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Urban Gardening: Getting Creative With What You Have

by Amanda

Rose Bush Garden
When I moved into my house, there were already two rose bushes. This white one is about six feet tall and blooms over my fence, giving people walking by a show and plenty of blooms to pick!

As a garden lover and someone who works for a gardening company, each year I really strive to get the most out of my outdoor space and give myself plenty of projects to do in my gardens – which altogether are about 150 square feet. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of creativity, patience and A LOT of containers.


This is the year I finally did it – I built a raised garden bed in my tiny yard. I had to build a raised bed to plant veggies because my house was built in the 1800s and most likely has lead in the soil.

Veggie starts in the garden
I got my veggie starts from a local farm for only $25 total --- A great deal.

This garden serves several purposes:

  • It helps create a barrier between my yard and my neighbor’s yard
  • It gives me about 25 sq. feet more garden space
  • It gives me delicious veggies!
Veggie Raised Bed
The garden also serves as a barrier between my yard and my neighbors'.
Assorted veggies growing in raised bed
Planting was easy and my plants are doing great, despite the somewhat spotty sunlight between the two houses.

Now, I looked online and on Pinterest at what a raised garden bed would cost to purchase, and decided that me (and my handy boyfriend) could just build one ourselves with lumber from the local hardware store.

So, we did! The lumber cost about $80 and the dirt came to about $120. So altogether, around $200 and about 2 hours of work., which is much better than the prices in the store ($300-$400 for just the structure).

Morning Glories
Morning Glories are coming up! These will add some color to my veggie garden and also some privacy from the porch next door.
Baby eggplants in the garden
Baby eggplants in the garden!

Because I wasn’t sure whether or not we were going to build the raised bed, I didn’t get a chance to start my veggie seeds indoors. Instead, I purchased organic starter plants from my local Farmer’s Market. They came from a farm just a few miles from my house and for about 20 or so plants, I only spent $25. I also added Morning Glories and a small trellis to the garden to give it a little summer color and also provide some privacy from the porch next door.

The plants are doing AMAZING despite my worry that there might not be enough sun. The squirrels don’t seem too interested in it yet, so that’s a good start (knock on wood).


If you run out of space in your own garden, think outside the box – literally! Each year, we try to plant Wildflowers in the medians in front of our house. Unfortunately, due to our harsh winters and the amount of salt that gets pushed onto these spaces by plow trucks, they never last more than one year. So we plant annuals each year.

Wildflower Sprouts Street Median
After only a few weeks, our Wildflower planting in the median is coming up strong. The rain sure helped!

This year we built a little stone reinforcement around our planting to help keep the seed from washing away. We planted the Summer Splash Mix and it has grown so much in just a few weeks after planting.


Containers are a city gardener’s best friend, and this year I took my plantings one step further with sap buckets from a friend. They changed the regulations on the metal that can be used, so he had a lot of extra buckets leftover. I drilled holes in the bottoms and planted Dahlias, Caladium and Gladiolus in them.

Containers filled with soil
Containers are a city gardener's best friend.
gladiolus bulbs planted in container
Plenty of Gladiolus fit in this container! They take up almost no horizontal space and are great for deep containers.

These are perfect containers because they are tall, giving the plants’ roots plenty of room to grow. I also get annuals from my local garden center to spruce things up before my garden goes gangbusters in the summer.


I try to keep my small garden beds blooming all season long. I am fortunate enough to have moved into a space that has rose bushes original to the house – needless to say, they are gorgeous and provide a sweet fragrance both on my side of the fence and on the street for walkers-by. Throughout the years, I’ve added Daylilies, Hostas, Bleeding Heart, Peonies and Salvia to the gardens.

Pink Roses
Yellow Daylily

I’ll post again in a few weeks when my Wildflowers and Bulbs are blooming. It’s so much fun to watch people walk by and pick a bloom or two. Happy first day of summer, all!