Right Plant, Right Place….those skinny areas

……..and don’t forget the hardscapes and mulch

I think some of the most interesting places in a yard are the odd shaped areas that you just don’t know what to do with…yet.  Just like in my home, the smallest places are the most fun to decorate.  Take those skinny spots, between houses, or a sidewalk and a house, or maybe in the side yard next to the garage and the neighbor’s fence; some of the most creative ideas come from having to think outside the box and create a wonderful surprise as you round that corner.

The one thing you don’t want to do is plant a large plant in a space with 2 or 3 feet to work with.  That’s just setting yourself up to fail, or at the very least creating a lot of pruning for you in the future.  You know how important it is to choose the right plant for the right place?  Choose a skinny plant for a skinny space.

If there is a tree you just love and want it next to the brick on your home, talk to your nursery expert about a technique called “espaliering”.  This is training a tree to grow flat against a fence or a wall.  I happen to have an espaliered pear tree.  Not only does it grow flat against my fence but it also produces 4 different types of pears.  It’s so cool!  There are some things to learn about caring for plant like this, and that is how to keep up the pruning so you don’t end up with something really strange looking.

“Skyrocket” evergreens are another great evergreen tree that can be planted in skinny places and give you a large bang for your buck.  The “Capital flowering pear” is another columnar growing tree that has beautiful green waxy leaves in the summer that turn a deep red wine color in the fall.  Great tree!  And it is very low maintenance.   ‘Beanpole’ and ‘Flushing’ soft needled yews grow like green tubes and are easy to keep in the 8-foot by 2-foot range with a single annual shearing. They grow in sun or shade down to Zone 4.  ‘Dee Runk’ and ‘Green Tower’ boxwoods are two of the nicest, newest narrow (semi-evergreen in certain areas) boxwoods that maintain a dense growth in the landscape.

And don’t forget the floor; there are a sundry assortment of ground covers and ‘steppables’ to choose from to decorate your skinny space. Not to mention the hardscape material and mulch.

So many ideas, so little time!

1 Comment on Gardening “Skinny”

  1. Sue,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the many ideas and solutions you have posted on your blog. I suffer from intense OCD and it is difficult for me to concentrate on one subject for very long. However, I have found your ideas and details to help me out quite a bit. Thanks,


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