The last few years have left us with a lot of time to reflect on our surroundings. We all want to live slightly more sustainable lifestyles, from the things we eat to what we purchase, so what better way to incorporate both practices through your garden activities?
This blog contains 5 tips, and tricks recommended by the green-fingered YouTubers out there, to help you take your gardening game to the next level, no matter what the size or budget!
If you are looking to create some height to your garden/balcony, you can use a variety of materials to create a frame which can then have shelving or pots attached to, creating a vertical flower wall. Simple and most definitely effective.
The recommended video shows various ways in which you can introduce a vertical structure into your garden, regardless of the space available. A trellis container wall would be a great example if you are interested in taking on a DIY project also. It is simple to build and can be made out of recycled materials you may have lying around. If you do need to purchase extras, items such as steel buckets can be picked up cheaply from any home/garden store. The beauty of this is that you have the freedom to decorate them to match whatever theme you have running through your garden.
Certain veggies can also thrive in vertical gardens, of course, you must consider the amount of sunlight and space they require, compared to what you have available. If you are a beginner, greens such as spinach, cabbage and kale are always a great place to start. Click here for more examples of veggies you can grow in a vertical garden.
Searching for sunlight?
Sunlight is one of the most important elements if you’re aiming to grow a variety of plants/veggies. Gardens or balconies which are south facing tend to receive the sun most of the day, making them the best position if you are looking to grow plants which are used to arid conditions.
High walls provide great privacy from those nosey neighbours, but they may not be helping your garden receive the maximum amount of light. If you can, why not create a half wall instead or introduce hedges which will still allow in some light while not compromising your privacy? It is vital to plan and visualise what you’re looking for before getting hands-on as this could hinder the final outcome. A quick sketch or basic ‘floor’ plan could really be the difference between a successful makeover and a counterproductive project which ends up blocking all sunlight.
Although it is true that the more sunlight you have available the better, it is obviously impossible to move the position of your garden, so if you have limited sunlight you should look at introducing plants which do not require large amounts of light. The recommended video explains which plants you should be using in shaded areas, for example including evergreens and plants which have large leaves and few flowers mixed with woodland flowers such as bluebells and cowslips.
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If you are on a budget this tip is a must. Wooden pallets are a great option if you are looking for a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative for your garden. They can be turned into a variety of furniture items including benches and seating areas. Versatile furniture like wooden pallets can also be used to create vertical gardens such as the flower wall previously mentioned.
Fairy lights can also “brighten” up your boundaries without breaking the bank. Depending on the look you wish to achieve they can be placed across the whole length of your boundary or limited to a specific section of the garden with furniture to create a chill-out area. Sectioning your garden in this way, no matter its size, can create the illusion of a bigger area, and a multipurpose space with endless options. ps to develop so many more skills than simply buying the product, and if you get a friend involved also, it can be a great team-building activity.
The video also recommends using the same colour paint for multiple items E.G rear doors and furniture. This will not only save you money, but it will also establish a consistent theme running through your garden and house exterior which can help to create the illusion of a larger area.
Know your boundaries
Whatever your garden/balcony is surrounded by, how you decide to present these boundaries can make all the difference to your garden’s aesthetic. Painting walls or fencing a neutral colour such as white, can help a small garden appear larger than it really is, however, be aware that white walls may need to be touched up regularly. Black is also a great colour, as it can help shabby boundaries blend in, and is a great contrast colour if you are thinking of putting up white trellis. A neutral background will make all the difference once you add bright flowers, as they will pop even more.
Fairy lights can also “brighten” up your boundaries without breaking the bank. Depending on the look you wish to achieve they can be placed across the whole length of your boundary or limited to a specific section of the garden with furniture to create a chill-out area. Sectioning your garden in this way, no matter its size, can create the illusion of a bigger area, and a multipurpose space with endless options.
A top tip for attaching fairy lights to your boundaries without making structural changes would be to use the waterproof command strips, or gardening Velcro strips that can be picked up from most gardening centres. The great thing about these is that you can change up your garden more regularly as nothing is permanently fixed, and you are less likely to annoy your landlord and neighbours with all the drilling!
Potty for pots
Everyone loves to have trees and flowers around their garden, but if you have a courtyard or balcony it is virtually impossible to plant into the ground, especially if you are renting the property and cannot make drastic changes. This is where the beauty of pots comes into play and can really bring life to your outdoor space.
The recommended video has lots of ideas on ways you can turn general household items into quirky planters, ideal for any area. The idea of using items such as glass jars to grow herbs and small flowers in is a perfect space and money saver, and can be combined with the vertical gardening ideas, which demonstrates the versatility of these options depending on the look you are trying to achieve.
One thing to keep in mind if you are going to attempt these DIY planters is that you must ensure that there is sufficient drainage to avoid your plant’s roots rotting. Which is why I would recommend researching the specific requirements of the plant you intend to put into the planter and then altering the design accordingly, to achieve the best results.
If you are going to buy a planter, the general rule is that a large pot requires less water and therefore less maintenance. However, the large the pot the more the price tends to rise, which is why you should keep an eye out for these when sales are on and buy twice. You never know when you may need to replace or add extra pots to your space, and this will ensure you don’t break the bank in the process.
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