Maximizing Small Spaces: Design Tips for Urban Ecological Gardens

Vego Garden

Living in the big city has its joys: easy access to gastronomic delights, vibrant sights and experiences, and exciting backdrops to share epiphanies. But it can also be lonely and isolating, with a dearth of compassion and understanding. Many gardeners find that there is little space to expand their garden. Yet plant life is tough, able to eke out a fraught existence in ditches and cracks in the sidewalk. Just like they have adapted, urban gardeners have fashioned sustainable ways to build a garden, from rooftops to balconies and shared driveways.

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Tips to Designing Urban Gardens

Urbans gardens can be surprisingly aesthetic and functional. A new study challenges the long-held assumption that agriculture leads to a negative impact on the ecosystem, instead asserting that community gardens and urban farms positively affect biodiversity, human well-being, and local ecosystems. 

Even the smallest of outdoor spaces has the potential to harbor green zones under careful design choices. Often, native plants are planted alongside cultivated non-natives to provide an integrated backdrop, and groundcovers and hardy perennials are tucked between stepping stones and patios. One advantage of a smaller area is that it allows the indecisive gardener to rearrange their garden layout much more easily. As it reasons, the first step is to determine what type of garden you’ll be planting. Vegetable gardeners will seek out raised beds, while for the casual gardener, a windowsill might suffice. 

  1. Choose the Purpose of Your Garden 

The purpose of your garden will determine what kind of design is recommended. Many gardeners will intersperse vegetables with flowers, or look for ways to improve upon the existing layout of previous tenants. Sometimes, a scraggly bush or tree will need to be uprooted, but other times, flowering bushes and perennials are left in place. 

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 Vegetable Gardens: Raised beds, trellises and hanging baskets are ideal for growing vegetables in packed spaces. Reduce the need for frequent watering with self-watering rolling planters, which can be placed inside an apartment or a balcony ledge. Prioritize growing crops you enjoy eating and fast-growing vegetables.  

Relaxation Area: If your garden is characterized primarily by relaxation, then select plants with muted tones and lush greenery. Aromatic herbs such as lavender can foster a calming atmosphere. 

Eye-catching Tropical Display: Some gardeners may opt for a more opulent display. Lucky bamboo is an easy-to-grow plant you can place on the windowsill. Incorporate a whimsical touch with Vego’s solar lights, designed to easily adhere to metal garden beds. 

Herb Garden: Starting an herb garden requires little effort. Herbs can be grown in a variety of containers, from hanging planters to repurposed vintage pots. 

  1. Invest in Raised Garden Beds  

Raised garden beds are a great way to maximize space in an urban garden. With raised beds, there is ample room for plant roots, allowing you to fit more plants into one space by foregoing the straight rows of traditional plantings. Straightforward crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, and brassicas are ideal for garden beds; they tend to perform exceptionally well, producing prolific harvests. In areas with poor, rocky soil – typical of urban areas – raised beds are often the only salient solution to a productive harvest. Lend a sense of depth with Cascading Raised Beds, where multiple types of plants of various heights and soil requirements can coexist together. 

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  1. Start a Garden on Your Balcony   

If you’re forgetful, you’ve likely encountered a neglected houseplant left to wilt. Because it’s hard to stall an irrigation system, balcony gardens require frequent watering. However, with this innovative self-watering rolling planter, avoid the scramble to your balcony while you’re worrying over your plants. This decorative rolling garden bed contains wicking cells that collect excess water and re-distributes over time, alleviating the need to water on a daily basis. Supplement with a variety of barrels, pots, and vases for an eclectic look.   

  1. Reach Higher with Trellises 

Some gardeners choose to grow compact or dwarf varieties, but some plants are naturally suited to trellises. Trellises are commonly used to support indeterminate vining varieties of crops. When plants are grown on trellises, they are less susceptible to pests and disease, as there is more room for air circulation. The fruit is also cleaner, resulting in easier harvesting. Although trellises can be made from a variety of materials, not all of which are durable, this wall trellis is recommended. Its sturdy structure ensures that it will withstand stormy weather and support heavy vegetables. 

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  1. Build Your Own DIY Indoor Greenhouse  

Even though they are frequently overlooked, indoor houseplants can afford the same splendor as outdoor plants. As an attractive way to display their collection of houseplants, some collectors have turned to building DIY greenhouses cabinets. Similar to the Wardian cases of the Victorian era – an early type of terrarium that provided a controlled environment for exotic plants free from industrial pollution – indoor greenhouse cabinets create a safe and beautiful display for a number of indoor plants. During the winter months, when much of the ground lays in desolation, a fun activity to occupy your time is growing microgreens using grow lights. 

  1. Improve Soil Health with Regenerative Compost

Often, the native soil will need to be amended with compost to produce a flourishing soil habitat. Minimize your ecological impact by using regenerative compost, a multi-purpose compost that can be used as soil amendment, topdressing for garden beds, and mulch for seedlings. Alternatively, you can begin composting right within your garden beds. To reduce food waste, start composting your kitchen scraps and leaves with Vego’s in-ground worm composter

  1. Repurpose Shoe Organizer into Hanging Garden 

Many times, hanging gardens often seem intimidating – sleek novelties that require some knowledge of DIY to install. However, it is very easy to repurpose a shoe organizer into a unique and stylish hanging garden, making it ideal for the beginner or cost-conscious gardener. The numerous pouches in the shoe organizer are perfect for growing herbs and shallow-rooted blooms, and set-up does not require extensive DIY skills. Select plants that complement each other for an impressive display. 




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