DIY Gardening Ideas For Your Urban Backyard: 6 Effective Tips

6 Effective DIY Gardening Ideas for Your Urban Backyard

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If you are planning to start a garden, here are some DIY gardening ideas for your urban backyard

Planning to start your journey towards gardening? Yes, you should do now! I was once like you, having many doubts about my ability as a gardener. It worried me whether my plants will thrive well. This created concern for me on whether I was giving them enough soil or sunshine. So I read many gardening blogs and sought the advice of seasoned gardeners. I made the common beginner mistake but I corrected them as I went on. If you want to know some DIY gardening ideas, read on!

Setting Up Your Garden: DIY Gardening Ideas

Nowadays, urban dwellers demonstrated that gardens can be grown even in city environments in smaller areas, with creativity. You might wonder how people plant vegetable gardens, edible landscapes and urban orchards. Obviously, you can start a garden in the urban neighborhood through various ways.

Here are some DIY gardening ideas for your urban backyard:

  • Vacant lots

Small parks, community gardens and green oases grow in vacant lots in many cities across the globe.

  • Containers

When you use containers, soil issues can be avoided, as the soil used will be specific to the plants that you grow. Even unusual places such as straddling balcony railings or fire escapes can accommodate containers and these are also movable according to change of seasons and availability of sunlight.

  • Balcony gardens

Hanging baskets, perimeter potted plants and planters attached to railings can be good options for balcony gardens.

  • Vertical gardens

Walls, fences and rails can be placed with hanging planters both inside and outside of your apartment to grow vertical gardens.

  • A trellis garden

A cost-effective way of urban gardening is growing plants on a trellis. A planter with 12-inch width can hold a wood trellis.

  • A teepee garden

This is also a vertical garden structure that offers extra space required to grow a more abundant and larger vegetable garden within a small space. These structures are the best choice for cucumbers, peas and beans.

Related: “It’s as simple as saying Hello.” Discover our step-by-step planner for building your garden from scratch!
  • Indoor gardening

Since the sunlight received through windows is limited, you can use grow lights for increasing light in an indoor garden. Herbs and other edible plants can be grown by this method.

  • An herb garden

Herbs can grow well on sunny places like windowsills. Thyme, mint, fresh basil, rosemary and other herbs can be planted. See  how here.

  • A salad bar garden

In this way, you can grow leafy greens as they require less sunlight and can be accommodated in limited spaces. Sowing a mix of greens is the usual approach; for instance, Mescun mix contains a mixture of spinach, lettuces, chicory, argula, mustard and kale.

  • Picture frame garden

This method contains a vertical group of plants that are planted inside a growing medium at the back of a woven wire mesh. Various tender varieties and sedums are suggested for a picture frame garden.

  • Flower box garden

This is increasingly being used by urban gardeners. City residents can garnish their windows, entrances and facades with flowerbox planters.

The Right Planters

Mason jars can be used as planter. These jars are perfect for single plants. You can place them on a window sill or shelf or hang them on the wall for vertical storage. These are some of the DIY gardening ideas you can do.

To add some more plants to your vertical storage, you can use shipping pallets. These discarded pallets can be used in multiple types; however you could cut them and use them as upright containers for planting.

Be Creative

If your apartment does not have enough space for a garden, hanging your plants will be the right solution. A strong rod can hold your plants and this can save space on the floor.

If you have a bare, free and sunny corner, you can go with a stacked garden. To do this, stack cinderblocks and use them for gardening. You can plant some flowers and useful plants and add beauty to your space effectively.

Another simple and efficient way of using a small space is to turn shoe organizers into planters. These can accommodate a lot of plants. These are some effective DIY gardening ideas for your urban backyard.

Choose Your Plant

  • Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the most common choice for DIY gardening ideas when you have a small space. A 5-gallon container can be used for planting them; you have to water them twice or thrice a week.

  • Salad Greens

Salad greens need a minimum of six hours of light along with adequate moisture. Any container can be used for growing them and there is no fixed size.

  • Garlic

Garlic is one of the simplest plants to grow as you don’t need even seeds. A 6-inch container or pot can be used as a planter and you can plant them one and half inches from the top layer of the soil. The soil should not be too wet but only enough moisture.

  • Mint

Mint is very easy to grow and maintain even for beginner gardeners. It needs morning sunshine and daily water. An 8 to 12-inch container is the right size.

  • Basil

Basil can be grown in a 4 to 6-inch container with sunlight at a minimum of six hours. Water it once a day and fertilize it once per month to keep it healthy.

  • Scallions

Scallions are small onions that are easy to grow, as they do not even require soil. You have to cut-off these onions using a rubber band and immerse them in water at a one-inch level. Place them in a location that gets enough sunlight like a window sill and water them every day.

  • Strawberries

You can grow strawberries in 16-inch baskets and in a place that receives sunlight for at least 6 hours. They need a blend of sand or soil and watering daily. Late spring to early autumn is the right season for planting them. The strawberry tree can be a good alternative.

Related: Starting a garden in the city: 10 Things to consider
  • Radishes

Radishes don’t require too much depth to grow into full size and some varieties like Cherry Belle radishes do incredibly well indoors. Plant them in a container that has twice the usual depth and make sure the soil has excellent drainage. Keep them in the sun for 8 to 10 hours a day and water them enough so that the soil stays moist but not too wet.

Radishes can grow well on indoors. You need a place which has exposure to sunlight for 8 to 10 hours. The container has to accommodate fully-grown radishes and should be at a depth of twice than the length of a radish. Keep them moist with proper drainage but not too wet.

  • Cilantro

Cilantro is an easy-to-grow herb but it does not grow well after a harvest. You should always keep multiple pots in various stages of growth to maintain rotation. It needs less sunlight of about four hours a day and moist conditions with no excess water.

  • Rosemary

For rosemary, you need six-to- eight-inches-deep containers filled with sandy soil. You should place it in sunlight for at least eight hours a day. Watering needs some caution because roots should be kept moist and soil in between watering should be kept dry.

Organized Gardening

To keep your garden organized and neat you need to mark your plants as they will be indoors. You might wonder at the delightful ways to keep your garden organized. These DIY gardening ideas for your urban backyard can help you get organized

These choices can be used for indoor and outdoor gardens:

  • Spoons

Using metal or wooden spoons gives a touch of whimsy to your garden.

  • Clothespins

Clothespins can be clipped on the side of your pots or locked into your soil.

  • Natural Stones

Stones can be used to decorate plants in your garden; you can paint them and give a colourful appearance.

  • Twigs

Collect some strong twigs and introduce some wood indoors to add a rustic feel to your garden.

  • Craft Sticks

Using Popsicle sticks are a simple way of marking your plants. You can explore new ways of styling them according to your creativity, using paints or tapes.

Urban Vegetable Garden Planning

Earlier in this same article, we discussed about the various DIY gardening ideas for your urban backyard gardening using limited space. Let’s now take a closer look at each type in detail now.

First, examine the space you have – do you have a flat roof, a balcony or a small patio? If you have a porch or veranda, that space can also be used. Even a windowsill can accommodate certain plants.

Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardening is the right way for urban vegetable gardening; it allows the use of small spaces effectively and maximizes garden yield. In a square foot garden, you can grow vegetables in raised beds made of one-foot squares at a minimum depth of six inches.

For square foot gardens, you can make a large square or four squares with 4×4-sized raised beds. This method is now considered a revolution in gardening as it uses only compost and not fertilizers. When  you compare to traditional gardening which needs a large space and care, a square foot garden is small, effective and is best for small spaces.

DIY Gardening

This way of growing plants can really help you to a greater extent. Daily DIY gardening ideas are very easy to manage. You can take care of crops easily; it is convenient to water each plant in required amounts with a small watering can. There will be no wastage, no weeds and fewer issues with pests. These colourful plants can be visually appealing and also serve as organic food.

Concrete blocks, PVC pipes or wood can be used to make raised beds.

There are some of the great DIY gardening ideas that you can apply at home!

Balcony Urban Vegetable Garden

One of the cool DIY gardening ideas is balcony gardening. Balconies can be used to grow herbs and vegetables easily. You can follow the square foot method or use containers for planting. Though balconies are smaller in space, they can be a good place for your garden. Just make sure your plants get adequate sunlight.

Rooftop Vegetable Garden

If your rooftop is flat, it can accommodate more plants than the balcony. Since the rooftop receives more sunlight than any other place in an urban setting, a rooftop garden ensures more yield. You can cultivate fresh vegetables and spices in your home using this method, which is one of the cool DIY gardening ideas.

Patio Vegetable Garden

If your urban house or apartment has a patio, you can use it for gardening. You can grow plants on the ground as well as on containers. Then grow vegetables on the ground using the square foot method and you can grow citrus plants on containers. You can plant many herbs since they are simpler to grow and manage.

Urban Vegetable Garden on Enclosed Spaces, Veranda or Porch

Every square foot counts in an urban space, so if you have veranda or porch, you should use it effectively for gardening. You can grow plants in containers, as these places receive lesser amounts of sunlight. Select varieties that can grow well on shady places. Green leafy vegetables and root crops are the best options for this type of garden.

Choosing The Right Tools

Whether your garden is indoor or outdoor, or whether you use the square foot method or the container method, you will still need garden tools like a watering can, saucers to hold water under the hanging pots, a small fork and a spade.

  • Scissors

Plain household scissors are useful in sniping herbs, removing deadhead flowers or opening a bag of soil or a packet of seeds.

  • Weeders

They work effectively and are crafted to penetrate the soil easily to get rid of weed roots.

  • A soil knife

This tool is of Japanese origin. You can use it for usual gardening tasks such as weeding, transplanting, dividing perennials, and removing bonsai plants from containers.

  • Pruning shears

This tool is easy to use and effective since it has sharp blades. Use it to prune plants, it is also smaller in size, lightweight.

Related: Basic Tools Used For Gardening
  • Water hoses and water wands

Choose a hose according to your needs, considering its length, material and pressure. Opt for water wands that contain shut-off valves to turn off and on water easily.

  • A shovel

Buy a shovel that is compact enough with a long and narrow blade which is curved and can be used to dig deep holes.

  • Rakes

There are many types of rakes available. Choose wisely according to your garden needs. Shrub rakes, fan rakes and hard rakes are the various types for specific use.

  • Saws

A pull-to-cut, fixed saw that has a slightly-curved blade is the recommended one to prune woody plants. You can also make use of it in removing small trees.

  • Loop hoe

This is a modification of the standard hoe that you can use easily for weeding and edging.

  • Hat

Last but not the least, whether you have a garden in your backyard, in the rooftop or even on your balcony, you should use a hat to avoid skin problems caused by too much sunlight exposure.

There is a need for storing tools properly avoid sharp edges from dulling. Use garden bags to store short-handled tools safely.

These are some of our DIY gardening ideas. Enjoy!

Read next: Is this an Urban Gardening Revolution?

Featured Image from: @monsterkim

About the Author


Mr Urban Gardeners Republic is the best gardener at UGR! He's crazy about Urban Gardening and can't stop talking about that. You can connect with him on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter but the best way to see his amazing works, is to find him on Instagram.