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Design a Beautiful Urban Garden with These 26 Ideas

Planting an urban garden but don’t know where to start? Whether you have a small space for a balcony garden or large rooftop green space, you can easily create a gorgeous garden and grow your own food in the city! Check out these 26 urban gardening ideas, tips, and DIY hacks that will get your green thumb in gear in no time!

Create a Community Garden

Urban rooftop community garden in Nashville. Photo by Instagram user @monicamwillis

Photo via @monicamwillis

Community gardens provide an opportunity to plant vegetables, flowers, and herbs in a shared outdoor space. Not only do community gardens bring fresh food to “food deserts,” but they also require teamwork to maintain, which means it’s an excellent chance to get to know your neighbors. Keep in mind that each neighborhood and building will have unique rules for how to create and work within communal spaces, so be sure to check these guidelines before you start buying your gardening supplies! And to increase collaboration, make sure your garden design has space for multiple gardeners to work together.

Design an Urban Rooftop Garden

Rooftop gardens are a great way to utilize an otherwise wasted space at home! When creating an urban garden on a rooftop, talk with your landlord or co-op board to see if there are regulations, as some older buildings may have weight limits. In cases like this, go light! Wooden planters, fiberglass planters, or foam planters are recommended, as is lightweight potting soil. You can even lighten pots and planters with styrofoam packing peanuts instead of gravel. Also, since a rooftop garden can be exposed to extreme heat and wind, make sure to allow air flow with lattices, pallet walls, or trellises to keep your plants protected.

Turn Your Balcony into a Garden

Balcony garden. Photo by Instagram user @suppus_home

Photo via @suppus_home

Thanks to space-saving items like container pots, hanging or vertical planters, and pallet walls, making an urban garden on your balcony is an easy way to grow a garden in the city! A balcony garden is ideal for small spaces because of access to sunshine, and it also provides some protection from wind. Consider planting annual and perennial plants in balcony planters, or grow vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers. Make sure to place saucers below containers to prevent water from draining off your balcony onto someone else’s.

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Opt for a Container Garden

Rooftop garden with container garden. Photo by Instagram user @senarosenberg

Photo via @senarosenberg

Small patios, balconies, and rooftops are all perfect places for a container garden. Get this urban garden started with a variety of pots, small barrels, boxes, or even a few buckets! Just make sure your garden pots allow enough room for plants to grow and have adequate drainage. Gardening supplies like gravel, soil, pellet fertilizer, and a watering can or hose will be needed for planting and growing. Double-pot plants to keep them cool and safe on extremely hot days, and water them often. If you don’t have a lot of room, you can create a container garden by making a hanging display with only a few wooden boards and some rope.

Build Your Own Mini Greenhouse

Mini greenhouse on urban balcony. Photo by Instagram user @katarinasido

Photo via @katarinasido

No community green space in your neighborhood? With a few affordable garden materials, you can create your own greenhouse on a small scale! A mini greenhouse is an efficient way for city dwellers to keep indoor and outdoor urban gardens thriving year-round, and it’s great for small balconies, apartment rooftops, and patios! You can even consider using a DIY mini indoor greenhouse to add an urban jungle flair or houseplants to your living space.

Grow a Vertical Garden

Want to create a lush urban garden in a small space? Go vertical! Whether you allow vines to grow along the wall or you choose to hang vertical planters, this is an affordable way to get a beautiful green space at home. Buy a ready-to-assemble vertical garden kit, or learn how to make a vertical garden on a fence! You can also ensure plants stay upright by making your own garden trellis. Don’t forget bookcases and other standing shelves can also be used to maximize your vertical space, too!

Arrange a Rain Gutter Garden

Rain gutters repurposed for fence garden. Photo by Instagram user @dumplingpark

Photo via @dumplingpark

Creating a garden in small rental space means urban gardeners have to get creative. If you have no yard, a small outdoor area, or if you’re planning to move in the near future, a rain gutter garden is an easy way to have a productive urban garden that’s easily portable. Not to mention, rain gutters can be more cost-effective than larger garden pots, shelves, or plant racks! Consider creating your rain gutter garden on a fence or railing or make a hanging gutter garden!

Start an Indoor Herb Garden

Hanging herb garden in white kitchen. Photo by Instagram user @hunkerhome

Photo via @hunkerhome

No outside space? No problem! Take advantage of bright windows inside your home and create an indoor hanging herb garden. Place mint, rosemary, basil, and thyme in hanging planters for a simple way to water, maintain, and harvest your herbs. You can even be container-conscious by creating your garden with mason jar planters, which can be reused each year for new or different herbs! Growing herbs indoors may not give you the typical garden experience, but it will bring a natural feel to your home and a fresh taste to your meals!

Make a Hanging Shoe Organizer Garden

By repurposing space-saving items like a hanging shoe organizer, you can create an efficient and budget-friendly urban garden even in the smallest city apartment. Additionally, shoe organizers make great recycled garden materials for those looking to create a more sustainable urban garden. A shoe organizer garden can be hung from a garage, a fence, or a patio railing!

Craft a DIY Pallet Planter

For a functional urban garden in a small space, make an easy pallet wall planter! You can either mount the pallet to the wall or simply lean it for the same effect. These are also great because they can easily be moved within a space or from one garden to another! Succulents, flowers, and vegetables like lettuce and spinach grow wonderfully in wall planters.

Or Hang Plants on a Pallet Wall

With a pallet wall planter, you can hang plants and free up space on the ground. Not only are pallets affordable, but they can also be painted to match your pots for added outdoor color! Pallet wall planters are even great additions to vertical gardens, as they allow vines to grow along them.

Build a Raised Garden Bed

Raised garden beds on rooftop. Photo by Instagram user @armynavyclubdc

Photo via @armynavyclubdc

Raised garden beds can be added to any outside space or small backyard, and they’re ideal for growing plants like strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and hot peppers. They also make it convenient to plant and harvest your garden in one segmented area. Some raised planter boxes can also be kept indoors if you lack outside space for your urban garden!

Free Up Space with Hanging Planters

Hanging planters can be made from any number of materials and are simple to DIY or install inside apartments, on patios, or outside windows. Not to mention, hanging plants up keeps them out of the way, giving you more usable space at home. Herbs, flowers, and crawling plants like beans and cucumbers are great for these types of garden planters.

Utilize Window Boxes

Window boxes are ideal for urban gardens because they require no patio or balcony space. Plus, their height protects vegetables, herbs, and flowers from most animals! Plants can be maintained and watered within arm’s reach, and they make the view from your window lovely even in the most congested city! Just be sure to check ordinances or apartment rules regarding window planters!

Repurpose Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles repurposed as planters for urban garden. Photo by Instagram user @miss_lathe

Photo via @miss_lathe

Not only can planting an urban garden save you money, but it can also make a positive environmental impact by utilizing recyclable materials! Making plastic planters from soda bottles is a sustainable, easy way to start planting. You can hang them from a wooden pallet, pegboard wall, or directly on a wall with nails. You can also make recycled glass planters as well!

Use an Elevated Planter Box

Elevated planters in urban garden. Photo by Instagram user @saragasbarra

Photo via @saragasbarra

Because of their height, elevated planters make urban gardening in small spaces more comfortable. Another benefit to this planter box is that it provides more space for garden tool storage! You can hang trowels and gloves on the side and store watering cans and fertilizer underneath. Not sure what to grow in an elevated garden planter? Basil, chard, eggplant, and hot peppers are among the best plants for compact spaces.

Display Plants with Crates

For a rustic urban garden, store potted plants in recycled crates! Crates are affordable and easy to find in most hardware or thrift stores, and they’ll give your urban garden a country feel—even in the city! If lined correctly, crates can even be turned into wooden crate planters for a DIY plant pot that adds character to your space.

Build Your Own Mason Jar Planter

Even the smallest urban gardens can still be productive! This DIY mason jar planter is handy for small herb gardens or sprouts, and it can be mounted to walls both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, mason jar planters can be thrifted or found at second-hand markets if you’re looking for garden ideas in an eco-friendly yard.

Use Railing Planters

Add railing planters to patios, decks, or porches for an urban garden that doesn’t take up much space. These wooden planter boxes are easy to make and can be fitted to any railing size. You might even consider making or purchasing railing planter boxes that attach between the posts of your railing to save more space and create a decorative balcony look!

Organize Plants with Wire Baskets

For a simple way to display your container garden, store them in wire baskets and hang them on a balcony. You’ll be able to give your area a decorative touch while also saving space for patio tables and chairs. Wire baskets can also be reused each year for different types of plants, vegetables, or herbs!

Make a Self-Watering Planter

Self-watering planters outside on brick street. Photo by Instagram user @squarely_cph

Photo via @squarely_cph

Self-watering planters are perfect for busy city gardeners who may not have enough time to keep up on maintenance. These planters keep water at the roots in a separate container, allowing plants to draw it up through a wick. Not only does this urban garden idea help you keep an eye on your plants’ water intake, but it’s easy to DIY a self-watering planter in your own style!

Grow Vegetables from Food Scraps

Vegetable scraps being regrown in household dishes. Photo by Instagram user @fairpricesg

Photo via @fairpricesg

Want to become an urban gardener and reduce your grocery bill? Reap the benefits of less food waste in more ways than one when you save food scraps to plant vegetables like lettuce, celery, avocados, and onions. Simply put the scraps into a bowl of water, place it near a window, wait for them to sprout, and then plant! You can also create a kitchen waste compost that’s perfect for feeding and growing the plants in your urban garden from any other food scraps not suitable for gardening!

Plant Climbing Fruits & Vegetables

Planters with climbing vegetables. Photo by Instagram user @greenbygwen

Photo via @greenbygwen

Grapes, berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers grow vertically, making them ideal for urban gardens where there isn’t much floor space. Just make sure climbing plants have trellises, poles, or lattices behind them so their vines can grow naturally.

Include a Small Chicken Coop

Urban farming with animals has more to do with urban gardening than you may realize! Not only can you get fresh eggs straight from your rooftop garden or side yard, but chickens also eat pesky bugs and provide a source of natural compost for your city garden! Many chicken coops can be built with extra storage for plants and garden supplies, saving even more space. Just be sure to research city ordinances before setting everything up!

Bring Nature to the City

With bird feeders, butterfly houses, and flowers, wildlife will love visiting your urban garden! Bees and butterflies play a vital role in pollinating your plants, so plant colorful varieties that have both pollen and nectar like zinnias and black-eyed Susans. Butterflies prefer feeding on plants that are protected from the wind, so include a few window boxes, wall-mounted planters, or hanging planters to provide more cover. You can also add water features like a bird bath or a simple water fountain to attract birds!

Don’t Forget a Garden Tote

When starting an urban garden, you’ll need a few gardening tools for planting, maintaining, and harvesting plants. Don’t forget to pick up essential garden tools like hand trowels, gardening gloves, hand pruners, and a watering can before bringing your garden design to life. You should also purchase or build your own garden tote to keep all of your gardening tools handy and organized!


Need a place to store gardening supplies? Extra Space Storage has self storage facilities conveniently located across the U.S., so we can help while you design your outdoor space. Rent storage space near you!

Pinterest graphic: Urban Gardens: 26 Ideas for Your DIY Project