Limited in Space? Here’s How You Can Create a Great Apartment Garden

By Clarissa Caouette | January 16, 2019
by Clarissa Caouette
January 16, 2019

Living in an apartment has many benefits. It can keep you close to your work, helping to reduce your costs on transportation. Apartment living can keep you in the area that you love, or where the action is. It could also reduce the added stress that comes from renting or owning a home. But living in an apartment comes with a drawback.

There is no space for you to plant a garden. Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean your desire to grow flowers and greenery goes away. Nor should you let the limited space hold you back from practicing your hobby. You can create a green space almost anywhere, and here we’re going to discuss several of the ways you can do just that.

Gardening on the Roof

If you have access to the apartment building’s roof, and if you have permission from the property owner, then you may end up with a vast area for you to garden in. You can’t go overboard with the amount of soil you use and the number of large, heavy trees you put up there; you have to consider structural issues and whether or not the roof can support the additional weight. The one thing you don’t want is to put the people living below your rooftop garden at risk.

Stick to shallow beds for your annuals and perennials, or for any fruits and vegetables you grow up there (you can then share the rewards of your efforts with others living in the building). Planters and containers can be used, but try not to fill large ones completely with dirt. Fill the bottoms with styrofoam or another light filler to lessen the weight put on the roof. Keep any trees and shrubs to thinner, more ornamental varieties. They can add beauty without straining the structure of the roof.

If you really wanted to be creative, and space and the structure allow for it, you could grow a thin layer of grass in an area and surround it with planters of flowers and ornamental trees. This would give the residents of the building a communal place to enjoy each other’s company as well as the beauty you have grown.

Gardening on the Balcony

This is where the majority of apartment habitators can grow their own gardens. Oftentimes, space will be cramped; most apartment balconies are not very long or wide. Even if this is the case, there are many ways you can grow some beautiful flowers or vegetables on the balcony. It is going to require quite a few containers and a lot of creativity.

Firstly, although you won’t need many tools to plant your apartment garden, you will need a place to store your tools and any remaining soil. Consider buying a small deck box if you do not have a place inside your apartment to keep them. Also, if you live in a pet-friendly apartment, you may be able to put some of their waste to use by composting it and converting it into fertilizer. Be careful when doing this; it is suggested that if you use pet compost, do not mix it in the soil of anything meant for human consumption. Stick to using it for the flowers.

There may be a balcony above you. This can give you the opportunity to hang some planters from the beams of the deck above. Do this with plants that thrive in the amount of sunlight your balcony receives during the day. Drooping and vining plants do well from hanging baskets as do annuals. Feel free to mix flowers, greenery, and textures just like you would in a home garden; you just have to do so on a limited scale.

Containers come in all shapes and sizes, giving you such variety that you are only limited here by your imagination (and your budget). Window boxes and half baskets can be attached to the railing of your balcony – just make sure they are secured so that they do not fall. You can use larger planters for taller plants. You may not be able to fit a full-size tree on your balcony, but you have several shrub varieties that can give you the same effect. Keeping them trimmed to the desired height and width will require a little more time and effort but can give your apartment garden an amazing look.

A series of smaller planters can be arranged in different ways. If you have space, you can place them behind one another, planting in layers. Granted, the shorter layers would be facing into the apartment, but your garden is for your enjoyment. The back layer could also create a bit of privacy for your balcony, or hide unsightly views from surrounding areas.

If you put the planters in a line, you can create a story with the flowers you plant in them. You could have them flow to a focal point, or you can create a symmetrical piece with a central, taller arrangement that the rest of the plants on either side lead to. If you prefer asymmetrical appearances, then combine different sizes of containers and use planter stands to create a unique apartment garden.

Use a frame to hang multiple levels of hanging planters from. This can take advantage of the vertical space you have as well as create that level of privacy previously mentioned. A stepped planters table can also make use of the upwards space. Put one in a corner to give your balcony a curve, or put a stand-alone table against a wall, making it appear that the plants are stepping up.

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