Get maximum impact in limited spaces with these compact versions of popular cultivars
Creating a first-class design for a small garden isn’t simply a matter of using fewer plants than usual. The perennials, shrubs and trees upon which you rely for your other designs may look out of scale in small spaces, and they may take up more than their share of square footage, limiting the variety of plants you can include. Standard-sized selections may also need extra maintenance to stay in their allotted space.
Fortunately, plant breeders have recognized the growing trend toward smaller landscapes, and exciting new compact cultivars are hitting the market every year. Some of these introductions owe their smaller stature to shorter-than-normal stems, which means they’re far less likely to require staking and trimming than their full-sized counterparts. Other cultivars have a more restrained growth rate than usual, limiting their height and spread without the need for frequent division or pruning.
Here’s a rundown of some cutting-edge introductions, along with some time-tested cultivars that are a perfect fit for space-challenged gardens.
Perennials have long been popular for adding seasonal color, but today’s homeowners typically don’t have the space or time for extensive perennial borders. You can still incorporate many traditional border perennials in small gardens, though, if you choose the cultivars carefully.
SHADE PETITE PERENNIALS
Shady sites also have their share of space-effective selections: compact perennial cultivars that produce lovely leaves for all-season interest.
In small spaces, standard-sized shrubs can serve the purpose of trees, but you still need small- to medium-sized woody plants to provide a transition between the tallest plants and the low, herbaceous layer.
Some trees you’d typically think of for larger landscapes now are available in smaller sizes, too, giving you interesting options for seasonal interest.
For a complete list of wholesale sources for plants described in this article, go to totallandscape.net/foliage/sources