Many public outdoor spaces are landscaped in ways that we small-space gardeners can use as inspiration. Here in Southern California (and I am sure other places as well) it is very common for outdoor shopping centers to landscape with containers, which is a great opportunity for us to steal some ideas.
Here is a photo I took with my cell phone of the planters in a local shopping center:
The above pot demonstrates an idea I learned from Steve Silk. Basically, he suggests using three types of plants in a container: thrillers, spillers and fillers (see this article in Fine Gardening as well). A thriller is a pretty self explanatory; it’s a gorgeous plant that is the focal point of the container. Fillers highlight or compliment the thrillers and fill up the pot so it doesn’t look bare. Spillers cascade over the side of the pot to add interest and soften the edges of the container. The pot above is a bit anemic in the thriller department, but that could be because I caught it on a bad day.
Another great space to check for possible ideas is restaurant patios. Many sidewalk cafes use planters to define their outdoor eating space, and restaurants with larger patios use landscaping to provide privacy to their diners. Both of these issues–defining your space and privacy–are to topics that can plague small-space urban gardeners, and I plan to post about them in the future.
What are your favorite places to look for inspiration?
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