Small Garden Ideas for Porches, Patios and Urban Settings
If you are living in a city apartment and your outdoor space is restricted to a small patio or plot of land, you might think that growing a garden is out of the question. The yards of your friends in the suburbs are probably something you envy, but the good news is, tiny spaces don’t have to mean giving up the dream of having a tranquil garden to enjoy. With a little planning and some savvy thinking, your plain, concrete patio will be transformed into a perfectly peaceful blooming oasis for all to enjoy.
Starting Small – Herb Gardening
When brand new to small space gardening, one of the best ways to get off to a great start is by planting something simple. A tiny herb garden is a beautiful addition to any patio. These little gems fare well in smaller containers, retain their beauty for a long growing season and fill your air with the fresh scents of basil, mint, parsley and rosemary. Most herbs are quite easy to maintain, so start your garden by thinking about the items you regularly use in recipes, and give growing those a try. Place your containers in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight, and make sure to water regularly for maximum growth.
Use the Height You Have – Hanging Plants
For balconies or patios that are really short on space, hang plants to maximize the area that is available for use. Conventionally made hanging planters are available in many gardening stores, or you can create your own by cutting a coconut in half, leaving it to dry for a few days and drilling holes in the bottom for drainage. You will also need to drill four holes alon all sides to attach rope, wiring or chains for hanging. Petunias, lavender, impatiens and begonias all display beautifully in hanging baskets and add a pop of color to your outdoor space. If your patio is short on sunlight, choose shade loving varieties including ferns, English ivy or periwinkle instead.
Get Funky with It
A small garden is not limited to traditional pots and planters. Get funky with your style by planting flowers, vegetables or ornamental grasses in repurposed items from your house or recycle bin. Everything from a mason jar to a milk jug, unused sink, old boot, wine crate or hat box can be used as a planter. Just keep in mind that most items will have to be modified at least slightly to allow for proper drainage and to ensure that any toxic residue is removed before you plant.
Stacking Plants and Tiered Gardening
If all of your plants simply will not fit on the ground space available to you, stack them upwards to allow for more blooms and the appearance of a larger garden. Hang a shoe organizer from a gutter, the side of your apartment or railing to create a vertical space where you can place small pots. Place an old dresser outside, and open the drawers to give yourself room to plant. Old gutters can also be repurposed to create a vertical garden for flowers, herbs and vegetables. Even a simple planter, hanging on a fence or railing makes a nice addition to your outdoor space.
Kiddy Pool Planters
For city dwellers who are fortunate enough to have a small plot of land to use but don’t want to tear it up to add a formal garden, a kiddy pool makes for a great, inexpensive raised bed. To transform your pool into a garden, drill some holes in the bottom for drainage. Next, add a layer of packing popcorn topped with some landscaping fabric. Atop that, place natural compost mixed with soil that is appropriate for containers. Next, plant your selection of plants or seeds directly in the pool, and wait for them to grow. Soon, you’ll enjoy a rich landscape that isn’t as permanent as a garden planted directly in the earth.
Take it Inside
When spaces are seriously limited and there is no option to grow plants outdoors, move your small garden inside. Set up pots on windowsills near natural sunlight, or start your garden on shelves lit by incandescent or florescent grow lights. Place your plants in potting soil, or learn more about hydroponic gardening, and choose plants that will not get too big for your indoor space. Good choices include the pansy, zinnia, marigold and smaller varieties of roses. Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and dwarf varieties of apples are excellent choices if you are interested in growing fruits and vegetables. Use room temperature water to keep your plants properly hydrated, and plan to add fertilizer regularly since the nutrients your plant received will be limited to what is contained in the pot, and plants use up those nutrients quickly as they grow.
Living in a small space doesn’t have to limit your abilities to garden. Simply change the way you think about growing plants and get creative with container gardening, tiered gardening or making hanging potters into a home for your green friends.