Urban Gardening: All You Need to Know to Get Started

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Urban Gardening: All You Need to Know to Get Started

February 25, 2013
10:06am
Photo by: John Chaffetz

In a series of guest posts, San Francisco's Academy of Art University will lend its landscape architecture knowledge to Garden Design. Its second post provides tips on how to build an urban garden.  

Do you live in an apartment, dorm or a space that when you spread both arms out, opposite walls are being touched? It is very common to have a small living space, especially when you live in an urban area. But that doesn’t mean that you have to give up your garden. Typically these places still have windows or balconies where plants can thrive; you just need to find creative ways to get the most use out of your limited area. The key to urban gardening is functionality. The classic question of how to make the best gardening choices for small spaces is about to be answered by following these urban gardening tips!

Tip 1: How to Make Small Grow Taller

It can be tough to have enough room for your urban garden within your already small space, but it is possible to still make the area seem airy and open. One of the easiest ways to create an open flow and have more room to grow is to think of grow vertically. This will facilitate an unfettered look with the ability for more growth. By placing larger pieces of cinderblock on top of one another, you can create a cubby effect for each of your plants with very little leakage. Repurposing furniture such as a narrow bookcase or shelving, by reinforcing the bottom and sides you can plant mini rows of your favorite plants. These simple urban gardening tips will quickly expand your garden’s potential to the top.

Tip 2: Choose Plants Wisely

Now that there seems to be more garden surface in your living space, you now have to make your space functional. The first step to functional living is to realize that not every plant that you want to grow will be able to thrive in the environment that you have created, and serious plant selection is essential. Consider how much sun your growing area gets during the day and how much time you can commit to you garden. Limit overwatering to help lessen damage potential. Pick the plants that will do the best for the area you can provide for them. Their future is in your hands, literally.

Tip 3: Fire Escape gardening is Great, as Long as You can Still Escape the Fire

When lighting is limited, some people have opted to use their fire escapes to get their plants photosynthesizing. This can be a good use of space, as long as the fire escape can still be used for its original purpose: escaping fires. Check with your building official to ensure that you are not breaking any fires codes and causing an unsafe exiting experience for your neighbors. Just because you have never had to use your fire escape before, doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to use it. Be safe. Be smart. Be green.

By following these three urban gardening tips, your small living space can have a flourishing garden and still be functional!

 

If you love these tips and have an eye for design, start your career in landscape architecture at one of the top design schools today!