Raised beds have two advantages over flat beds. Because they are raised above the level of surrounding ground, they offer rapid drainage even where the native soil drains poorly. And raised beds bring plants closer to eye and hand level for greater enjoyment and easier tending.
The miniature garden is a raised bed on a small scale. It is usually naturalistic and can make a complete landscape in even the tiniest courtyard.
Miniature gardens first became popular as trough gardens, made in an old stone sink or trough. The real thing is now nearly impossible to find—and expensive if you succeed—but troughs can be made of concrete, or a concrete or enamel sink with adequate drainage will substitute, even if it doesn’t look as good.
Along with other suitable plants—saxifrages and dwarf wallflower, for example—you might plant bulbs such as reticulata iris, species cyclamen, crocus, rhodohypoxis, the smaller chionodoxa, grape hyacinth, and the smallest species of allium and daffodil. If you have no space even for a miniature garden, consider adapting the idea to a window box, using small bulbs for a garden to be enjoyed at close range or larger, bolder bulbs to be enjoyed also by passersby.