Education  |  April 10th, 2014

Plant for That: Small Spaces | Kinghorn Gardens

Small Space Gardens force us to be purposeful with our plant selections. When space is at a premium we are pushed into maximizing each and every plant in play.

Such intimate gardens are extensions of our homes and can be places of refuge during a lunch break, or a special space for your morning coffee. In many ways we deal more with inches as opposed to feet, and mis-judgements in design are exposed up close. So while working with balconies, terraces, urban gardens, or more traditional neighborhoods, we encourage letting go of established preconceptions of what a traditional garden should be.

Small Spaces Texture

I love plants, these flora desires, or compulsions, interfere with knowing when to stop in plant selection and placement. With small gardens, one must remember to work more with style, scale, and purpose long before falling in love with a particular plant selection. The space needs to be responsive to the user first and foremost. As in the words of Thomas Church, “Gardens are for people” and this is especially true when it comes to small, intimate spaces and our interactions with them.

One thing for certain, when space is at a premium it is even more important that the outside and inside work in sync with one another, not in isolation. It becomes a visual dialogue of what’s possible in making the connection between in and out. That connection is easier made if we surrender the over-riding notion that the space has to be “gardened” in the traditional sense.

Bold design

Terrace Garden

Chicago Botanical Garden


The simpler the concept the more distinctive is the effect. By setting limitations and grouping our plant selections in bold ways, we in essence scale up the decisions we do make, allowing them to read with intention and purpose.

When it comes to Small Spaces… while there certainly is a Plant for That, they must be Purposeful over Plentiful.

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