If you’re an urban settler, then space is likely a luxury to you. It’s one of the biggest sacrifices you would have made in exchange for all the virtues of modern urban life. As more and more people flock into the cities, space keeps getting tighter. And stepping out to a backyard is now a distant dream for many people confined to compact homes and vertical living.
But this should not prevent you from integrating greenery into your life. It can still become a reality with some creative inspiration.
Opt for indoor greenery
If an outdoor garden seems like a luxury, then why not bring it indoors? From peace lily and pothos to calathea and bromeliad, there are plenty of indoor plant varieties that can add lush greenery to your home. They won’t just clean up the air with an extra boost of oxygen, potted greenery can instantly transform your living spaces. And they will allow you to get as creative as you please when it comes to introducing plants indoors—from succulents in a teacup and converted fish tanks to upcycled old wine bottles.
But if you’re leading a hectic life, select plant varieties with low maintenance needs. There are many indoor plants that will thrive with little water and sunlight. But open a few windows when you’re at home to allow for fresh air circulation. Also, some varieties are poisonous, so keep that in mind if there are pets living with you.
Convert the balcony
You can easily convert a balcony into a mini garden space with a few adjustments. It’s the perfect solution for urban apartment dwellers to enjoy some greenery and benefit from the many positive health effects of gardening. Besides, from tomatoes to chilies, many vegetables and fruits will do perfectly well in containers. So, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy home-grown produce when you have a balcony.
But be mindful of sunlight exposure and weather conditions when selecting plants. And it doesn’t need to be limited to potted plants either. If your balcony has limited space, go vertical. Opt for hanging baskets and balcony railing planters. You can also set up a few shelves or just convert an old pallet to stack up plants in containers.
Get to the rooftop
Rooftops often go forgotten and unutilized in many buildings. But they can provide enough space for you to easily start your very own garden plot. Besides, they attract fewer pest attacks and can provide natural shade to exposed rooftop areas, and can absorb rainwater and minimize runoff.
However, setting up a green roof is a somewhat complex process and will require an experienced contractor. It involves landscaping, filling up a large area with soil, and mechanisms for proper drainage and insulation. You will also need to check with an engineer on whether the roof and building structure can bear the additional weight with no structural changes.
But the easiest option to utilize your rooftop is potted gardening. This allows you to change the plants quickly, remove the containers during winter, and to take them with you when you move out.
Opt for vertical gardening
Vertical gardening structures are a relatively new concept that has grown in popularity in recent times. It involves a vertically mounted panel that allows plants to use upright spaces. They are also easier to maintain since a hydroponic system can take care of all the watering. If at all, you’ll need to trim and prune the plants once in a way.
They are also quite versatile. So, you can install them indoors, on a balcony wall, or even across the entire front face of your apartment or home.
The bottom line
Gardening has many therapeutic effects. It’s an excellent option to unwind and get your mind off the many stressors of urban life. And limited space should not take away the joys of a Zen moment as you get lost in lush foliage. The good news is, there are now plenty of options for urban dwellers to add some greenery to their lives and homes.
(This article first appeared in The Urban Stuff)