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A guide to small space gardens: patios, balconies and windowsills

Speedy Leaf Salad Winter Mix from Suttons

You don’t need a large garden or allotment to grow your own veg, fruit and flowers. In fact, even if you have no garden at all, windowsill and balcony growing options mean you can still enjoy cultivating your own crops. Small space gardens are becoming increasingly common and, with this in mind, here’s our guide on the best way to produce lots of wonderful, healthy produce no matter where you live. 


Windowsill gardening

One of the best ways to grow herbs is indoors on your kitchen windowsill. Warmth and sunshine help with germination and ensure vigorous growth, and growing this way means you’ll always have a plentiful supply of fresh herbs just when you need them.

If you’re looking for windowsill garden ideas, we offer a full range of seeds suitable for windowsill growing, including your favourite culinary herbs, salad leaves, microgreens, tomatoes and peppers. 

Here are some of the best crops to grow on a windowsill:

Patio and balcony gardening

You can grow crops like aubergines on a balcony or patio
Image: Aubergine – F1 Pinstripe from Suttons

If you’ve considered growing fruit and vegetables but worry that you don’t have enough space, balcony or patio gardening offers an excellent opportunity. With the right mix of pots and containers, even a small area can provide a flourishing veg garden. From aromatic herbs to sweet and savoury fruits perfect for containers, your patio or balcony offers a great opportunity to combine a relaxing seating area with a productive grow zone. 

Here are some of the best crops to grow on a patio or balcony: 

Here are some of the best patio plants and flowers to grow on a patio or balcony: 

Square metre gardening

Square metre gardening is a great system for people who are just starting out or have small gardens. This highly organised method involves dividing a raised vegetable bed into nine squares, to achieve a small but intensively planted vegetable plot. Densely planted crops suppress weeds and, as long as you rotate your crops each year, you’ll enjoy a healthy harvest of veg. 

Growing on such a small space involves successional planting and interplanting. Here at Suttons, we offer a handy Vegetable Garden Planner to help you get organised. 

Here are some of the best square metre gardening vegetable seeds

Veg trugs and grow tables

Raised beds come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are a great way to grow flowers and veg in the smallest of spaces. Some types of raised beds also reduce the need for bending and lifting, meaning easier planting and weeding for those with restricted mobility.

The VegTrug raised bed planter offers a stylish way to grow delicious salads and nutritious fresh vegetables on your patio, or in the garden. It creates a productive miniature vegetable patch within a sturdy and attractive raised growing platform. Choose from a variety of decorative colours – the charcoal grey is particularly on trend!

Alternatively, create your own edible or floral garden using the innovative Grow Table. Fill with compost and simply sow your seeds or plant your plugs, then pop on the lid (available separately) to create the ideal growing conditions for your plants.

Space saving planters

Dedicated tomato planters save space and make training the cordons and watering easier
Image: Tomato Success Kit from Suttons

Planters are excellent because they work for every outdoor space. Own a balcony? No problem because you can squeeze one of these in the corner! Decorative planters enhance and maximise your outdoor growing space, while showing off your floral displays. Perfect for small space gardens, most planters are designed for this nowadays!

The Easy-hang Trio Planter is perfect for growing strawberries and other fruit, veg, and herbs on your balcony. A great space saver, simply hook the planters over your railings for an attractive balcony display that’s great for growing crops and flowers. 

If storage is an issue for you, try Vigoroot Pots and Planters. These very handy soft planters are manufactured from a special material which dramatically changes root formation and stops plants becoming ‘pot bound’. Vigoroot pots and planters are reusable and fold flat for easy storage. Suitable for vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruit, they’re made from recycled material – the 40 litre planter is especially suitable for growing potatoes and tomatoes in a confined space.

If the thought of four highly productive tomato plants to a single metre sounds attractive, the Tomato Success Kit is the product for you. Perfect for gardens or greenhouses with little space, these kits include a built-in 1.5m (5′) high support frame and a 2 litre water reservoir. 

Indoor gardening

Indoor micro grow kitchen windowsill
A micro grow light garden helps you to grow salads and herbs all year round
Image: Micro Grow GroFresh Indoor Kitchen Garden from Suttons

Even if you don’t have any outside space at all, you’ll be amazed at what you can grow all year round inside, especially with the help of growing lights. The innovative Elho Light Garden has a special coloured bulb that makes growing herbs and veggies super easy. Just add your own pots, plant the seeds of your choice and watch them spring to life. Alternatively, the Micro Grow Light Garden is great for growing a range of salads indoors, and also doubles as a propagator for getting your early season seeds off to a good start. 

Top tips for small-space gardens

  • Rearrange your patio – include a dedicated growing area for hanging baskets and planters. 
  • Invest in a raised bed – this is basically a veg patch in itself.
  • Window boxes – these make the perfect place to grow soft fruit, flowers, salad leaves and herbs.
  • Vertical gardening – try mounting rows of gutters on a wall or add a trellis to grow things up. Climbing plants and trained fruit trees make full use of your garden walls and fences.
  • Invest in containers – groups of ornamental planters look good and provide a useful place to grow crops.
  • Choose the right plants and flowers for small spaces – opt for varieties that thrive in containers and don’t need much space to grow.

We hope we’ve given you plenty of ideas to help you make the most of your small space garden. Join the Suttons Gardening Club today for regular discounts, timely tips and members-only deals. 

Lead image: Speedy Leaf Salad Winter Mix from Suttons

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5 thoughts on “A guide to small space gardens: patios, balconies and windowsills”

  1. Barry Hughes says:

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks for the helpful tips from your blogs, also from the various videos from Rob, James and the lady from the video above.
    I’ve followed Rob and James, also Peter’s work in the intervening years, who’ve all gone on to other (related) projects.
    However I’ve never seen the aforementioned lady since, seems she made a few videos for Suttons ten years ago then poof she was gone! 😀
    I’d be interested to know if she has any other gardening or planting/seeds related blog or video channel?
    Her name was never listed (unlike the male presenters), so I’ve no idea where I could find her work.

    Many thanks

  2. Katie Brunt says:

    Hi Mark, thank you for your kind comment. We are so please our blog has been helpful to you.
    Best regards,
    The Suttons Team

  3. Mark says:

    What an informative news letter. Thanks you have inspired me a lot.

  4. Katie Brunt says:

    Hi Ellen, thank you very much for your kind words and I am so pleased you enjoyed the small space blog. It’s really great to hear it has been useful to you.
    Best regards,
    The Suttons Team

  5. Ellen Kelly says:

    The Small Spaces gardening blog is one of the most useful sections I’ve read on the topic. It is so clear and the suggested plants and herbs for each kind of space are especially helpful.
    Thank so much to the member of Sutton’s staff who wrote it.

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