Garden Photo of the Day

A Lot of Garden in a Small Space

There’s much to love about growing plants in the Pacific Northwest, no matter what your garden’s size

colorful foliage plants

Today we’re off to the Pacific Northwest to visit Jen Titilah’s garden, a small space filled with lots and lots of beautiful plants.

I’ve always loved plants and the happiness they impart on us. So when we moved to the Pacific Northwest, a gardener’s paradise, I put as many plants as I possibly could into our small garden. Starting with the hardscape, I then planted the bones of the garden (the evergreens), then the perennials. I add seasonality with annuals each spring and summer. I love gardening here!

steps to a front door lined with plantsAt the steps up to the front door, structure is created by lots of evergreen shrubs.

shrubs and small trees in a small garden spaceShrubs and small trees create a lush, full look even in a little urban garden.

narrow garden spaceEven the narrowest of garden spaces can be beautifully planted.

wisteria on a fenceOne of the best ways to use small spaces is to go up with climbing vines. This wisteria (Wisteria sinensis, Zones 5–8) makes an incredible spring display with those long clusters of hanging purple flowers. Do be warned that if you garden in a climate with hot summers, wisteria can be too aggressive for a small garden, and it always needs plenty of pruning to keep it in check.

Japanese maples around a small seating areaJapanese maples (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9) fill a little seating area with brilliant fall color.

foliage with different colors and texturesI love the diversity of colors and textures just from foliage in this planting.

larger planter filled with dark foliage plantsThis 60-inch planter is bolted to a huge blank outdoor wall. It is beautiful, and I love the subtle, complex color palette—very sophisticated and a great way to turn a blank wall into a beautiful feature.

Yellow-leaved bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis ‘Goldheart’ Zones 2–8) steals the scene here. The bright foliage almost seems to glow against the dark greens all around it.

double-flowered orange tulipA double-flowered orange tulip (Tulipa hybrid, Zones 3–8) is complemented perfectly by the reddish new leaves of a Japanese maple.

Anemonella thalictroidesAn exquisite little Anemonella thalictroides ‘Shoaf’s Double Pink’, Zones 4–8. This little wildflower is native to woodlands across the eastern half of North America, but generally it just has five white petals instead of the endless layers of pink in this form.

alleyway filled with plantsJen has made the most of this alleyway with Japanese maples, tulips, and golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9).



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View Comments


  1. blondie3 03/10/2021

    I Love your garden, Love the alley way, Love the Japanese maples, the wisteria is beautiful, the small weeping tree, and I loved that there is so much to look at. What a wonderful use of small space. morning coffee would be a delight At your patio table...thank you for sharing, I just got a weeping pussy willow, so I was happy to see your weeping tree.

    1. welcometomygarden 03/10/2021

      I was so impressed by the colors of the flowers in your hanging trellis. As you say, it is a very sophisticated and impressive display of subtle colors. Bravo!
      Your entire garden is a joy to see; even more pleasure would be to sip a cup of tea at your patio table while surrounded by all that beauty! Thank you for sharing and thank you , Fine Gardening, for your magazine!

    2. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      Thank you! It took years to get everything to look this way, and I enjoy it thoroughly! The weeping tree is a styrax.

  2. Rebeccazone7 03/10/2021

    I had to laugh at the comment about the Wisteria, because I have a fairly large property and have pretty much given up on keeping it in check. It's so beautiful, that it's worth it to me. I love how you've packed so much into such a small space.

    1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      Thanks! It took years! I have to trim the wisteria every Mont. It doesn't seem to mind though.

      1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

        *I trim the wisteria every month.

      2. [email protected] 03/10/2021

        *I trim the wisteria every month. We trim it every *month.

    2. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      *I trim the wisteria every month. We trim it every *month.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 03/10/2021

    Intimate and rich with surprises around each corner!
    I love the scene of being inside your garden gate on the path and the arching branches creating the feeling of an indoor room/ceiling in the garden.
    More power to you for growing much as I enjoy everything about the vine I was worn out by pruning...and that was even when I was 10 years younger LOL!
    But oooh those blooms and the worth it.
    Such an inviting scene with the table and chairs at the backdoor with all the foliage around!

    1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      Thank you much!

  4. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 03/10/2021

    Truly delightful, thanks for sharing!

    1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      You are welcome!

  5. margotnavarre 03/10/2021

    Looks like paradise around the entire house. Do you have a favorite room in your garden ? Beautiful in all the spaces.

    1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      My favorite is the back area. We have landscape lighting and our cats love to play at night. It's their little jungle. I can sit there for hours and drink coffee, read, meditate (try to) , etc.

      1. margotnavarre 03/11/2021

        Fantastic use of living space and enjoying it

  6. user-783091 03/10/2021

    Amazing color!

  7. sheila_schultz 03/10/2021

    I love the intensity of small space gardening and Jen, you have made yours a paradise of texture and color! It's wonderful!

    1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      Thank you!

  8. btucker9675 03/10/2021

    What a charming garden you've created! Something to delight the eye everywhere you look. Thank you for sharing!

    1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      You are welcome!

  9. cheryl_c 03/10/2021

    Jen, your color palette is amazing - you have such an eye for contrasting/complementing colors. What a delight. I'm going to leave this page open all day, so I can keep coming back to enjoy it. Kudos!

    1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      So glad you are enjoying!

  10. carolineyoungwilliams 03/10/2021

    Jen, your garden is very beautiful. Your creative use of space is very impressive. I especially love all of the Japanese Maples and the contrasting colors that you used. Thanks for sharing your garden and your creativity.

    1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      I absolutely love Japanese maples and can't get enough of them! I'm glad you are enjoying!

  11. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/10/2021

    Love all the colors

    1. [email protected] 03/10/2021

      I have to have color!

  12. [email protected] 03/10/2021

    I absolutely love Japanese maples and can't get enough of them! I'm glad you are enjoying!

  13. [email protected] 08/29/2022

    Just a note, the wisteria is a Japanese variety, Wisteria floribunda, which is not invasive like the Chinese Wisteria, Wisteria sinensis. It is easily kept in check by trimming the branches back and off of unwanted areas. However, the plant will grow to 25 feet if left unchecked.

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