Want to add a bit of greenery outside your home, but don’t have the time or space for a full-blown garden? A small-but-mighty pocket garden may be the solution. Here’s what to know about pocket gardens, including how to make your own.
What is a pocket garden?
The defining characteristic of pocket gardens is that they’re planted in small unexpected and underutilized areas that otherwise remain bare. And while pocket gardens are current trend in landscaping, it’s not a new technique: Generations of gardeners have planted them to liven up outdoor spaces with some colour and texture.
Where to make a pocket garden
- Deep, wide cracks in pavement or between paver stones
- The edges of a patio
- Gaps between or alongside steps
- In the patch of ground where a large tree has been removed
- Inside a hollow tree stump or decomposing log
- Corners or asymmetrical areas surrounding a patio
- The narrow strip between a driveway and a house
Don’t have a patch of soil to work with? It’s also possible to create pocket gardens in containers and hanging planters and putting them in open spots in your yard or balcony.
What to plant in a pocket garden
As far as what to plant in a pocket garden, many of the same rules for traditional gardens apply — like considering the climate, the amount of sunlight the area gets during the day, and whether it’s direct or indirect. And don’t forget to factor in water: Does the location of your pocket garden tend to be where water pools when it rains? Is it in the shade and largely sheltered from precipitation?
For the most part, people tend to prefer low-maintenance pocket gardens, and select plants accordingly. Your best bet is to opt for low-need plants that can keep themselves alive in your climate without much help from you, like:
- Alpine plants
- Some grasses
- Certain herbs (like mint)
- Succulents (depending on the climate)
- Native wildflowers and/or other pollinator plants
As far as how to design your pocket garden, it’s ultimately up to you. Some people use these spaces to add contrasting pops of colour to their yard, while others simply want something green.
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