The secret to making a beautiful and satisfying garden in minutes is simple: Think small.
Tabletop gardens typically combine a shallow container with petite plants or dwarf varieties and, if you like, other pipsqueak features -- a miniature gazebo, pebbled path, and decorative doodads -- to make an enchanting scene that rewards curiosity.
The plants we've chosen, although not all true miniature or dwarf varieties, are diminutive growers that will suit a small garden for at least one growing season. If plants grow too big for the space, simply trim them back. In warm climates, enjoy your container garden outdoors year-round.
Where winters are cold, store the garden in a protected place, such as an insulated garage, when freezing temperatures loom.
See all four of our mini-projects for attainable dwarf landscapes!
Transform a large tray and a collection of small-scale plants into an enchanted landscape. From the teeny-tiny glass house to itty-bitty tools and thimble-size pots, the design works as a study in detail.
Use ground covers to create an astonishingly lush tabletop. Creeping ground covers form a flat, firm surface, while sprawling plants spill over the edges.
In about a month, five 4-inch plants, split up for planting in a pattern, will cover a 21-inch-diameter tabletop.
Escape into a lush and tranquil realm, reminiscent of a forest floor, where mosses flourish and mushrooms sprout.
Designate this textural garden as an ideal place to display a few geological treasures, gathered on a trip or saved for special memories they hold.
Set the planter in a shady spot where the mosses will thrive, given consistent moisture. Set the basin on a tabletop or bring the garden closer to eye level by putting it on a pedestal.
Think of this basket of mints as a multipurpose garden: edible, portable, and even a source of entertainment.
Placed atop a copper tray and wrought-iron stand, it's ready for serving refreshments at your next outdoor get-together. Move the basket to a dining table and use it as a centerpiece or as a dessert tray.
Either way, it helps you serve a little surprise with a touch of elegance, whether you snip the plants for aromatic garnishes in drinks or mince and sprinkle the bits on desserts.
Encourage guests to pinch off and whiff the mints for an uplifting ritual after a meal. Stimulate conversation by guessing the mints' flavors. And if mint isn't your cup of tea, so to speak, you can substitute other sweet-flavor herbs.