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Espaliered fruit trees is a great way to gain fruit and cover up an unsightly wall | Image source: oregonlive.com

TIME TO READ: 3m

We’re not all blessed with a sprawling backyard with space for entertaining, a pool, play areas and a large bountiful vegetable patch. 

7 ways to create a small productive garden

As more people desire a simpler life, growing some produce at home has become very popular. But, if you don’t have the space for a traditional productive garden, that doesn’t mean you have to shy away from growing fruit and vegetables.

Here are 7 ways you can create a small, yet prosperous, productive garden.

1. Make use of your front garden

Often the front garden is planned to simply give curb appeal. It’s designed to complement the architecture and period of the home, rather than a functional space. Rather than planting box hedges, flowering shrubs and feature trees consider utilising this space for vegetables, herbs and fruit trees.

If you still would like order and a visually attractive garden, consider combining the ornamental plant varieties with edibles. This can help increase your yield by attracting a variety of pollinators thanks to the flowering plants.

2. Dress your entrance

Arrange a collection of pots filled with herbs at your front door. A pair of bay or citrus trees flanking the door can create a visual statement and provide you with edibles to enhance your dishes.

3. Consider your boundaries

Greening your boundary walls and fences is a great way to make them disappear into your garden, creating the illusion of more space. While we tend to opt for hedges, fast-growing screening plants like bamboo and creepers, it’s worth considering edibles instead.

Espaliered fruit trees can be trained to grow flat against a wall and will thrive in sunny spots. You can train them to create a pattern, shapes or to grow up the wall and fully cover the surface. Citrus, figs, apples, stone fruits and pears are just some of the edibles that you could espalier. Just keep in mind, to train them can take a bit of work but the results are well worth it!

4. Look up

Have a pergola over your entertaining area? Why not train and edible grapevine or passionfruit up along your structure? This will not only provide you with beautiful shade of which light can filter through, it will also give you delicious fruit. Most climbing edibles will require plenty of sun, so consider the position of your pergola structure before you plant.

5. Swap the ornamental hedge

Screening out your neighbours or disguising your ugly fence with an ornamental hedge? This can be an effective way to improve the aesthetics of your garden, especially if it is a small space. However, planting an edible screen by using varieties such as olive trees, crab apples or quince will provide you with the dense coverage you desire and delicious produce.

Find out other ways to screen out your neighbours here

6. Think at your feet

If you don’t have much space, planting edible ground covers is a great solution. This can be throughout any garden beds, in between large steepers on a pathway or in the space between garden steps. Some popular herb varieties to use as a ground cover are mint, creeping thyme, creeping rosemary or oregano. You could even try leafy vegetables such as cauliflower or rocket.

7. Create a feature

It’s common to see smaller outdoor spaces use one ornamental tree as a feature in place of large garden beds. If you’re thinking about planting a statement tree in your courtyard, consider planting a fruit tree that can be visually effective whilst providing you fruit. Try a fig tree or an apple or pear.  When choosing a statement fruit tree for your small space there are two rules: 1. choose the one you like to eat, and 2. make sure it’s suitable for your conditions.

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