You don’t necessarily need a large backyard in order to enjoy your own little bit of nature. In fact, sometimes all you need is just few centimetres!
The last six months have taught us many things, one being to make the most of the space you have, no matter what type of property you live in, be it an apartment, sky home, townhouse, a house with a yard or even acreage.
If you’ve always wanted to enjoy the benefits of a garden but haven’t had the space (or the time), there are options to help you not only connect with nature but reap its benefits too!
Bringing plants indoors
A sunny corner of the lounge, your office desk or by a kitchen window are all perfect spots to welcome nature into your home.
As well as adding living texture and style, plants increase the overall air quality – making them both an attractive and healthy addition to your home. Plants are known to increase feelings of calmness, reducing anxiety and stress, and we could all use a little more of that in our lives.
One of the great things about indoor plants is they are relatively low maintenance. From small self-sufficient succulents through to larger evergreens, there are plenty of options.
The biggest challenge you’ll face is figuring out where in your home they thrive and how much (or little) love they need. You’ll know when you’ve found the right spot as you won’t need to give your plant much care and it will still look great.
Here’s a handy tip I read years ago when I was new to indoor plants: the larger the leaf the more sunlight it needs. I’ve found this to be true in most cases (yes, I’ve lost some along the way). By far the most challenging plant I’ve faced is my Fiddle-Leaf Fig. One week it likes being next to the door, the next it doesn’t; but when I get it right, it feels and looks good.
If you are short of square meterage, why not grow up? Vertical gardens have become increasingly popular over the last few years. From full irrigation set ups to simple DIY, they can work for any type of home and with a variety of plant styles – herb gardens, lettuce and fast growing produce, succulents, and many more. If you have a balcony, they can soften a wall without sacrificing floor space. Hanging baskets are another simple, and relatively inexpensive, way to add some plant life in your life.
Styling with pots
If you have ground space, but no room for a garden bed, potted plants can add an extra element of design. Mix and match colours, textures and sizes for a unique look to your space. Move them until you find the best spot. If your flowers don’t seem to be enjoying that really sunny corner, try a shadier area. You have the added benefit of being able to take them with you should you move.
Recycling to reproduce
Permaculture is a term we’ve heard more of in recent years. The term has been around since the 70s but the practice itself is as old as humanity.
Many people are now paying more attention to the way in which their food is produced and consumed, and there’s nothing better than your own organic produce. Sometimes it’s simply not practical to have and maintain a full garden.
The good news is that you don’t need a large backyard to incorporate elements of permaculture gardening into your lifestyle.
In fact, for some herbs and vegetables, you don’t even need soil to watch them produce for you. A jar or glass of water, and a nice sunny spot (filtered light, not full sun) will be perfect.
Many of these can be grown from your food scraps, too! Green onions, fennel, bok choy, lemongrass, celery and lettuce lend themselves to easy kitchen bench permaculture practices. There’s a plethora of websites and books the beginner can turn to for ideas.
If you’ve always wanted a big tree to sit beside and read, but you lack the space, bonsai is a unique way of enjoying a tree with a difference. Yes, it’s not the same as sitting underneath a tree, but it’s the next best thing, right?
While often associated with Japan, the art of bonsai originated in China. The word ‘bonsai’ may be translated as ‘tray scenery or ‘tray plant’ and can involve a landscape with miniature trees and rocks or a more refined, simplistic landscape defined by a single tree. The art form has been kept alive for centuries, and is truly unique way of bringing the outdoors in.
You need to take time to care for your plants. They won’t survive with total neglect. This brings one of the greatest benefits of plants and gardening into play.
Horticulture has long been associated with mental stability and wellness. Allow yourself time to enjoy the simplicity of seeing your plants flourish. It is very rewarding and incredibly beneficial to your mental health.