Urban Garden Musings

Urban gardening is perfect for a balcony, rooftop or small yard space. People often assume that the smaller the space, the easier it is to plan your a garden; but with a small space every square inch matters and therefore it can actually be quite difficult to create a functional layout and maximize your design. We asked our design team for some thoughts on how they approach small space designs for Tilly:


When designing an urban garden first think about its desired use. Are you looking to entertain and need a table? Or create a lounge with reclining chairs? Grow vegetables? Add a pop of color outside your window? Establish privacy?


After you’ve determined your purpose it can be helpful to look for inspiration - Pinterest, garden books, Instagram, Houzz, walking through your neighborhood can spark ideas.


Next take into consideration where the sun is coming from so you can figure out what types of plants will work or where table/chairs will be most enjoyable at the times of day you’ll use it.


Get creative using plants for privacy - emerald green arborvitae, bamboo, vines, leafy bushes, ornamental grasses, can all be great options. There are also some great DIY vertical planters that can lend privacy and are very space efficient. Planters can be a refreshing and relatively easy way to insert some greenery. Just pick planters that fit your space and style and fill them with flowers, vegetables, herbs or whatever else you desire. Make sure you have adequate drainage for any container so you don’t end up with puddles on your patio. You should have one inch of drainage medium per foot of the height of the container and raise your container off the ground a few inches so water can easily drain.


If you are using native city soil be wary of compaction and amend seasonally with compost as urban soils are often depleted. A quick reference point from Urban Garden NYC is if your container is 2’x2’x2’ (8 cubic feet), you will need 6 to 8 bags of soil depending on the size of the root mass and the drainage.


If you’re completely lacking outdoor space, window boxes or hanging baskets add character and personality! Do a little research to find out what plants and pollinators are native to your area to help promote biodiversity.


An urban garden can add a taste of the country…. or at least some greenery from your living room. Enjoy!

Vertical DIY Garden, Stacked Crates to Create Privacy, Hanging Can Planters, A Rooftop by a Tilly Designer