When most people think of gardening, they think of, well, gardens! Large, beautiful spaces filled with plants, layered with natural features, stone, water, and soil. But for those of us who live in cities and in dense, populated areas, large garden spaces are a rarity, sunlight is a commodity, and upkeep is significant. Which is why we encourage you to expand your horizons and grow a garden anywhere!
- 1 Grow a Garden Anywhere!
- 2 1. On a Graffiti Wall
- 3 2. In the Driveway
- 4 3. Over a Downspout
- 5 4. In the Tree Lawn
- 6 5. In a Vertical Garden Tower
- 7 6. In an Umbrella Base
- 8 7. On a City Roof
- 9 8. Behind a Bench
- 10 9. In a Garden Pocket
- 11 10. In a Rain Barrel
- 12 11. On a Table
- 13 12. In a picture frame
- 14 13. On a Bird House
- 15 14. Hanging from the Ceiling
- 16 15. In an Elevated Planter
- 17 16. In a Wine Glass
- 18 17. On a Pergola
- 19 18. In an Ornament
Grow a Garden Anywhere!
In this article we present 18 cool ideas, many of which you may not have considered, to help you grow your garden in all sorts of ways, and in locations that many would not think of for plants and gardens.
So break out your gloves and garden trowel, and get to work!
1. On a Graffiti Wall
We absolutely adore this idea, combining moss with graffiti! This DIY project involves taking moss and making a paste out of it, when then can be applied to any stone surface. With a little love and care, you can get the moss to grow in the design you have laid out, and in the end, you’ll have stunning moss graffiti!
See here for detailed instructions on how to make the moss paste, and how to apply it.
2. In the Driveway
A driveway is not a common location for a garden, though it is an intriguing choice. Most driveways are design-free zones, even the ones that spend large amounts of money on brick pavers.
If you hate the look of vacant concrete or asphalt slabs, then you could consider embracing permeable paving systems, such as the ones shown in the above photo. These paving systems are much more aquifer-friendly than concrete or asphalt, and are ideal in areas where gray-water runoff is especially harmful.
You can place plants, grass, dirt, or stone dust in the paving system and grow a garden! Of course, you need to be mindful of where cars will be traveling, and also keep in mind that you’ll have additional upkeep with your driveway “lawn” area.
3. Over a Downspout
Downspouts are a design-problem. In their typical form, they are decidedly unattractive, and often take an aesthetic toll on the building they are placed on. While they are sometimes able to be hidden in corners, when they have to go down the front of a facade, or in the middle of a flat front, they often look pretty terrible.
But with some clever trellis work, you can cover your downspout with a garden! You can use these with vines such as Clematis or Morning Glory, and turn a drab downspout into a beautiful trellis garden.
4. In the Tree Lawn
Different parts of the country call this area different things: the “hell strip”, the “tree lawn”, the “verge”. This area, between the street curb and the sidewalk, tends to be an especially difficult area to grow plants in. People will often use it as a walkway, dogs bathroom, trash area, etc.
These areas often look terrible and neglected, as there are typically no sprinklers, they are typically exposed to sun, salt, and snow, and are not well cared for.
However, those who make an effort can produce wonderful results, as this herb garden shows. A few well placed plants and some pavers, as well as some mulch, will make the tree lawn into a welcoming spot!
5. In a Vertical Garden Tower
Tower gardens are a very interesting new gardening method. There are tons of new designs for tower gardens coming onto the market, but essentially they consist of a central tower area that houses plants and soil.
The whole system is typically fairly easy to care for, and usually features a self watering design, or a system where as you water the top of the garden, water will flow down where needed to the plants below.
When in full blossom, these towers can look fantastic: obelisks overflowing with life!
6. In an Umbrella Base
Umbrella bases are often rather unsightly, or at best innocuous. When they’re hidden under a patio table, there’s not much of a concern for visual aesthetics. But when there’s no patio dining set to take the emphasis off of the umbrella base, it’s time to get creative!
There are a several DIY umbrella base planter guides around, but we particularly like the look of this cool wheeled metal umbrella base planter by Abba Patio. It’s got great visual aesthetics, and does a good job of holding your umbrella down!
7. On a City Roof
It certainly helps if you have a penthouse with a roof deck! But many of us live in large city buildings with accessible roofs, with nothing on them. Of course, be sure to discuss with your building owners or HOA, but putting rooftop gardens on top of city buildings is a great use of space that is frequently ignored.
This area is ideal for growing plants and for outdoor living space, as it is typically open to the air, and lots of sunshine is available. Of course, be sure that the area is safe, and confirm with your owners before you place any plants or outdoor living furniture on the roof!
8. Behind a Bench
By combining a bench with a planter, you can create a sitting space that doubles as a plant space. The structure of the bench and the structure of the planter can be one in the same, and the bench/planter design brings the plants closer to eye level, which is nice.
Having plants on multiple tiers makes for a more complex and interesting garden space.
9. In a Garden Pocket
Garden wall pockets have become more and more popular, and are applicable both in indoor and outdoor areas. There are tons of designs for these garden wall systems available, and when the plants grow enough to fill the pockets, the results can be spectacular!
Like the tower planter systems we mentioned above, these garden pocket systems sometimes have self watering or assisted watering designs.
If you decide to get one that you want to use inside, be sure to get one that is lined with a waterproof backing and base, so that your walls and floor don’t get damaged by the plants.
10. In a Rain Barrel
Rain barrels are a great eco-friendly way to collect gray water from your roof for use in the garden, or to wash your car, your house, etc. You simply run a diverter from your downspout to the rain barrel, and collect the water.
Some of the more interesting rain barrel designs have begun to incorporate planters on the top, like the Castilla Rain Barrel shown here by Algreen. These rain barrels are quite attractive, and with their pottery-like design, blend seamlessly into the landscape. The addition of a planter space on top makes these a great option!
See our Castilla Rain Barrel Review for more information!
11. On a Table
Table centerpieces commonly integrate candles and wood, but several craftspeople and designers have started to play around with integrating real plants into canter pieces. This beautiful table garden, by Vagabond Vintage, is a really cool planter that can go indoors or outdoors, and can work on a shelf, or on the table!
12. In a picture frame
Combining a picture frame with a garden, or even with a single hanging plant, can bring a good deal of focus to the artistry of the plants, and bring some color contrast or visual clarity. If you have some scrap picture frames, these can be ideal for the garden.
If you search around, you can find many examples of frames surrounding potted plants. They look great!
13. On a Bird House
Bird houses generally work in contrast to the natural environment they are placed in. This doesn’t have to be the case, though! By combining a bird house with a planter, you can create an attractive home for your avian friends, while bringing more life to the garden or yard area.
This bird house planter, by Shop Succulents, comes with the succulents all planted, so you don’t even have much work to do to get it going!
14. Hanging from the Ceiling
Air plants, also known as tillandisa, are beautiful, prehistoric-looking plants that survive without roots. They absorb nutrients from the air, and can be planted in almost any location. They need water, but not a whole lot more care than that is required.
That said, air plants can be finicky… we have lost a whole bunch of them over the years! But we keep getting more!
There are myriad varieties of these plants available, and they can be incredibly striking. We especially love the selection at air plant supply.
15. In an Elevated Planter
Elevated planters are a particularly easy method of planting a garden. Since the bed is waist-height, there’s no need to bend over and work on the ground, making the whole garden-growing process much easier on the back and knees!
Some elevated planters, like this Keter planter shown here, have an automatic watering feature that simplifies the gardening process even further, opening up possibilities even to those with a deep brown thumb! You could also consider a wifi water timer if you want to automate watering.
16. In a Wine Glass
We love these succulent gardens placed inside of various mis-matched wine glasses. One is beautiful, but the series of sizes and shapes really makes for a stunning display.
17. On a Pergola
Pergolas can be magical outdoor spaces, with a wonderful blend of shade and sunlight, openness and shelter. Wooden pergolas especially are well suited for vine growth, and when combined with some outdoor curtains, makes for a beautiful garden space above, and delightful dining space below.
18. In an Ornament
Terrarium glass ornaments are a nice place to display air plants, succulents, and other small plants. As most of these have a wide opening to enable users to water their terrarium plants, upkeep is easy, and they can be hung pretty much anywhere, inside or outside!
We especially love the interesting shapes available from the Light in the Dark terrarium planter ornaments.