The average size of a home lawn in the U.S. is 10,000 square feet. To many, however, that amount would be quite a luxury; California, for example, has an average of only half that space for home lawns. With summer nearly here, people are finding themselves wishing for a more inviting outdoor atmosphere. Fortunately, your lawn and/or outdoor space doesn’t need to encompass acres of land to create a beautiful, bountiful garden, and there’s more than one way to do it.
The Traditional Method
Of course, the old-fashioned way of starting a garden is with dirt. When you’re working with a limited planting space, make sure you’re using quality soil, as it needs to be more nutrient dense in order to thrive, as compared to larger spaces. Consider developing your own compost; it’s not only cost-efficient, but it’s one of the best ways to infuse soil with the best nutrition for all plant types. Compost can be made from fruit and vegetable scraps, yard waste (like weeds and grass trimmings), and even the debris buildup from your gutters. Gutters provide a great atmosphere for decomposition, after all. When having gutters professionally cleaned, simply ask that the waste not be disposed of, but placed into buckets for compost instead. Sort through it to remove non-compostable items, and add the rest to your regular compost bin.
Once you have a good soil foundation and your plants selected, you can maximize your space by creating different levels and sections. This can be done through tiered gardening beds or the addition of soil mounds, space permitting. Alternatively, you can use stones or other means of separating the sections. Creating this type of division will give the illusion of a larger green space.
The Vertical Method
While the traditional method is preferred among many, it’s not your only option. If you’re exceptionally space-challenged, going up may be your best bet. You can construct a trellis or living wall using wire, cables, bamboo, and even netting. This is a particularly useful means of gardening for those that need to limit themselves to a patio, balcony, or rooftop, but it can be implemented just about anywhere. Herbs and vining plants are easy to transplant to this type of structure.
Another type of vertical gardening relies on use of your existing outdoor fixtures and furniture. Rails and window ledges can be lined with planters, either hanging or boxed. Sure, this is a small space, but you can grow an array of beautiful plants- even edibles. Strawberries, cherry tomatoes, herbs, and annual flowers are just a few of your options.
The Indoor-Outdoor Method
Finally, for people that simply can’t get enough of their greenery, but can’t accommodate it entirely outdoors, there’s the indoor-outdoor method. It’s exactly what it sounds like: using both indoor and outdoor spaces. Plants like herbs, succulents, and microgreens are all good options for indoor growing, while you can save your outdoor space for larger plants and varieties that are in need of more sun. Of course, you can also step up your indoor approach with the use of sunlamps.
This method is especially beautiful if you have a living space that opens up to your outdoor space. Tying the two together with plant life will give the illusion of a larger outdoor space, even though part of your greenery is technically indoors.
With some creativity, there’s a number of ways you can implement a garden. Your space might be limited, but your imagination is abundant.