Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers (Gardening in Small Spaces)

Last month, a dear colleague asked if I had any advice for gardening in small spaces, such as condo decks or small yards. This is a great subject and it’s the perfect time of year to create something beautiful! The meaning behind ‘Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers’ is that these three elements help create lovely gardens that anyone can construct in any space. 

 The first two photos show this ‘thrillers, fillers and spillers’ concept nicely.  Note how in the first photo, the tall unusual plant on the right grabs your attention and is thrilling, there are lots of flowers and plants at different levels that fill in the palate, and there are ‘spillers’ that cascade down from the taller lattice fence and large flower pots.  The only change some people may want to consider is artificial grass, which looks incredibly realistic and is carefree.  The second photo shows another example of the thrilling array of flowers and plants, filled in lushly with many plants adding dimension, and then spillers from the high pot and lower level ivy that spills to the ground.

The next two photos show a new product called Woolly Pockets, which are planters specifically made for plant walls for small spaces.  They are made out of recycled plastics and have a built in vertical irrigation system.  There are many other plant wall products available online.


Have you thought about bamboo on your deck?  Bamboo is tall and lush enough to block out unattractive views, creating a separate space.

I want to inspire people to think outside the box and let their creative juices flow.  Lastly, this photo shows a city condo or apartment deck that has been completely transformed.  The rocks, wood trim and artificial grass change the drab deck to another zen world.

 Even the smallest city space can be transformed into a green respite with inviting warm flowers and natural shades of verdant splendor. I’m curious as to what ideas you’ve implemented to get a little more green into your small space! 

Warm regards,

 Tami Michaels


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Instagram love @tamimichaels