It’s always been hard to put down roots in the concrete jungle. However, in recent years urban gardening has undergone a renaissance leading to new innovations and creative ways to make the most of small spaces. Look out over the skyline from many metropolitan apartments and instead of an asphalt sea you’ll find a verdant landscape of rooftop gardens, patio plots and balcony oases.

Want to join the revolution? Use these ideas to start planning an urban garden of your own.

Where to Put an Urban Garden

With limited space, you have to get creative about where to plant your urban garden. Luckily, many gardeners have troweled this earth and come up with some ingenious places to start planting.

If you have a balcony or patio, consider yourself blessed. You have more than enough space to start a garden. You don’t need a plot of dirt, just a place for a raised container or a few pots.

vertical planters

Stacked gardens make it easy to have a large garden in just a few square feet of space. You can create a wall of plants using specialized planters, go vertical by placing pots on shelves or simply stack containers of varying sizes in a form of Terra cotta terrascaping.

stacked containers

Rooftop gardens often have the most open space for growing a lush garden among the clouds. While it may require special consideration for sheltering plants from wind or sun, gardening on the roof has the added benefit of providing a real place to relax and unwind in nature.

urban window box

Window boxes are another way to take advantage of unused wall space. Herbs and flowers are the most common, but you can grow any sort of shallow-rooted plant, including lettuce. Easy access makes a window garden convenient to maintain.

window box herb garden

If the deck or balcony feels too small for containers, you can still make a handrail garden. Flowers, herbs and other leafy greens grow well in small containers. Hang little pots from the rail at varying heights and you may be surprised how much you can grow.

How to Garden Without a Yard

Pallet Garden

Container gardening is the most popular way to garden for those without access to a yard. You can grow edible plants such as tomatoes, peppers and herbs that will offer fresh ingredients for cooking all year, or opt for lovely annuals that you change with each season. The fun thing is that you can put plants in just about anything, even reclaimed wood pallets or upcycled rain gutters.

raised container garden

Square Foot Gardening is a method designed to fit the most plants in the least amount of space. In fact, the recommended size is a four-foot square. It’s great for people who like to bring a bit of order to their garden and can be used to create lovely patterns of color.

square foot gardening

Hydroponic gardens are especially well suited for rooftops and windows—any place where it might be difficult to have heavy pots of soil. In addition, gardening without dirt prevents many pest-related problems so it’s easier to grow organic plants without the use of pesticides.

Similar to hydroponics, aeroponic gardening uses a water and mineral solution to grow plants without soil. While gardening without soil can produce a higher yield with fewer resources, container gardens are the most hands-on experience and offer more opportunities for designing a beautiful outdoor space.

Ideas for a Beautiful Urban Garden

When it comes to creating an attractive garden, many of the same rules apply whether you want to plant in an industrial area or a quiet suburb. Your garden still needs the same things to thrive: sunlight, water and nutrients. Everything else is aesthetics. Here are a few tips for planning an urban garden that will be healthy and beautiful.

relax on the balcony

Use comfortable outdoor furniture and an abundance of plants to transform your balcony into a personal retreat.

Mix different plants in the same container to grow an eye-catching piece of garden art. Choose plants in complementary colors with a variety of textures and heights.

Add layers with a raised bed, a collection of containers or hanging baskets to plant items at various heights. This is visually appealing and also ensures that all plants get adequate access to sunlight.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if it’s shady or sunny, short and wide or tall and skinny, any spot can become a garden. Simply, choose plants that suit the available space.

Plan Your Piece of Paradise

You don’t need to have a landscaping degree to have a beautiful urban garden, however it helps to have a plan. With a few ideas and the right equipment, you can enjoy a rejuvenating space to grow all year.

Browse our Urban Grower board on Pinterest for more inspiration. Shop our favorites for your garden here.

Follow RedEnvelope’s board urban garden on Pinterest.

Featured image by Madly in Love With Life