Want to create an urban garden but don’t know where to start? Whether you have a small balcony or a large rooftop green space, you can easily create a gorgeous garden and grow your own food in the city! Ready to get planting? Below are a few urban gardening ideas, tips, and DIY hacks that will get your green thumb in gear in no time!
Create a Community Garden
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 all of your supplies!
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! Planters made of fiberglass, wood, foam, or plastic 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
Thanks to space-saving items like container pots, hanging and vertical planters, and pallet walls, making an urban garden on your balcony is an easy way to grow in the city! A balcony garden is ideal because of access to sunshine and protection from wind. Annuals and perennials do well in balcony gardens, as do tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers. Make sure to place saucers below containers to prevent water from draining off your balcony onto someone else’s balcony.
Opt for a Container Garden
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 containers allow enough room for plants to grow and have adequate drainage. Items 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
No community green space in your neighborhood? With a few affordable 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! Learn how to make your own DIY mini greenhouse from Balcony Garden Web.
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.
Arrange a Rain Gutter Garden
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. Check out these DIY guides for how to make a rain gutter garden on a fence or railing or a hanging gutter garden!
Start an Indoor Herb Garden
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.
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. A shoe organizer garden can be hung in an enclosed porch, on a fence, or on a patio railing. Create your own hanging shoe organizer garden using these easy steps!
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. Succulents, flowers, and vegetables like lettuce and spinach grow wonderfully in wall planters. Learn how to make a pallet planter!
Build a Raised Garden Bed
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. Here’s a helpful guide for how to build a raised garden bed!
Free Up Space with Hanging Planters
Hanging planters can be made from any number of materials and are simple to install inside apartments, on patios, or outside windows. Not to mention, hanging your 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 planters. See how to make a DIY hanging planter in just five minutes!
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!
Repurpose Plastic Bottles
Not only can planting an urban garden save you money, but it can also make a positive environmental impact by utilizing recyclable materials! Making planters from plastic 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 recycle glass bottles as planters as well!
Use an Elevated Garden Planter
Because of their height, elevated planters make urban gardening in small spaces more comfortable. Another benefit to this planter 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!
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.
Hang Plants on a Pallet Wall
With a pallet wall, you can hang plants and free up space on the ground. Not only are pallets cheap, but they can also be painted to match your pots for added outdoor color! Learn how to make a pallet herb garden from Second Chance to Dream.
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.
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.
Make a Self-Watering Planter
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 the roots in a separate container, allowing plants to draw water up through a wick. Check out these DIY self-watering planter ideas for more inspiration!
Grow Vegetables from Food Scraps
Want to become an urban gardener and reduce your grocery bill? Save food scraps from vegetables like lettuce, celery, and onions. Simply put the clippings or bottoms into a bowl of water, place it near a window, wait for them to sprout, and then plant!
Plant Climbing Fruits & Vegetables
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
Raising urban chickens has more to do with gardening than you may realize! Not only can you get fresh eggs straight from your rooftop 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 supplies, saving even more space. Learn how to build your own backyard chicken coop from Better Homes & Gardens. And as always, be sure to do your research on 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 or hanging plants that provide more cover. Placing trays with fruit peels or rinds in your urban garden can also attract butterflies of all species. You can also add backyard water features like a birdbath, hummingbird feeders, and simple water fountains to attract other visitors!
Don’t Forget a Garden Tote
When starting an urban garden, you’ll need a few tools for planting, maintaining, and harvesting. Pick up a few essential garden tools like hand trowels, gardening gloves, hand pruners, and a watering can. Keeping all of your tools handy in a garden tote will help save space and keep you organized. See how to make your own wooden garden tote here!
Whether you want to create a small patio garden or add some flora and fauna to your rooftop, an urban garden is easy to achieve no matter the size of your outdoor living space. Looking for more gardening tips and inspiration? Check out these easy DIY garden ideas here!