Garden Lifestyle

Small-Space Gardening Book Review

If you enjoy reading contributing editor Chris McLaughlin’s weekly posts about vegetable gardening, you’ll love her new book on gardening in small spaces.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Small-Space Gardening is a new book by contributing editor Chris McLaughlin.
Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

I know Chris McLaughlin’s new book is part of The Complete Idiot’s Guide series, but it’s written with smart gardeners in mind.

The tagline for Small-Space Gardening (Alpha Books, 2012, $19.95) is “Reap a bounty of beauty and edibles in every square inch!”

Chris certainly makes that possible.

She helps gardeners of all levels find ways to plant, whether on a shady balcony, in a typical suburban landscape or with no landscape at all. Her book is filled with creative ideas for finding space to garden.

If you have a will to plant a garden, she has a way to help you.

Chris takes readers through all the steps of evaluating the garden space, designing the space, and planting in the tiniest of spaces. The chapter on Container Gardening is a go-to guide for any gardener who needs to think inside the window box.

I especially enjoyed the section on “Small-Space Garden Themes.” This part of the book gives detailed instructions for planting a food and flower border, creating hanging baskets filled with vegetables and using a soil bag as a nifty container.

She even included something I’ve always wanted to try: making a teepee trellis.

In each chapter of her book, she offers tips, pitfalls and “Garden Gospel” that are as entertaining to read as they are loaded with practical gardening information.

In addition to helping gardeners find space to garden, Chris makes recommendations on the fruits, vegetables, and flowers to plant.

Chapter 10, “Fruit in Your Landscape” is especially helpful because she explains how to plant a micro-orchard with specific varieties of columnar apple trees that fit neatly into containers.

As an added bonus, Part 4 includes good gardening practices from building soil to integrated pest management. Chris wants to make sure your small-space garden is a healthy one.

(My review copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Small-Space Gardening” was provided by Alpha Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.)

View Comments


  1. SherylMontgomery 07/21/2021

    I'm a student, and I like to spend my time in the garden. This book is really interesting for those who are fond of plants. To get some free time for my hobby, I use as this resource provides top-notch content on any topic. Including articles on Macbeth and so on. I respect classic literature and read it, but I prefer books about plants.

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