As more and more people move to highly populated areas, city dwellers have had to come up with creative solutions for their small, urban gardens. This shift has inspired a wealth of innovative garden design ideas and products that can help us make the most of our yard, deck, patio or rooftop garden with limited square footage.
One of our favorite design trends is container edible gardens which we have seen pop up everywhere in our neighborhood in Los Angeles and around the US. We design many of our trellises specifically to be paired with containers and are excited to share some tips for how you can start an inspiring and productive container garden of your own.
FIRST STEP: pairing plant + trellis
Edible and ornamental plants work beautifully for co-planting with a Terra Trellis and can be planted separately or together. Edibles like tomato, cucumber, squash, peppers, peas (even cannabis!) are fantastic choices to grow in a container paired with a Terra Trellis support. Ornamental vines like Clematis, Rose, Jasmine and Bougainvillea are strikingly beautiful on a Terra Trellis. We have a helpful list of our favorite plants to pair with trellises (click here). Make sure to choose plants that will thrive in your microclimate and that can be pruned to stay in scale with the space.
Once you’ve chosen the central plant and trellis, add interesting companion plants to grow in adjacent pots, or as under plantings in the same container. Succulents are both sculptural and low maintenance in containers. Many kinds of herbs like basil, thyme and chives make beautiful and delicious companion plants in an edible container garden.
NEXT STEP: choose containers (hint: go simple!)
After you select your plants and trellis, next step will be to select the pots or containers. When pairing a Terra Trellis with a container, we find it best to stay classic and simple with bold, architectural planters that function as neutral accents for our trellises.
For the central container, we suggest going bigger when possible which will allow your plants more room to grow. We prefer monochromes (white, gray, terra cotta) and clean, natural textures, which will complement your plants without competing for attention with the plant and trellis.
Use a high-quality organic potting soil amended with vermiculite or perlite which will help retain moisture. The smaller the container, the more regularly you’ll have to water your plants.
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY
With balcony, patio, and deck gardens, less is often more. Be careful of crowding an already limited space with lots of competing features. We find it best to invest in a limited number of well designed garden products that will not only serve as eye-catching centerpieces of your outdoor space, but will prove much more sustainable and long lasting than a collection of mass produced pots and planters.
Living in an urban environment doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t enjoy local wildlife. Consider installing a trellis with a Bee Bungalow, a Bird Cafe and pollinator friendly plants to encourage winged visitors. Insects like butterflies and bees are not only fun to watch, but also help produce a healthier garden!
MAKE STRATEGIC PLACEMENTS
Nearly every gardener—especially those renting their homes—has to deal with unappealing features that can’t be easily removed. Whether this is an electrical outlet, chipping paint, or a neighbor’s messy yard, we’ve found that trellises and containers are often a perfect way to hide unattractive elements and block unsightly views.
DRAW THE EYE UPWARD
Vertical gardening is an ideal way to make the most of all outdoor spaces, especially small space gardens. One of our favorite ways to liven up a tiny patio garden is to hang a wall trellis like our Ina Wall Trellis, which encourages plants (and your eye) to climb upwards, making the space feel greener and lusher. This effect can also sometimes be achieved with window boxes. Our friends Chantal and Ryan at The Horticult have written a fabulous book How to Windowbox filled with lots of creative tips for stylish window box gardening.
MAKE IT AN ART INSTALLATION!
Containers and trellises can be a perfect way to experiment with year-round design and color. A flimsy mass-produced tomato cage can be replaced with a sculptural, colorful, geometric alternative like our Geo Tomato Cage which is attractive and artful in every season. When the garden goes gray and dormant, the trellis and pot become a permanent garden art installation.
Containers are incredibly adaptable. Small and light, they can easily be moved around if you feel like a garden redesign, or just want to experiment with different stylistic choices.
Both ornamental and edible gardens are highly sustainable. If you live in a city, the plants in your backyard will help to improve air quality and reduce noise pollution. It’s been scientifically proven that spending more time in green, outdoor spaces leads to better mental health and lower stress levels. Veggie gardens are particularly great for children, who become more willing to eat organic, green vegetables when they’ve participated in growing them.
We hope you're inspired to try your hand at container gardening. We're happy to answer any questions about how a Terra Trellis can be incorporated into your container gardening design plans!