tiny front garden ideas

(Question)

Hello,
My front is a just 18″ deep and about 10 feet long – it was once just concrete but we have recently removed it and placed a wooden barrier around it. The house is south facing so I am looking for a nice combo of perennials that will do with such little space and full sun. So far there is a euonymus, hosta, clematis, peony, and a hens & chicks growing but there is a space of about 3 feet that I would like to place another perennial.

Also – the plants have been there for 1-2 years and although they are growing they aren’t thriving. the Peony didn’t flower last year and the Euonymus is a bit spindly.

Any suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks!

(Answer)

Congratulations for removing concrete from our precious earth! First, and very important to your garden, is the soil. Your garden needs a very nutritious and deep layer of compost to encourage such beneficial factors as moisture retention, available nutrients and rejuvenated microbe and insect life. Buy the soil from a reputable nursery and be sure it is clumpy and has lots of manure in it.  Start composting your organics and add them periodically to your small garden.  Leaf compost (made from shredded fall leaves) is excellent to add the following year.  As your plants are still relatively new, the soil condition will be the best determinant for a healthy garden. You have already included a variety of plants. The more plants, the more nutrients needed.  As a rule, garden designers recommend fewer plants for small gardens and encourage repetition. You might consider adding two more of a plant that has worked well for you, for example hostas if they have done well. Buy the firm, wavy, waxy leaved varieties which are less susceptible to slug damage. And give them room to spread. Peonies may take several years to bloom and require staking. They are relatively high maintenance but smell divine. Peonies should be planted shallowly- soil should not go up their stems.  I assume the clematis is a shorter variety that wanders among the shrubs. One or two of the same variety to carry the same colour across the 10 feet of garden would be wonderful. Remember they like their roots in shade so plant them behind a plant like a hosta.  Two or three fall blooming plant like Helenium spread though out the garden would be interesting. Choose only one idea as you don’t have room for every plant you will want.  Your garden will be dry during the hot days of summer, so choose plants that do well without extensive watering. Please review the plant list at the following website:

https://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/toronto_public_health/healthy_public_policy/pesticles/files/pdf/gardening_wateruse.pdf