Our judges have selected the finalists, now you choose the winners. Vote for the finalists in each of 17 Considered Design Awards categories, on both Gardenista and Remodelista. You can vote once a day in each category, now through August 8.
In the Best Amateur Small Garden category, our five finalists are Ashley Hamilton, Sarah S., Joke de Winter, Bridget, and Susan Nock.
Ashley Hamilton | Edinburgh, Scotland | Evergreen
Design Statement: Measuring in at 1.4 by 9 meters, my north-facing balcony is long, skinny, and shady. It took me a few years to figure out what to do with it, but I knew it had to be green year-round and offer some privacy. There have been a few casualties as far as plants are concerned. Sun-loving herbs and fragranced flowers suffered from the winter winds and lack of light. I got wise and started to embrace shade-tolerant plants. My foxgloves, bluebells, delphiniums, Jacob's ladder, and clematis are quite happy with the sliver of evening sun. My ivy pom-poms are coming along quite nicely; that's my take on urban topiary. I carry my dining chairs out when I fancy eating outdoors. Given how narrow it is, I didn’t want to take up space with unnecessary furniture. To be honest, I’m happier with a picnic on the floor. My marble table is usually topped with all sorts of cuttings in jars of water. Growing from cuttings and seed is my new thing; I feel pretty smug when I get a new plant for free. This year, my bird box hosted a nest of blue tits, my bird feeder is busy, and I’m thinking of building some tenements for bees. Future plans include some herbs, more flowers, more green. Other than that, I’m more than happy with my chilled-out green haven.
Chosen by: Guest judge Isabelle Palmer, who said, "Immediately on viewing this garden, I wanted to explore it. For me that is a key of great design. The ivy seems to be draped over the space in different forms—hanging, twisted, placed—and the bamboo acts as a stage set to really evoke a sense of intrigue."
Above: Long and skinny.
Above: Tea and biscuits on the floor.
Above: Late spring.
Above: Lupin positioned for the evening sun.
Above: A tiny bit of color for the beasties.
Above: Ivy pom-poms in the making.
Sarah S. | New York, NY | Harlem Patio
Design Statement: An urban patio garden.
Chosen by: Isabelle Palmer, who said "This speaks to me of the challenges of overcoming a small space to create a garden. I was instantly intrigued by the quirky design but also by its resemblance to an artistic installation. This garden, with its fall colors of coleus, geraniums, and herbs, uses its space to its fullest. It's functional in covering the window bars, delightful in bringing color and cheering passers-by, and useful in producing herbs for its owner. The different heights of the planters demonstrate the key to creating a miniature garden: utilizing available space."
Above: Coleus, geraniums, and herbs.
Above: The garden in the fall.
Above: Herbs from the garden: mint, chives, basil, rosemary, oregano.
Above: A full view of the patio.
Joke de Winter | Loughborough, England | The Back Yard
Design Statement: A small garden to grow things to brighten up breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. A place to eat or just sit around. A haven for beneficial insects and not so beneficial ones, too. And last but not least, weather permitting, a place to dry the laundry.
Chosen by: Gardenista Editor-in-Chief Michelle Slatalla. "In the best tradition of a kitchen garden, this backyard combines edible and ornamental plants—and some that qualify in both categories—to create a pleasant, rambling space that's as delicious as it is beautiful."
Above: A view from the top.
Above: Digitalis for the bees, and raspberries (in the back) for breakfast.
Above: Dill—great stuffed inside a roast chicken.
Above: Chives: a nice border plant, and the flowers are great in salads, too.
Bridget | Brooklyn, NY | Fire Escape Window Boxes
Design Statement: These images are of my first garden. I recently became interested in gardening/farming after stumbling upon a few blogs and books that speak to the subject matter (The Dirty Life; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; Reading My Tea Leaves). I think it is important to have some understanding of where our food comes from, and what goes into producing it. I am slowly learning the process through my small green space, nestled on our fire escape. While the food grown here is not intended to fully sustain me, it has helped me make smarter decisions about what I'm putting inside my body. I enjoy coming home from work and taking a look to see how the plants have changed from the day before, and dreaming of a day when more space will allow me to expand.
Chosen by: Michelle Slatalla. "This garden is testament to the ingenuity of both the dedicated urban gardener and the dedicated urban squirrel. Happy to see the gardener winning. (Also happy to see you can still use the fire escape for its intended purpose.) Now, if only your neighbors' roofs also had tomatoes growing on them . . . "
Above: I started the seeds in a plastic greenhouse in March. When I transplanted them outside, I quickly learned that the local squirrel population was a fan of everything I had planted. The chicken-wire frame was constructed to protect the plants.
Above: Just-ripened cherry tomatoes.
Above: South view: lots of sunlight; not much space. But the added greenery outside my window makes me quite happy.
Susan Nock | Wellesley, MA | Shady Container Garden
Design Statement: Welcome to a small container garden in a mainly shady corner of our deck. I have planted the containers with a variety of shade-loving perennials, including ferns, masterwort, and ajuga. One large container holds cimicfuga, heuchera, ornamental oregano, and tuberous begonias. A few pots of succulents also live here. The bench is also home to a collection of heart-shaped rocks and lanterns. It is a place to sit and relax.
Chosen by: Isabelle Palmer, who said, "I love the way this space is used to sit and relax. This is an integral aspect to any small space I design, even if it's just a view of a windowsill. I get a sense of the designer's style in the ornaments placed around. The tones in the thoughtful color scheme really complement each other. Nothing jars, and the different greens are so calming. The textures also create a wonderful display and flow."
Above: The shady container garden in a corner of our deck.
Above: The large container is filled with cimicfuga, ornamental oregano, tuberous begonias, and heuchera, and surrounded by pots of masterwort, thyme, and succulents.
Above: A lantern surrounded by a fern and succulents.
Above: A pot of succulents.
Above: A grouping of containers, lanterns, and rocks.
Above: Cimicfuga, ornamental oregano, tuberous begonias, and heuchera.
Click below to vote for your favorite finalist in the Best Amateur Small Garden category—and for the finalists in the six other Gardenista categories. You can vote once a day until August 8th; we'll announce the winners on August 9th.