You may not have a big backyard or the area for a large garden, but there are lots of options for a thriving collection of plants, trees, and shrubs in even the smallest space. These general gardening tips will have you enjoying all of the benefits of beautiful plantings no matter how compact your area is.

1. Plan ahead.

While just about any new plant will look great in a pot on your deck or patio it will be a different thing altogether when it grows to its full size. As a general gardening tip, make sure to consider a plant’s mature size when selecting shrubs and potted trees. You won’t want plants to outgrow the pots that you have room for and take over your space. Plants and shrubs that grow too big will overwhelm a small space or need to be removed to make room when they reach their full size. When shopping for trees and shrubs to plant always look at what the mature size will be and consider whether that will work for your environment.

2. Make use of window boxes.

Window boxes that can hang on patio railings are a great way to garden with small size plants, herbs, and flowers without taking up space on the ground. Window boxes are attractive to look at and add visual interest to your space, serving as a great backdrop for any small space. Consider planting flowers like pansies or petunias, try growing a small strawberry patch, or use a window box for starting an herb garden.

3. Heat things up.

Chilies are the perfect plant for small gardens. They’re easy to grow, hardy, and provide an attractive pop of color to any area. Those features are great general gardening tips to consider when selecting plantings for areas with even the most minimal space. Chili plants come in a number of varieties so you can select one that’s visually appealing and provides the right amount of spice for your palette. Chilies grow quickly in pots or window boxes, so you can get the look you want right away. Chilies are a great way to add some kick to your cooking, and a trimming of your plantings make a unique hostess gift or centerpiece if you bring them indoors.

4. Consider grasses.

A good general gardening tip is plantings that are hardy and easy to grow to keep your garden looking great even if you don’t have the greenest thumb. Tall grasses give your small space some vertical dimension which can make your area look more open and spacious. Grasses are quick to grow, require little maintenance, and stay visually pleasing year-round in many climates. Grasses sway nicely in the breeze, adding movement and a softness to any space, giving you the feeling of the great outdoors even in the tightest areas or urban patios.

5. Make an herb garden.

In general, when gardening in small spaces a smart tip is to choose plantings that will thrive in pots, and herbs are one of the best selections. They do very well in even the tiniest containers and are quick and simple to grow. Herbs like mint or rosemary will add a lovely, fresh fragrance to your space and it’s easy to snip some leaves from any herbs to add to your salads, marinades, or cooking. Try basil, thyme, cilantro, or parsley for simple and fresh additions to any small scale garden that you’ll enjoy throughout the spring and summer months, in pots that are easy to move indoors when the weather cools off.

6. Hang it up.

Hanging baskets are a good tip for gardening in small spaces and looking great in general. A hanging basket will free up floor space and draw the eye upward, making your area feel roomier and adding great dimension to the look of your garden. Hanging plants and flowers are easy to change out with the seasons and are a great way to switch things up on your deck or patio area. Opt for herbs, flowers, or try trailing plantings that will cascade over the sides of your baskets for a more rustic, natural look.

7. Grow vertically.

A good general gardening tip for small areas is to choose plants that will grow vertically instead of spreading out horizontally and taking up too much space on the ground level. Try things like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, or grapes that will grow on vines. This will maximize your space and the vines will make a lovely addition to the look and feel of your space. These types of plantings are ideal for smaller scale areas where you want to enjoy a wealth of greenery without taking up too much space.

8. Welcome dwarves.

There are many larger plants, trees, and shrubs that also come in dwarf varieties that are perfect for small spaces. Incorporate some of these dwarf-sized plantings in your small garden to add a visual interest and allow you to enjoy the look you love from their larger siblings in a pint-sized option. In general, some tips for the most popular small gardening choices are dwarf sunflowers, quartz rose verbena, dwarf globe blue spruce, and rockspray cotoneaster.

9. Eat your veggies.

Enjoy a bounty of fresh vegetables by selecting varieties that thrive in small pots. Despite what you might think, you don’t need a large, sprawling garden to grow your favorite vegetables. A good general gardening tip is to choose vegetables that do well in small containers. Radishes, chives, spinach, carrots, lettuces and other microgreens are great options that you can enjoy all spring and summer long, in even the most limited spaces.

10. Rethink your pots.

More and more people are growing gardens in urban spaces or small areas and there are some new and innovative container solutions that allow you to make the most of your yard or patio. There’s a good variety of vertical pots on the market today, including climbing containers or hanging pockets where you can grow a series of plants by using the ground space that only one regular pot would take up. Using this type of container is a great general gardening tip for making the most of a small-scale garden.