Winter is, meteorologically speaking, behind us (even with its particularly nasty sting in the tail) and we’re looking forward to a new year full of gardening successes. How to make it happen if you’re short on space? More and more UK households are subjected to smaller and smaller gardens, and while smaller urban properties are frequently to blame, there are also space problems facing those even with comparatively large gardens- with increasing development, more and more gardens have problems with light, as well as needing to find sheltered spaces suitable for less hardy crops. Patios, conservatories, paving and decking and even shade-casting washing lines all seem to be among the features conspiring to limit the modern backyard gardener’s options.
So how do you overcome space limitations?
Vertical gardening! The answer to small urban gardeners having trouble with limited space is fast becoming expansion upwards. This skyward-looking trend is helping those without access to large gardens to unlock the potential for high-production vegetable crops. Now, in reaction to the growing trend of upwards gardening, more and more equipment is becoming available to help make the most of your space. However for those on a budget, the flexibility provided by vertical gardening is one of its attractions- very often everything you need can be assembled from recycled materials.
To begin gardening upwards, you need to establish a framework through which you can elevate your plants. This can be a typical frame- for example made from guttering or similar improvised beds raised on legs, a traditional trellis or simple ‘green wall’ of containers mounted on a frame. From hanging baskets suspended above your garden to ‘containers’ improvised from everyday items and mounted above one another, there’s lots of potential in recycling and inventiveness. As long as you have a sturdy frame with good light and a potent growing medium, you're off to a strong start. A couple of things to bear in mind, though: that the weight of your frame will increase as plants grow, as soil absorbs water or freezes, when it snows, and in high winds the structure will be subject to lots of pressure- especially when your plants are in bloom- so strength will be vital. What looks sturdy carrying empty containers may not be so when they’re each filled with sodden earth.
Another consideration is accessibility- while the temptation might be to push your skyward expansion as far as it goes, you will need easy access to all your plants- so bear this in mind when engineering your design. You will need to protect your plants from both birds and frost, too, meaning built-in support for netting and horticultural fleece may prevent having to break down your structure later on in the year. With these simple considerations, you can create an amazing vertical garden that stands the test of time while doubling or tripling the quantity of plants your space can accommodate.
There’s evidence that vertical gardening has other benefits, too. From protecting your masonry from damage to boosting insulation and lowering energy bills, enveloping your garden in greenery has many benefits. The only consideration when setting up your vertical garden is moisture- use plastic sheeting where necessary to reduce prolonged exposure to water for any porous stonework that might become damaged.
Whatever projects & challenges 2018 brings, our online store is the perfect one-stop-shop for all your gardening needs, with a wide range of topsoils, composts, soil improvers and more to get you started. Check it out now and discover why we're one of the UK's top gardening suppliers!