How to Design a Pocket Garden

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Explore the world of the small with a garden that fits between the stepping-stones, spills from between the cracks in your garden wall or nestles into exposed tree roots. Turn a narrow path that goes nowhere into a garden destination: Design a pocket garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost Makers
  • Flower Bulbs
  • Measuring Tapes
  • Plants
  • Seeds
  • Pencils
  • Graph Papers
  • Survey your property - large or small - to find the perfect pocket. Look for gaps and nooks that will hold at least 1 c. soil in sun or shade.

  • Fill any dead space with a pocket garden. Use cracks in walls, pavement gaps, and the spaces between tree roots, terrace timbers and stepping-stones.

  • Look down that skinny space between the houses and visualize a garden. Stack up rocks and concrete rubble to build a grotto, then plant in it.

  • See a pocket garden as a focal point, or make it a hidden surprise along a garden path or behind a shrub.

  • Decide where to put the pocket, and assess its growing conditions. Add compost to the crevices and make a simple drawing of the planting space.

  • Make your garden drawing a working tool - measure the spaces and plot them on graph paper. Then note where the sun and shade are and mark that as well.

  • Imagine the pocket with plants. Sketch a combination of upright, trailing and flowering plants. Just one of each can make a great start.

  • Check out the smallest plants at the nursery - alpines, dwarf varieties, succulents and small bulbs. If it can grow to maturity in a 4-inch pot, consider it.

  • Use what's there to personalize your design. Plan for color and texture contrasts between your plants and the surfaces that surround the pocket.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use creeping thyme where light foot traffic can crush it and release its scent.
  • Collect sedums along a sunny wall - some trail, others clump and most bloom.

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