How to Grow a Garden When You Don't Have a Backyard

container gardens
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If you love gardening but don’t have a backyard, you can still grow beautiful plants from seeds — all you have to do is get creative. Instead of using dirt in the ground, why not use some containers or mount some old pallets on the wall and go vertical? Or if you’re really limited on outdoor space, you can even try gardening indoors.

There are so many different ways to grow a garden when you don’t have a backyard, and most of them are pretty simple. We spoke with a couple of experts to provide you with some inspiration for your gardening.

Meet the Expert

  • Nick Cutsumpas is a plant coach, urban gardener, and landscape designer known as Farmer Nick.
  • Teri Valenzuela is the Natural Science Manager at Sunday.
  • Jeff Hooper is the Grounds Manager at RT Lodge.

Create a Container Garden

Container gardening is your best bet when you don't have a backyard, it's an easy wait to grow plants and can be just a fruitful as growing outdoors. “You can grow most types of plants in container gardens whether you’re going for a productive garden of fruits and vegetables or a decorative flower garden," says Jeff Hooper, the grounds manager at RT Lodge.

Opt for wooden troughs, terracotta pots, recycled buckets, or even an old bathtub or sink for your containers. Terri Valenzuela, the natural science manager at Sunday, recommends making efficient use of your space by using wall-mounted containers or hanging planters to grow vertically.

Plus, container gardens have great benefits besides being perfect for people with no backyards. “Container gardens are great for managing pests in soil because soil can be changed year to year to reduce pests on successive crops,” Hooper says.

Make Sure Your Space Is Pollinator Friendly — No Matter What Space It Is

Whether you plant in containers, place pots on a balcony, or use window boxes, you’ll want to ensure you’re adding pollinator-friendly plants. Plants that attract bees and other pollinators aren't limited to just flowers, they can also be herbs or vegetables. “These plants can encourage increased pollination to other plants, provide food and habitat to seasonal pollinators, and continue to be a great investment as they grow back year after year,” Valenzuela says. This will ensure that all of your plants will do well regardless of their type. 

Start Microgreens

Sometimes you need to go indoors if you have no outside space. Planting microgreens is an easy indoor gardening activity. Not only are they tasty and an excellent addition to salads and sandwiches, but they will also do well in a sunny spot in a window if you don’t have space for a grow light. 

“Microgreens are packed with flavor and nutrition, and they will be ready to harvest around 7-14 days," says Nick Cutsumpas, otherwise known as Farmer Nick. "I use a heat mat and a grow light to germinate the seeds, and grow light will sustain their growth until you're ready to eat them.”

Propagate Herbs

Growing a garden when you don’t have a backyard requires a bit of creativity. Propagating herbs is an affordable way to add some greenery to your indoor spaces.

“Take a cutting at the stem between the leaves at a 45-degree angle and place it in a glass jar full of water," Custumpas says. "Once the roots reach about two inches long, you can replant it in potting soil and let it turn into an entirely new plant.” This is a great way to save money on buying more herbs and it's also fun to watch your propagated plants grow roots and flourish after being repotted.

Grow With Hydroponics

Hydroponic gardening systems are really great if you have the counterspace. You can grow so many cool plants and even food to add to your meals. It’s one of the best things to use if you love gardening but don’t have any outside space to do it.

“I'd recommend a hydroponic system like the Lettuce Grow Nook,” Custumpas says. “ It can grow 20 plants in such a small amount of space, and it literally takes just ten minutes of maintenance each week. I literally can't eat the food fast enough.”