Long, narrow garden beds are really challenging because they are often not wide enough for most plants and are often in areas that do not receive sufficient sun, such as against a house or garage. It is very difficult to find plants that will not spill over a narrow bed into adjacent spaces, such as onto a sidewalk or building. Plants growing onto sidewalks can pose tripping hazards, and plants rubbing against your house or other building could damage paint and/or siding. Those plants require constant pruning to keep them where they belong. Options exist for these difficult garden spaces, however, and they do not all include using plants.
Tall and Skinny Plants
One option for a long, narrow garden bed is to install a trellis in the bed and grow vining plants onto the trellis. This works especially well if you want the bonus of separating outdoor spaces. Another option is to plant a tree or shrub with a narrow growth habit. As long as it has sufficient root space, such as a lawn next to the narrow bed, this option should work well.
Long, narrow beds are suited for annuals and perennials, as long as you chose varieties that match the available sunlight in the planting areas. Low-growing species won't get out of hand. Annuals, however, are higher maintenance if you want to change plants with the seasons. You do not have to stick with flowers, though. Some vegetables, such as peppers and eggplants, stay fairly narrow.
If a planting bed is really narrow and does not receive much sunlight, then plants may not provide a solution. A plethora of decorative rock is available, including a form of landscape glass, which can add color and interest to beds not suitable for plants. With a little creativity, you could make a horizontal mural out of colored rock that would dazzle your neighbors.
Outdoor sculpture is another way to use long, narrow beds. Garden centers may offer decorative wrought-iron or metal one-dimensional sculptures that you can use in those beds. If it is in your budget, you might want to find an artist who can make a custom design for you. To enhance the base under a sculpture and to reduce weeds, add some decorative rock.
- "Sunset Western Garden Book;" Kathleen Norris Brenzel, Editor; 2001
- Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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