Clever garden ideas for those with limited space
Jess Miller from Grow it Local.
It turns out you don't need a backyard to have a garden. With a bit of creative thinking you can turn any outdoor space into a garden – even your roof.
Matt Leacy, director of Landart Landscapes, says as long as your roof is in good condition, it's a great space to create a garden.
“If your inner city house doesn't have space for a backyard garden, think vertical and consider creating a rooftop garden,” says Leacy. “Once you get the green light that the structure of the roof is suitable [you can] start planning the style of garden you would like.”
It's important to choose the right sort of plants. If your house is in a sunny area, succulents, grasses and coastal plants are a good option. Those types of plants cope well with the harsh conditions of all-day sun and require little soil and water to grow.
To make your roof even more functional, Leacy suggests using it as a veggie patch. Vegetables like salad greens, cherry tomatoes and zucchini are all good options but Leacy says it's important to use containers so the plant roots don't burrow into the roofing.
If creating a rooftop oasis sounds like a bit too much effort, Grow it Local founder Jess Miller says there is an endless amount of creative ways to plant a garden which uses your small outdoor space to maximum affect. She says although you have to be careful of old paint and rust, you can turn almost anything into a plant pot.
“I grow all of my salad greens and tomatoes in old Weber barbecues. They're great because you can move them around to the right position for sunlight,” says Miller, “and instead of serving salad at barbecues, you can just wheel the Weber over to the table, hand your guests scissors and tell them to help themselves.”
Miller, who has a small courtyard garden herself, says when space is an issue having portable plants is a good idea.
“Anything you can move around is really helpful. If you have an old hat-stand, you can use hand bags and boots [as plant pots]. It's a portable, vertical garden and you can replace things easily.”
Fresh Prince creator Richard Northcott, whose business creates self-watering planter boxes, agrees that vertical gardens are best for small spaces.
“To maximise space, the easiest way is to grow vertically, with beans and things that grow up a lattice,” says Northcott, who has years of experience in the agriculture industry.
“You can't have really deep beds, so you can't grow things like pumpkin or watermelon. Salad greens are best because they can grow in really shallow soil.”
Herbs are also excellent plants, as they require little space and are happy in pots. Growing your own will also save you buying pre-cut herbs at the supermarket. Coriander, flat-leaf parsley, mint and basil are all great options.
Northcott, who has his own potted garden at the front of his apartment, says flowers from the asteraceae family of plants work well in small gardens – both as decorative and functional plants.
“Marigolds and dwarf sunflowers are good. Nasturtiums grow over the side of pots, which looks quite pretty. All these flowers also attract beneficial insects like ladybirds, so they're a good bet to plant with vegetables.”