You’d be surprised the size of patches people around the world are creating their tiny urban gardens! It really is possible to create a miniature urban haven of greenery in the smallest and most unlikely places.
Take example from Paris’ urban gardening initative
Have you heard about Paris’ incentive to add more greenery to the city infamous for its congestion and lack of green spaces?
The local authority is allowing residents to create tiny gardens on the streets and rooftops of Paris. The “permis de végétaliser” (“license to vegetate”), is part of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s 2020 target of adding 100 hectares (247 acres) of greenery to the city’s streets, walls and roofs. Interested residents receive a renewable, three-year-permit that enables them to grow anything from fruit and vegetables to flowers and plants; the criteria are sustainable, chemical-free production with a focus on local species.
Taking inspiration from Parisians, it’s great to have grand ideas, but best to begin at the basics.
The Basics of creating an Urban Garden
Start at the very beginning and figure out some of your basic wants, needs, wishes and how they match with your tiny urban space…
How big is your space? Measure up and don’t forget to look up. Measure not only the footprint of your space, but the height too.
Start thinking in 3 dimensions.
And don’t worry! Gardening can start with as little as a window box!
Why do you want a tiny urban garden?
Perhaps this is the most important of all- figuring out why you want an urban garden, the time you want to dedicate to it, what you want out of it.
- Do you want to have a place to sit outside and relax? Perhaps entertain?
- Do you want to indulge in a love of plants and greenery, grow these yourself?
- Do you want to grow your own food?
- Do you have environmental aspirations and give bugs and bees a home?
- Other reasons?
Where is the sun?
Figuring out the orientation of your little urban garden is important for plant and material choices. If you have a north facing, shaded space,
for example, with only a little sun in the mornings and evenings, and that only in the summer months, then installing decking is likely to leave you with a mossy, slippery surface.
Map out the sunshine- when and how long do different areas get the sun. Is it direct sunshine or dappled sunshine from shading trees?
How exposed is your space?
Besides the sun, other elements as wind and frost are important. Windy, exposed sites can create as much challenge as no sun or too much sun.
A damp, exposed site will generally be colder than surrounding protected sites, for example.
Again, don’t be discouraged if you have a lot of factors working against you… none of these are problems! Purely, as long you are armed with an understanding of your tiny garden’s limitation, you will be more successful at addressing them through choosing the right plants, use of the space, floor covering materials and so on.
Do you have any planning restrictions?
Do you own the property or are you renting?
If you are renting you may need to think in terms of movable, non-fixed features.
…again don’t worry, there are amazing possibilities for creating a small garden, even if you can’t make lasting changes and add permanent fixtures.
Sometimes there aren’t legal restrictions, but when living in community it is important (for your own sanity) to consult with the neighbours about your plans. A bit of information and communication can go a long way to keeping them on your side.
Having pulled your thoughts together, it’s time to get planning!
Draw a scale drawing of your space. It’s important to have it to scale because on sketches out of scale it’s very easy to get your proportions wrong and misjudge space needed to move around.
Think in terms of vertical, not only horizontal!
… I mean just look at this super cute tiny garden:
Can you create a moodboard or a clipping of your ideas?
Pinterest is a great place to collect and store inspiration.
Like our own collection of images:
What’s your Budget?
You can dream and plan all you want, but you need the resources to realise them- these are generally time and money. (The more time you have, often you can save money, by doing things yourself… just make sure you are qualified and can do it safely.)
The costs can go spiralling out of control even in a tiny urban garden, so keep on top of them.
Finally… JUST DO IT!
Make those dreams happen!
If, through your planning, you come up against hurdles that are too complicated to overcome to create your tiny urban garden, consider creating a tiny urban indoor garden! 😉
Follow along in how we create our own tiny urban garden and bigger renovations of our tiny family apartment
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