Using your yard as an outdoor space to grow vegetables, herbs, and plants can be fun and rewarding in so many ways. But if you’re not careful, your garden can end up looking and feeling like just another weed-filled part of your yard that no one ever notices. Pay close attention to these top trends to try in your backyard garden, and your backyard will be beautiful, valuable, and visible from the street in no time!
Vertical Gardening for Tight Spaces
Urban dwellers aren’t always able to keep a big garden space. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a thriving home garden, though! Vertical gardening is a great trend that makes use of vertical space—like walls and fences—to grow food. By taking advantage of every inch of space, these gardens are also more sustainable than traditional gardens, allowing you to grow without as much upkeep.
Start your project right:
Add Privacy with a Living Fence
Flowerbeds are great spaces for creating intimacy. Install a living fence made of fast-growing evergreens, like pine and cedar, or arborvitaes, on one or more sides of your flowerbed or backyard and you’ll have instant privacy that won’t block your view. Living fences are relatively easy to install, are relatively low-cost over the life of the plants, and require no maintenance once established.
Plant an Edible Flower Garden
If you can handle regular weeding and extra care, edible flower gardens can beautify your yard while providing your family with healthy options. From bee balm (great for making tea) to nasturtiums (delicious pickled or added raw on sandwiches), planting an edible garden is a sweet idea. Flowerbeds might be even better suited for a home garden than your typical vegetable patch—they require less work, more sunlight, and don’t have complicated harvest times.
We love this starter seed set!
Turn Yard or Kitchen Waste into Rich Soil
To kick your home garden into high gear, start a compost pile. In addition to reducing waste sent to landfills, composting can produce nutrient-rich soil for your flowerbeds and home garden. However, depending on what you’re composting (e.g., grass clippings), it might take some time before anything grows out of it.
Here’s a link to some information on how to start your own compost pile at our sister site http://www.takeoutdilemma.com.
Consider this countertop composter to get you started:
For those with a bit more space or larger family, we like this option from VIVOSUN:
Convert High Maintenance Sod or Grass to A Low Maintenance Natural Meadow
A big trend among home gardeners is grass conversion, whether it’s ripping out old lawn and converting it into a meadow or installing an extensive garden that looks like an extension of your home. Rather than spending hours each week cutting, mowing, and fertilizing a lawn, you can utilize a front yard meadow to do all of these things for you!
This mix is perfect, particularly for extremely hot or areas prone to drought:
Natural Pest Control
If you’re growing your own food, pests can quickly turn your garden into a nightmare. There are lots of innovative options on how to keep pests out of your garden that don’t involve using harmful chemicals. Options like Companion Planting make use of traditional plant combinations that deter pests, while concepts like Permaculture design more diverse and resilient gardens with minimal effort. Ultimately, it’s best to work with nature instead of against it. Another option – use natural sprays containing things like NEEM or Peppermint oil to keep bugs at bay, or better yet – ‘liven’ up your garden by introducing some beneficial ladybugs to the mix!
Did someone say mail order soliders?
Invite Birds into Your Backyard
Bring more birds into your backyard by planting bird-friendly trees and shrubs. Birds love berries and apples, and planting berry bushes or apple trees is an easy way to bring a flock of winged friends into your backyard. Don’t have space for fruit trees? Planting sunflowers will also bring lots of birds into your garden. With a little research, you can find plants that are beneficial both for you and for birds!
Consider buying seed from a local small business like a farm or hardware store. Some areas even have wild bird stores that can help give guidance on good seed mixes for the area and other things to consider like perches and baths.
Here is a great value feeder to get you started:
Utilize Raised Beds
These garden beds can help organize and simplify the gardening process. Raised beds are a great way to grow your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs. One of the biggest benefits of using raised beds is that they are easier for homeowners with physical limitations (i.e., arthritic joints) or visual limitations (i.e., children or seniors) than in-ground gardens. As such, raised bed gardens may be an ideal option for senior citizens looking to reduce their caretaker responsibilities without sacrificing their enjoyment of gardening.
This small raised bed is a great choice for tight areas like patios, porches, and decks. Since its elevated off of the ground you’ll save your back as well! Just make sure you purchase the proper soil and its in an area that gets enough sunlight for your seeds to thrive.
Try Gravel Gardening (don’t let the name fool you!)
Despite the ‘gray’ name and visions of rock pits and ugly country driveways that may get conjured up. Gravel, rocks, pebbles, and other decorative elements make for a beautiful addition to any backyard garden. Not only do they look nice, but adding gravel into your outdoor space can add visual interest and unique appeal. Mix different colors of gravel together or choose one color with varying sizes for an earthy feel. Another option is to use smooth stones that are naturally shaped and don’t have sharp edges. Pebbles are another great alternative if you want something more subtle than gravel.
Weed and vegetation barriers are a must have under your porous (gravel, rock, etc) outdoor creations. Not only will you spare yourself from being troubled by weeds poking through your rocks, they make consistent layout a breeze and save on herbicides that you would otherwise have to apply regularly to the inevitable weeds that would pop up. Think of the time and savings!