Case Study: Small Space Container Garden

What is you only have a small paved area to play with? Can you still garden when you have a very limited budget and don’t even have access to an area of soil?

Permaculture provides solutions even for rather unpromising sites. The image above is a case study that demonstrates how we can make the most of even the smallest of spaces.

This case study shows my design for a tiny 5m x 3m space in Birmingham, England. The plan shows the garden orientated with north at the top of the image. Taking into account the sun’s movement and shade cast during the day and throughout the year, I have come up with this plan to help make the most of the space. 

It is surrounded by high fencing to the north, west and south, and the wall of the home and a short corridor to the back door of the property to the east. The entire area has old, uneven paving slabs, with a step up to a slightly higher raised area at the western end of the space.

The client approached me because she had got into container gardening during lockdown, and wanted some help to decide where to place planters. We agreed that I would expand on this concept, and create a permaculture plan for the site that would allow it to be used to the fullest.

I designed a space where food could be grown year round, with a polytunnel structure and tiny greenhouse/potting shed. I also developed this design with aesthetics in mind. For each of the growing areas, I put together notes on plants that would do well in the conditions each will provide.

Another consideration over and above the size and environmental constraints of the site was the fact that the client has four children aged 2, 7, 11 and 13. I realised that with the diverse ages of those who will be using the space, flexibility would be required. And with the clients limited budget, reclaimed materials and a DIY approach would be essential.

The client mentioned that they would also like to have barbecues, so I suggested that she create the pit at the centre of the space, shown above, which could also be covered with a wood pallet lid and used as casual seating when not in use.

Edging for raised beds around this pit could also double up as supports for bench seating for the family, used flexibly around their use for plants.

If you have a tiny space, even if you are renting, I can create a permaculture design that will allow you to make the most of it. If you need some help with your small space, please do get in touch.

I can offer competitive prices, and will consider applications for lower price designs if you are unwaged or on a low wage. Just let me know when you get in touch what your circumstances are and I will see what I can do.

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