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  • Cindy Dole

No Yard No Problem – 30 Ways to Garden Anywhere

Just because you live in an apartment with a balcony, or your house has little to no yard, doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden. Make that a GREAT garden! Size doesn’t matter because with some creativity, you can transform any small outdoor space into a lush, relaxing, and gorgeous place to be surrounded by nature. It’s your spot to unplug, recharge, entertain and maybe even grab some fresh fruit, veggies or herbs! Your garden may be small in size, but the look and rewards will be huge. Here are 30 ways to garden anywhere!

Living Walls Gardens aren’t limited to horizontal lawns, yards and shrubs. Think vertical gardening and grow what you love on your walls. It opens up a whole new world and creates a feeling of being in a rainforest or garden paradise. Look at your walls as your garden bed just waiting to come alive and add more living walls using clever plant containers you hang, stand or mount. You see it in restaurants, hotels, office buildings. The sky is the limit with plant choices; Edibles, succulents, perennials, tropical plants. As long as you have the right amount of sunlight and plan for drainage and watering you can go wild with walls.

Try these easy eye catching ways to build your living wall:

  • Hang a pocket system. There are a number of canvas even metal plant pocket holders you can buy or make your ow by converting a hanging shoe organizer into a wall system. Just and fill the pockets with soil and plants. Make sure to poke a drainage hole in each pocket. (make/photo)

  • Stack wooden boxes. Secure a series of wooden planters, or wooden wine boxes to a wall for “bookcase” look of herbs, edibles, annuals, you name it. ( shutter)

  • Rain gutters. This becomes a floating wall and is perfect for growing herbs or succulents because of the shallow roots. Drill drainage holes and use hooks and chains to hang. For artistic punch, try making a mobile effect by hanging a group of gutters tiered a foot apart on top of each other.(make/photo)

  • Framed plant art. Decorate your walls with living art. There are kits you can buy to frame your plants or if you are crafty, do-it-yourself. Here is my frame of succulents I built using a gold picture frame, wooden box backing to hold the soil and chicken wire to brace the tiny desert plants. Chopsticks work great as a tool to put the plants in place and mist weekly. ( mine/photo on file)

  • Ladder or leaning bookshelf. Remember your small or no space garden is a room of its own. Treat it like a study and take a leaning bookshelf or a ladder and paint it to hold plants. Stack and hang pots of plants on the steps. You can even mount the ladder to the wall with plants. (shutter)

  • Plant partitions. Whether you want privacy or the feeling of a separate lounging area, like your living room, you can create a partition, only this one is covered in plants. Use a trellis and potted vine secured with cement in concrete blocks for a cozy outdoor room divider. (mine/photo deck)

  • Hooks to hang plants. Make a fence, a railing, a balcony, a fire escape, come to life and hang a series of potted plants hung with decorative metal brackets or hooks you find at hardware or home improvement stores. Depending on sunlight this could be an edible garden, or all flowers or succulents. (make/photo)

Living Furniture and Living Furnishings

Once you start turning furniture and furnishings into your garden display, you won’t want to stop. Show your personality and give an old bench some love by converting it into an unexpected container garden. It’s also great when your living furniture can work double duty for you and now your table not only comes to life, but is the perfect spot for your coffee or wine, and maybe pay tribute to a loved one. Go through your garage, and keep your eyes peeled at yard sales.

Here are ideas for furniture or furnishings as plant containers for your small no garden space:

  • A table garden. A trip to the glass store is all you need to have a thick piece of glass cut to size and ask them to cut out a hole in the center. Use a large concrete plant container as your table base for your plant and set the glass on top. The plant pops through glass hole, giving you ample room to use the rest as a table. (make/photo)

  • Dresser garden. Turn a dresser or just some of the drawers into an overflowing garden. Paint the dresser, drill some drainage holes, line the drawers with landscape fabric and garden away! (stsock)

  • Chair or bench garden. Make a chair or garden bench your garden planter opportunity. Pop the seat out or add a shelf on top of it. Paint your garden pot and the chair or bench the same color so they look connected. ( stock)

  • Head statue garden. Find a stone head statue and grow his or her “hair” with creative plants. Succulents, moss and ground covers work well. (stock)

  • Vintage tub garden. Converting an antique clawfoot bath tub into a container garden is very popular and a great way to enjoy a relic along with your plants. They make a great raised vegetable garden as well as a pretty spot for flowers. If your tub is pre-dates 1920, you will want to sand blast or seal the inside to protect your veggie garden from any possible lead paint, unless it’s all rusted off.

  • Tool box garden. This is a great way to use a family heirloom tool box, like this one that belonged to my Dad. Fill it with tiny plants and what a great memory and decoration.

  • Water fountain garden. Not using an old water feature that stands or is perched on a wall. These scream cascading plants for a small space garden. (mine/photo)

  • Birdcage garden. Find a decorative bird cage in craft stores and spray paint. Then use small containers to fit in the base of the cage but hide them with spagham moss. Choose a couple plants that spill downward for drama

  • School desk garden

  • Old wagon garden. Talk about a great salad in a wagon idea – meals on wheels!

Make Growing Food an Art form

You can grow virtually any kind of vegetable, fruit or herb in containers as long as you give them the soil, sun, water and fertilizer they need. Growers are bringing new varieties of dwarf edibles that are perfect for small space gardening. Since space is a premium, looks for ways to make the food you grow, also work for your outdoor living enjoyment. That means plant these veggies, fruits and herbs in a way that is attractive, gives you more privacy, and makes your small space the perfect place you want to be. Here are some creative ways to grow your edibles:

  • Wooden pallet planter. These are the wooden shipping slabs you see being unloaded at stores for delivery. You can buy the pallets online and at home improvement stores, but you can also get them for free. Visit a new construction site or independent garden and hardware stores and ask them if you can take a couple. Get some smaller pots, and secure them with hose clamps and screws to the pallet. Just lean it against a wall and watch your garden grow.

  • Citrus in containers. Choose the dwarf variety and whether it’s lemons, oranges or kumquats, not only will you enjoy reaching for fresh fruit but the fragrance they deliver. Consider putting casters on the bottom of the pots so if the weather gets freezing you can move the tree inside for a while.

  • Tomatoes on a trellis. Not only does this give added support to your tasty tomatoes, but it can now double as décor, and look great for a number of veggies, like peppers, cucumbers, even melons or berries. Growing upward allows you to plant more in a smaller space.

  • Meal in a box. Create a grouping of vegetables you’d eat in a meal, in a box. Salad in a box. Salsa in a box. Secure the box to a fence, or display on a garden table.

  • Herbs in mason jars. Mason jar madness is everywhere, in a good way. They work great for growing herbs, just make sure you either drill holes in the glass (which many of us don’t like to do), or layer charcoal and pebbles at the base before planting with soil to create drainage and prevent rotting.

  • Edible flowers in hanging baskets. More bang for the buck growing beautiful flowers in baskets. But these flowers you can eat! Great to sprinkle on a salad, in a drink, or add to your ice cube tray for a pretty accent.

It’s a Party of Pots.

When garden space is limited, pots are your friend. We’ve talked about all kinds of innovative choices for containers, but traditional terra cotta pots and those made of stone and other materials are great too. With terra cotta, you can spray paint them in a color, or even use chalk paint to label what you are growing. Remember the designer rule of layering your space. You want pots on the floor, at seating level, on wheels for a mobile garden, and from the ceiling. For that wow factor, display pots in groups of three in different heights but similar or complimentary in color and style. And remember when choosing your plants that three rule also applies in form: a tall plant, a wide plant and a cascading plant. Add all of those options to living walls, living furniture and artistic ideas for edibles and you have one amazing garden anywhere!

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