I am a horticulturist and garden coach who lives close to the CBD of Melbourne. As a result, my garden is not very big, but I have learned over the years to use every bit of space, and am often heard saying to my long-suffering partner, “Of course there is more room for some pots, we haven’t used this spot up against the house yet!”
Despite the space issue (our block is about 429 m2 , and a large part of that is taken up with house and garage, leaving a front area of about 52m2 and a back yard which is basically an oversized courtyard, with some side walkway space either side of the house), I have managed to fit quite a bit in. I have a handful of clients in nearby areas, who have a similar philosophy to myself about the gardens they want to create. They are inner city dwellers who want to a green oasis to come home to and relax in, as well as being able to grow some smaller crops such as herbs and lettuces. Who wants to have to race off to the shop to buy bunches of herbs every time you need a handful of chopped parsley for a recipe, only to have the rest go off in the fridge (or worse, get some pasty green stuff out of a plastic tube)? If you have herbs in the garden and a packet of rice in your pantry you will never go hungry (herb pilaf anyone?).
My approach also includes using plants as part of passive solar design and water conservation wherever possible, as well as using planting opportunities to provide not only food but also habitat for our pollinators. Biodiversity is the key to a healthy robust garden, even in a small space. Alas, you wont see rows of box hedge and standard “Iceberg” roses in my garden designs. I advocate minimal use of herbicides and pesticides, and if they are used then I opt for the ones that do least harm to the environment and other creatures. I have observed that in my own garden, a balance has been achieved over time, where the pests and disease seem to be kept in check by natural predators, and of course, good soil helps to build disease resistance in plants. I even have a family of ghekos that frequently climb up my windows in the warmer months, keeping the mosquito numbers under control – a good barometer as to the health of my mini eco-system.
I hope you will find some of my topics interesting and applicable to your own situation.
Be kind to Mother Nature – do no harm.