Design Dilemma: Gardening Without Garden Space | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Gardening Without Garden Space

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Got the urge to garden this summer, but lack a proper garden?

Luckily, there’s one easy way to get around this problem: Start a container garden. It’s a simple and lovely way to bring greenery to paved spaces, brighten up a patio or veranda, or deal with garden problems, such as poor soil quality or rocky soil. And the truly beautiful thing about container gardens is that they work well for a wide variety of gardens — from vegetable gardens to herb gardens to flower gardens, to arid desert cacti gardens.  A garden can look wild and woolly in containers, but also chic and sculptural, depending on the planters and the plants that are chosen. Among the many advantages of container gardening is that it can be designed ergonomically to make gardening easier for those with bad backs or creaky knees. And pots can easily be shifted to take advantage of seasonal changes in light and moisture.  There are just a few things to remember before you get started.

1) Containers, containers, containers. You know how everyone says location should be your prime consideration when buying real estate? Well, in the case of a container garden, your prime consideration should be given to the kinds of containers you use. This one structural element of your garden should be chosen with care because it will remain in your garden year after year. Would you like to go for large wooden planters, colorful pots, or a natural terra cotta look? The choice is yours. But whatever you do, avoid cheap plastic containers that will deteriorate in the sun. Think more classically — terra cotta or ceramic planters, for example — but be aware that certain materials like terra cotta  will require watering more often. If you can’t water often, opt for larger containers that will hold moisture longer, or look into special planters now on the market that keep plants moist for longer. If you want your garden to look formal and stylish, you might try opting for containers in all one color or style. Or if you prefer a more freewheeling look, seek out containers in contrasting colors and styles.

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2) Plan first, plant second. The next big question, of course, is what you’ll put in your containers. Plan your plantings well, based on how much sun your containers will get, and of course, on your local climate. It’s a wise idea to confer with your local nursery for input. And even before you go to the nursery, flip through magazines and books for pictures of gardens that capture the feeling you’re after. When it’s time to buy the plants, you can show the picture to nursery professionals who can help you achieve the look you want. Remember that taller plants should generally go in the middle, while lower, trailing plants should be placed along the outer edges of your garden.

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3) Don’t forget the basics of planting. Sterilize used pots to prevent a plant disease from spreading from a pot to a new plant. Use potting soil rather than garden soil, which is more porous. Fertilize potted flowering plants generally. Rotate vegetable plants regularly through the seasons to keep nutrients in a container balanced. And for all container plants, water frequently, usually daily during the hot summer months, or if your plants get sun most of the day.

Once you get started on container gardening, you’ll find you just can’t stop. So enjoy your green thumb!


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