Most people can walk through tunnels and hallways and over bridges quite comfortably, but hanging out in such a space is a different story. A narrow garden can feel closed-in and uncomfortable, disturbing your enjoyment of the relaxing beauty of nature. Narrow gardens also pose design problems, since it can be easy to make the space too crowded with plantings that would work in a more conventional layout.
Garden Wall Growing
If your narrow garden is walled, get the most out of the space by growing plants right out of the garden wall. Plant vines such as ivy and morning glory at the base of the wall and train them straight up it. Plant air plants, which can grow without soil, directly in crevices of the garden wall to add splashes of color. Plant ferns that can grow in stony environments such as the rusty-back fern in cracks between the rocks in the wall. Hang small potted plants such as herbs from the top to find a little more growing room without taking up more ground space.
Divide the Garden Up
Strangely enough, a small room can feel less claustrophobic than a long, narrow hallway. Professional garden designer Linsey Evans recommends counteracting the closed-in feeling of a shotgun garden by dividing it into rooms. Separate the garden into two or three sections with different themes. Use hardscape elements such as walls, panels and columns or softscape elements such as hedges and clusters of tall ornamental grass to mark borders. Dedicate each section to a different purpose. For example, make one section a flower garden, another a vegetable garden and a third a compost bin and storage area for gardening tools.
Drawing the eye upward can give a narrow garden a more spacious feeling. Plant trees in the garden to give it height. Moderately tall feature trees such as fruit trees and larger strains of Japanese maples will add height to the garden without overwhelming the space.A pergola will also add height, while giving you additional space to grow vines. Skillfully combined with a low bush to make a partial barrier, a pergola can raise the roof on your narrow garden while dividing the space up as in Section 2. A flagpole can also be used to good effect to draw your eyes upward.