The Small Space Garden is tucked behind the Fairlington Community Center at 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, VA 22206, in the gated alcove closest to the driveway from Utah St.
The Small Space Garden focuses on plants appropriate to small areas, like patios, containers, and balconies. Visitors will see vegetables, fruit, and herbs growing intermixed with ornamental plants in beds on the ground, in two raised beds, in containers, and up fences and trellises. The garden also showcases native trees, shrubs, and plants that work in small spaces. Arlington and Alexandria neighborhoods include mostly nonnative species that provide little to no support to birds, insects, and other wildlife. This garden offers some of the many alternative native species for consideration.
There are native fruit trees—pawpaw (Asimina triloba) and downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea); the latter blooms early in the spring before producing fruit in early summer. A brown turkey fig tree (Ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey’) is fanned along a fence. Strawberry plants in beds provide an attractive ground cover even after blooming and fruiting. Cooler weather vegetables are planted in the fall, and hoops and row cover demonstrate how to extend the growing season.
The garden incorporates multiple light conditions—shade, part shade, part sun, and sun—offering an opportunity to showcase the kinds of plants that work in these varying conditions.
Wide walkways invite strolling. The garden includes art provided by Arlington Community Arts Outdoors at the Fairlington Community Center (FCC). A cistern installed in 2018 captures rainwater from the FCC roof and is used to help water the garden.
During the growing season, garden workdays are scheduled to coincide with the Fairlington Farmers Market, Sundays from 9:00–11 a.m., providing an opportunity for market visitors to tour the Small Space Garden, ask questions, and visit the Extension Master Gardener Plant Clinic hosted at this location.
The Fairlington Community Center is the longtime home of the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Arlington office, which includes Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs) from both Arlington and Alexandria. VCE and EMGs provide educational outreach on gardening. The garden was constructed with the design input of VCE as a site for horticultural training during the FCC renovation in 2007. Learn more about the history of this unique garden here.