Not everyone is blessed with a big backyard suitable for rhododendron and herbaceous borders. If you have a flat in town with a small balcony chances are that you won’t invest massively in cultivating your own garden. However, creating a green space needn’t be complicated; with more options than ever for high rise gardening and vertical gardening, a lush urban outdoor area can easily be achieved.
First of all, you need to do your research. If you’re not an experienced gardener (and let’s face it, not many of us townies are), you need to find out what flowers, plants and herbs work for you. The point here is to invest in a couple of herb posts and easy-to- care-for flowers, not to temper with a high maintenance palm tree. You might also want to think about a colour scheme that keeps the space calm; random colours can easily look chaotic and unkempt. Another question to consider is if you have the right tools. Do you need gardening gloves, hand trowel, watering can, stakes etc.? It might also be a good idea to invest in a tool box to keep the clutter to a minimum.
There’s plenty of help to get if you want to set up a green barrier against the city. An easy way to start is to order a ‘ready made’ container garden from The Balcony Gardener. All work is done for you, you just need a space to stack, hang or place the container. Opt for an edible garden, low allergy garden or even an English country garden (obviously in miniature format). Once you get the hang of things you can start buying seed packs, plant them in pretty pots and watch your garden grow. My neighbours grow lettuce, tomatoes and chives on our tiny communal balcony. Strawberries and carrots could be other potential add-ons.
What IKEA did for optimising living space, Wolly Pockets have done for vertical gardening. In clever breathable “Wally” pockets, you can hang flowers, plants or herbs like living paintings, wherever you see fit. Consider a fresh plant wall in your bathroom or herb pockets next to the kitchen sink. This is a great option if you have a French balcony, or maybe no outdoor space at all. The pockets might not look as decorative as ceramic pots, but they do come in different colours and are a real space saver.
Remember that to create that special outdoor space you can also decorate with bird baths, lanterns, bottles and baskets. Depending on the size of the area, there are plenty of ways to jazz up a dull concrete spot, you just need the imagination, inspiration and possibly, the instruction. With so many gardening sites and gardening experts around, this should not be an Everest task.