a perfect example of that. Sometimes the upkeep on my big yard makes me wish for smaller spaces.

    Absolutely love the feel of the night photo. Can imagine sitting out there with a glass of chardonnay on a warm summer evening like the ones we are experiencing now.

  12. While the first garden with the 8 x 10 grass carpet was lovely, I can't imagine how it would stand up to dogs. Love the great big Spider plant. Great review of the two books.

  13. I love the pictures you have chosen as always. I don't have a balcony but do use a lot of containers and have great fun deciding what plants to put together to give the best effect.

  14. There are some lovely ideas in your post. There have been many times I wish I had a smaller garden - less to take care of, less to worry about. Over the years I came to the conclusion that I had to look at the gardens in smaller sections and that has helped in focusing on my desires and needs for the garden. Great post.

  15. Jennifer girl who would not want one or both of these beautiful books !
    I also love the style of the birdcage planter .. I think I have to visit a flea market or two and see if I can find one .. they are just so beautiful !
    I don't like my areas to look too much like I dragged indoor furniture to the outdoors though .. I want a bit of wild unkempt look that reminds me that I am truly outdoors and in my garden : ) LOL

  16. The first garden shows how a classic garden needn't be size dependent - wonderful.

  17. Those are some lovely garden spaces! Very well done without looking at all contrived, and I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful photography. (And I would love to be included in the drawing!)

  18. Hi, thanks for sharing the books! I love the container garden too,

  19. Both books sounds great. I have a tiny yard and am working to get in gardens and hardscaping to take advantage of the space.

  20. These photos really show how attention to detail really matters - those lovely little tea lights in various jars are such an easy and economical addition, yet they make a world of difference. I had forgotten how much I like seeing spider plants grown outside. Thank you for sharing this.

  21. Wow ~ all of these small space examples are absolutely breath-taking. Goes to show every place can be lovely. I have a smallish garden myself but try to use every inch! New ideas are always welcome. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway ~ both books look like good ones.

  22. What a lovely garden, love those roses as a backdrop to the seating area. I come from a long line of gardeners/farmers and both my children have inherited the gardening gene. I am happy to see it come out in another generation. My son valiantly gardens on a balcony overlooking a busy street. I'm going to get the Balcony Gardener for him.

  23. I find that in a smaller space, it's fun to be creative.

  24. So much attention put into every little detail.
    Delicious photos, I could see myself spending a lot of time there. :)

  25. Great post! I feel like I'm in the pages of a design magazine. No need to enter me in the contest. The bird cage planter is charming.

  26. Small gardens can be so beautiful because the gardner really has to focus. He or she can't be like me running around stuffing plants in willy nilly.

  27. Thank you for the great book recommendations. I have a large yard, but I want to create personal spaces on the deck, porch, and patio. I think these books will provide lots of inspiration.

  28. Beautiful photos and wonderful design ideas!

  29. These look like great books for any gardener, Jennifer. I have lots of space but my garden size is limited by how much energy and stamina I have to dig up more lawn...which means my garden isn't very big:) It's good to remember that size doesn't matter. I love, love that hanging planter with the wise man and the pagoda!

  30. If ever proof were needed that a garden doesn't have to be large to be special.

  31. Little corners with quiet and quality. Beautiful ideas and hard to pick a favorite.

  32. Wow such a gorgeous post! Enjoyed my visit here as always!

  33. Amazing Blog på altan ...

    Tak til deling!

  34. Jennifer, I love the idea of using vertical space. Count me in! :)

  35. A beautiful post about how small gardens can feel like coming home.
    Have a nice day

  36. Any person will surely be relaxed when they have these in their gardens. It will create a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere.

  37. is the spider plant in the urn in a another container first or just planted alone in the urn?

    1. Hi Judy, I don't know for sure, but I would make an educated guess that the spider plant in its own plastic pot/container was inserted into the urn (and was not planted directly).

  38. Yes I remember the spider plants and it does look good in the urn.


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