9 Creative Places to Start Your Next Garden
Gardens need not be confined to the backyard. Here are some other potential places to start a garden this spring.
Depending on which way a building faces, balconies may get enough hours of sun to allow for container gardening. There are plenty of container-friendly varieties of tomatoes, beans and other popular vegetables available at the local garden center. For the less ambitious gardener, many annual flowers do well in smaller pots and require a little less attention than veggies.
2. Front Yards
While front yard gardens are still not allowed in some cities (check your local ordinances), they are making a comeback where they are permitted. Not only do front-yard gardens turn unproductive land into productive land, they encourage a lovely walk through the garden on the way into the house, ensuring your plants are never ignored.
If your area is governed by restrictive bylaws, one alternative is to convert your front lawn into clover lawn, which will improve the soil and attract plenty of bees. Shorter varieties of clover have been bred specifically to encourage this practice.
3. Spare Rooms
When considering adding an indoor garden to the guest bedroom, the room can either be used in its entirety, or an area can be sectioned off with a grow tent. Spare closets can also be lined and converted into ideal garden spaces, with just a few modifications. Indoor gardening has many benefits, especially when it comes to growing exotic or out-of-season plants. Lights, fans, specialized nutrients and watering systems can fully provide plants with everything they need while growing indoors.
Basements provide most of the advantages of gardening in a spare room, with the added advantage of free, subterranean cooling. Much like a cave, basement walls stay cool and can help offset some of the heat from your grow lights. Depending on your area, humidity might be a problem, though, which can be overcome with the right circulation system and dehumidifiers.
Wooden patio roofs, also known as pergolas, are sometimes massive, and many are sturdy enough to act as a trellis for vining plants, such as tomatoes, or even larger fruits like squashes or melons if the fruits are cradled in hanging mesh bags. As an added bonus, the foliage can enhance the shade provided by the pergola or arbor in the summer.
Appropriately sunlit fences or other structures may be used for vertical gardening. Vertical gardens can be constructed using either homemade or store-bought containers, along with some simple drip lines for irrigation. For a variation of this theme, drip lines can be run up trees and down to hanging containers or baskets.
7. Pools & Ponds
For the more ambitious gardener, backyard splash pools and small fishponds are especially well-suited for setting up an outdoor aquaponic garden. Pumping pond water to the top of a series of gravity-fed half barrels filled with lava rock is a simple, effective method of cleaning the pond water, feeding plants and raising fish, all at the same time.
For individuals whose work environments allow it, having a plant or two at work can help alleviate the sting of having to be there. Office plants are an ideal way to improve indoor air quality, and watching the plants develop can give you something to look forward to each day. Low-light houseplants are often well-suited for indoor spaces. On the flipside, if you work in an environment not conducive to plant growth, you may wish to consider your personal well-being.
Rooftop gardens are becoming more popular in business districts and atop residential towers, particularly those that are being marketed as green buildings. These gardens not only help insulate the buildings, but are often ideal locations for solar-powered irrigation.