CREATE YOUR LITTLE EDEN
USE WALLS, ROOFS, BALCONIES
THERE’S a bit of a “green revolution” happening in urban areas with the rise of small gardens and the demand for good-quality fresh produce, landscape designer Nick Vale of Vale Green Life says.
Vale says shortage of space is not stopping urban dwellers from giving gardening a go. Most urban gardens are happily growing in pots, up the wall, from the roofs and on tiny balconies.
“No matter what restrictions or how busy people are, they want to be able to go into the garden or on to their balcony to pick some fresh lettuce and herbs,’’ he says.
Vale believes the smallest yard, courtyard, deck or balcony can be turned into a green paradise with some careful consideration.
One of the most important things to consider is the space available and what it will be used for.
Vale says when planning a small garden every space can be used.
“Care has to be taken with small gardens to get the right balance of plants and the planned use of the space,’’ he says.
“Don’t forget that the high walls and shading from adjoining buildings can restrict the amount of sunlight reaching small gardens and poor ventilation may result in heat build-up, so plant selection is critical.’’
Vale says water requirement is another area of concern.
“Plants will help to cool the area but their water requirements will be high so an efficient watering system is essential,” he says.
And, he says, don’t forget soil quality.
“Due to high levels of heavy metal contamination of soils in many inner-city and old industrial areas, soils need to be tested before vegies are planted,” he says. “Alternatively, grow vegies in raised garden beds using a high quality vegie soil mix.
“Growing vegies in pots or on a wall can dry out very quickly so an automatic drip irrigation system is essential,’’ he says.
Don’t forget these are places to relax and entertain so the planting should complement and enhance the space without dominating it.
Grow a green wall . . . Nick Vale from Vale Green Life with his collection of metal trellis. Bottom: How about a sky garden... BOSKKE Sky Planter drops right from the ceiling (thedesigngiftshop.com or boskke.com).