Small garden? You’re not alone. With the population growing and available space shrinking, many of us see a small garden as the new standard. In fact around two million British homes don’t have a garden at all, which makes a love of plants and gardening even tougher!
However, whether you’ve got a petite patio area, a bijou balcony or a wee windowsill, you can indulge your green fingers with by taking inspiration from small space gardening ideas.
I’ve put together a moodboard of gardening innovations that I’ve seen happening in urban areas – ones which turn a dull, grey city into a green one that everyone can enjoy. See below for 13 urban gardening trends, and a further 12 ideas that you can use at home!
1. Underground farming
The world’s first underground farm lies below the streets of Clapham, in a former air raid shelter – it’s called Growing Underground!
2. Forested buildings
Forested buildings allow people without large gardens to grow plants on their balconies. This can be facilitated with pre-fixed living wall panels.
3. Corporate communal gardens
Corporate communal gardens create a natural space where workers can convene. It’s good for moral and brain power, and the lush foliage is ideal for mindfulness.
4. Plant tourism
People travel for plants nowadays! Fantastic destinations worldwide are developing – just look at Singapore, Dubai, and more!
5. Motorway central reservation planting
Planting on motorways help to softent he landscape and take away from all that concrete. Not only that, but they help with safety to ensure that drivers can distinguish the road from the central bank, and they provide essential biodiversity to an area that might otherwise be scarce.
6. Guerilla gardening
If the council won’t do it, do it yourself! Create small gardens outside the home and introduce pops of colour to your neighbourhood. You could even grow crops.
7. Living walls
Whether out and about, in an office, or in the home, living walls encourage appreciation for your surroundings. They’re also a great way to reduce air and noise pollution, and make use of otherwise empty vertical surfaces.
8. Retail & shopping
Plants in retail and shopping areas soften the architecture, add interest and create tourism opportunities. Self-irrigation is key in these situations!
9. The High Line
The High Line is a feat of regeneration in the city of New York. This example of world class planting is the highlight of a mixed use space, wandered by tourists and locals alike.
10. Prairie planting
This pioneering gardening style created by Oudolf creates interest with every season. It also allows for lower maintenance!
11. Public toilets
Adding plants to public toilet spaces purifies the air and provides a sense of calm. These spaces are ideal for low light loving plants.
12. Rooftop gardens
Rooftop gardens provide a thoughtful aesthetic for a space that would be otherwise underutilised. These plant choices need careful consideration, as they will likely be in full sun all day and exposed to the elements.
Inspiring urban gardening ideas that you can apply at home
13. Graffiti garden borders
Graffiti gardens are perfect for those who love colour, but hates when it fades in winter! Graffiti garden plants are evergreen, with easy-grow varieties and options for ground cover.
14. Vertical vegetables
Why leave a wall bare when it can be filled with plants? This helps keep your things like fruits and veggies away from ground pests such as slugs. Plus, it saves you backache from harvesting!
This unique concept doubles the interest of your beds. Make vegetables more decorative by intersowing them with complementary colours!
16. The in-between garden
The humble window box needs a refresh! The possibilities are endless and you can add colour and interest to almost any window space.
17. Houseplants as out-plants
18. Plant families
This is a smile idea with a big effect! Make the most of container growing with this ‘jigsaw garden’ concept.
19. The vege-pod
The Vege-pod is a new invention which allows you to grow vegetables in any location, no matter how small your garden. It’s self-contained with easy irrigation, making it super simple to ‘grow your own’.
20. New build gardens
Gardens in newer houses help new build owners by providing them with a place to start gardening. There are even ‘start a garden’ packs available! This cultivates an interest in what could ultimately have been boring, concrete outdoor spaces.
21. Lasagne planting
This is bulb layer planting! It’s a great way to introduce lots of plants to your garden, while space saving at the same time. It even encourages better displays when the flowers eventually come through.
22. New upright plants
These new concepts have been developed to make a more efficient use of space. They’re super popular with consumers!
23. Decorative fruits and vegetables
These fruits and veggies can be used to decorate your borders! It’s a different method of planting, designed to create year round interest.
Xeriscaping is gardening without the need for regular watering! With clever plant choices and the use of gravel mulch to conserve water, you’ll achieve a low maintenance garden – and lower your water bill!
25. Box alternatives
These sensible alternatives to Box (Buxus) have all the enjoyment of a hedge without the issues of blight and box caterpillar.
What do you think of these small space gardening ideas? Comment below!