We all need green space in our lives, but with nearly 98% of Aussies living in urban areas, that is easier said than done. Studies show that plants can have a positive effect on health and well being, from calming us down to making us feel good.
When space is at a premium, gardens are one of the first things to go, leaving many of us with little to no outdoor space. If your home has a limited garden area, don’t give up hope! There are several tricks of the trade you can use to create your own backyard oasis. Here are 8 ways to maximise your outdoor space—and you don’t need to have a green thumb to do it.
1. Opt for Potted Plants
No available soil space for planting? Create your own by picking up a few potted plants. Choose one large statement plant, like a peace lily, to act as a focal point. You can accent that plant with smaller pot plants, from succulents to flowers.
Be aware of where the natural light falls; some plants thrive in shade while others demand full sun. Shop around for plants that suit the layout of your outdoor area. When in doubt, look for plants that are native to your area as they should be the easiest to maintain.
Create a Vertical Garden
You may not have much garden space, but chances are you’ve got some walls to work with. This might be fencing, the wall of a shed, or the back wall of your house. These walls are prime spots for vertical gardens, where you can use planters to install smaller plants to give a lush look to your space.
A few things to keep in mind: your wall should be able to sustain the weight of the planters and the plants. Also avoid building your garden taller than your reach, or it will be tough to manage! Try using hanging pots and long planters, or get creative by re-purposing old plastic bottles and wooden pallets for your plant homes.
Put in a Pergola
A pergola dripping with gorgeous hanging plants can create a green space where there was none previously. It looks beautiful and is actually much easier than it looks—though it may take some time for the vines to grow fully. You can purchase a ready-made pergola or, if you’re handy, build your own.
The additional bonus of a pergola is that it creates a shady spot where you can relax and enjoy being outdoors. Great pergola plants include jasmine, wisteria, grapevines, and ivy.
Build a Plant Fence
Whether you’ve already got a fence or not, you can use plants as a privacy screen for your outdoor space. Plants like clumping bamboo grow tall and slim, so they’re easy to line along an existing fence without taking up much space. Just be careful that you pick a plant that can be kept under control, as some types of bamboo can quickly take over a space.
Other plants to consider include lilly pillys, photinia robusta, and bottle brushes.
Decorate with climbing plants
Don’t need a privacy screen but want some leafy decorations? Climbing plants could be your answer. Create patterns on your outdoor walls using stainless steel wire. Design a pattern with the wire and plant your vines underneath; if you don’t have soil a potted vine could work too. Alternatively, look for existing structures that could be suitable for climbing plants, like external posts or beams.
You may have to encourage your climbing plants along in the beginning, but once they start growing they tend to take off. Prune your climbing plants regularly to keep them under control. Climbing roses, honeysuckle, passionfruit, and peas are all options to consider.
Layer Your Garden Beds
You don’t need mounds of soil for a garden to flourish; you just need to think outside the box. Use what little space you have and put in a garden bed, then build up. Stepped or terraced garden beds allow you to grow more plants without taking up valuable space.
This is a great way to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Depending on the soil and sun available, a terraced garden could supplement your meals all year round.
Downsize with Dwarf Fruit Trees
Wish you could have your own citrus grove at home? Your dream might be more achievable than you think. Many common fruit trees like lemon, lime, avocado, and apple come in dwarf varieties, which still produce fruit but don’t grow as large as standard trees.
Some of these trees can live in pots, so you aren’t restricted by the layout of your outdoor area. Try a number of different spaces to find the best option for your tree.
Use All Available Space
We often think of gardens as being limited to the back of the house, or possibly the front. But the options are actually endless! Take a walk around your property to seek out hidden spaces where you can add garden space, like the side of your house, balconies, windowsills, or rooftops.
If you’ve got a walkway, line it with plants. Add some green to the base of your mailbox, or even along the driveway. Grab some hanging baskets with flowers for the front veranda to add a pop of colour, or put a mini planter on an outdoor windowsill.
Once you’ve gotten the most out of your outdoor space, don’t stop there! Bring a touch of nature into your living space with these tips for indoor/outdoor styling. With a little bit of creativity, small spaces don’t have to mean sacrifice.
About the author…
Bio: Rate Comparison helps Aussies save on their home loans every day. Whether you’re a first home buyer, investor or looking to refinance, we can help with your home ownership goals. Get settled in with our tips on moving house, interior decorating, saving money, increasing your home’s value, DIY and more.