As winter draws to a close and spring sets in, it’s time to start thinking about your garden. The bitter cold of the winter months is beginning to pass and we are (hopefully) getting more sunny days, if the weather can hold off any more named storms then you can get out your lawn mower and you and your favourite trowel can get to work. Except, how can you keep a garden if you don’t have one? Statistics from The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs show that just over 90% of households have gardens, and that number is expected to fall to 89.5% by 2020. They also found that only 37% of flats had private gardens. Meaning there are over 2 million homes in Britain without private gardens.
Other statistics show that the percentage of new homes built on residential land, including back gardens increased to 25% from 14% in 1997.
Lloyds researched gardening trends and spending, finding two in five homeowners say they are spending more time in the garden today compared with five years ago. With 50% of 25-34 year olds expressing the largest interest in spending money and time on their outdoor spaces.
Most houses have a sizeable plot of garden these days, but for inner-city residents in London, space is at a premium, with two thirds of London’s front gardens covered by surfacing other than vegetation according to the Telegraph. So how do you bring the green back into your life without a proper garden?
Small space gardening ideas
A garden, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is a small enclosed area of land, usually adjoining a building. But it can be any planned space designated to the display, cultivation and enjoyment of plants and nature. It just takes a little imagination to create your own version of a garden environment in the space you have.
Container gardens are on the rise. This is the practice of growing plants in barrels, pots and other vessels. Here are some of the best container garden ideas:
Tea tin planters
Use old tea tins or other recycled decorative pots from your cupboards to fill with soil and small plants/ flowers of your choice. You can place varying coloured tins in your windowsills to make a nice display.
Hanging glass vases
You can pick up a set of hanging glass vases for between £20 and £30. These glass terrariums are perfect for holding small plants and are a great way to utilise space in a flat with no garden. The best plants for these globe gardens are mosses, orchids, ferns and there are lots of other flowering house plants. The great thing about these decorative dangling features are that they can be multipurpose. Simply exchange your plant for tea lights or candles, to set an ambient mood. There are plenty of guides on how to make a DIY version of these glass garden creations. There are many different ways of presenting your terrariums, from string to coat hooks and marine rope as below.
Repurposing old furniture
Finding old or disused furniture like a chest of drawers, chairs and practically anything that can hold plants or soil is an innovative way of keeping a garden in a small space. Upcycling is the new trend for budding green-fingered enthusiasts. It involves taking any piece of furniture or surplus materials and creating them into something of use. Designs have seen leftover pallets turned into fully upholstered sofas and boat hulls into outdoor alcoves. Below is a converted chest of drawers filled with flowers and ferns. The wooden drawers were sanded down and given a pink weathered wood look. The two top drawers were permanently nailed open to hold small pot flowers.
Upcycling garden pieces
Applying this principle to pieces used traditionally outdoors can be a nice spin and add a touch of garden greenery indoors. For example, repurposing wheelbarrows is a nice touch. As below, an original steel wheelbarrow has been converted into a table using timber fence panels. Alternatively, you can repurpose any old wheelbarrow with a bright lick of paint, fill it with soil and plant flowers to create your own miniature garden indoors.
Small space gardening tips:
Vertical garden walls
When capacity is limited, instead of taking up floor space what do all great builders do? Build upwards. The same can work with gardens. To create a vertical garden wall, all you need is a pallet, staple gun, a hammer, planting soil, landscaping paper, plants and a ¼ inch thick board of MDF.
Sand the pallet down to get rid of any rough patches and smooth off the corners. Then nail the MDF board as a backing to the pallet to retain the soil. Staple landscaping paper along all four sides of the pallet. Fill it with soil, then add plants between the gaps in the slats, make sure they are packed in tight to avoid spillage. Water and leave for two weeks, to allow the plants to grow roots horizontally. Then erect your pallet vertically and place wherever you like.
Artificial turf on a balcony
Many flats that do not have access to a private garden often have small balconies. These can be great spaces for a miniature garden. Whether you create a vertical garden wall or a container garden. What can really add the feel of greenery is an artificial layer of grass. These can be picked up for as little as £10 per square metre.
However you choose to design your small space is up to you. Here are just a selection of creative ideas we’ve seen trending this year. And if you’re a first-time buyer of a flat or home, once you’re finished in the garden then you can use these hacks to decorate your interior.