Published : 10 June 2015
As more and more people choose to downsize, and the pressure is on councils to fit in more new homes, we could well be looking at much smaller gardens in the future. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. We all love the idea of spreading out, planting fruit trees and veggie gardens, sitting on the deck at the end of the day gazing over our estate with a cold beer in hand.
But do you love the endless mowing, weeding, termite control et cetera? Chances are, you don't. So maybe container gardening is the answer.
Help is on hand
This isn't a new concept by any means and there is plenty of help and advice available to get you started. Indeed, visit your local garden centre and the chances are there will be a section marked, container gardens!
Because, of course, that's what people living in units and townhouses have been doing for years. And container garden doesn't have to just mean a tub of petunias, either! The clever gardener will design a container garden that not only looks great, but provides fresh food for the table, too.
Read the small print!
The main thing with container gardening is to read the fine print - for example, how big/tall will the plant grow! There's no point spending your hard-earned cash on a tree that's likely to make 30 metres!
And you may wish to consider the type of potting system you use. Today you can actually buy special containers which are self-watering, modular, and even designed to hook over your balcony railing. A great example is the increasingly popular 'vertical garden' or 'living wall garden'.
The vertical garden has many advantages - you can grow more per square metre, and it's easy to set up irrigation systems that use minimal water. But not only that, the visual effect of a 'green wall' is stunning.
Vertical gardens are particularly good for herbs and salad plants, or mix and match with visual plants, too. Many people make their own, using old wooden pallets turned on their side. Clever, eh?
Most veggies are pretty hardy and adaptable - for example, depending on the variety, tomatoes can be grown in a tub, or even in hanging baskets.
And don't forget to let your imagination run riot, either! Who says you have to use standard garden pots? Make your mini garden visually exciting by utilising unusual or household items as planters, such as old watering cans, tins and jars, crock pots and colanders, baskets, wheelbarrows and so on.
People have been known to use some VERY unusual items, including chairs, bathtubs, even a mini piano. Don't believe me? Just Google it!!
As our photograph shows, even plastic drink bottles can do the trick!
Before long you'll have a riot of colour and a kitchen garden squeezed onto your balcony or deck. Somewhere to sit an enjoy that cold beer without worrying about mowing the lawn!