Urban Gardening Photos

  • 01 of 25

    Best Plants for Apartments

    Best Plants for Urban Apartments
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Turn your apartment into a garden. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers.

    There is no such thing as no space to garden, as these photos will attest. You can always squeeze in a container or two, even if it's on a shelf in the bathroom. Urban gardening takes many forms. Some urban gardeners make use of the small patch of soil near their front stoop, other head to the roof top. Some are even lucky enough to have a bit of lawn. Use this photo gallery to garner ideas for your own garden and then...MORE feel free to show it off and tell us a bit about your urban garden.

    The most common gardening fix for urbanites is houseplants. The good news and the bad news is there are lots of them to try. Having lived in some very small apartments, I can testify that plants eat space. But they make wonderful roommates; quiet, undemanding, they'll watch whatever bad movie you put on the TV. These 7 Houseplants are almost fail safe, if you'd like to get started.

    Continue to 2 of 25 below.
  • 02 of 25

    It All Starts with a Couple of Containers

    Fire Escape Window Box
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. A window box is one of the easiest ways to create an urban garden space. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    It's considered a hazard to put containers on a fire escape, but many people can't resist. It's often the only spot that gets sun. I have seen everything from a pot of basil to a 4-foot Brugmansia.

    Continue to 3 of 25 below.
  • 03 of 25

    City Window Box

    Blooming City Window Box
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Window boxes add a touch of country to a city street. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    Way up on the umpteenth floor, surrounded by other buildings, there really isn't much sun or space for a garden. This window box is the only one on the facade and it makes such a statement. It's a triumph. Imagine throwing open the curtain every day and watering these cheery flowers. It's much better than a bunch of cut flowers in a vase.

    Continue to 4 of 25 below.
  • 04 of 25

    City Street Container Gardens

    City Street Container Gardens
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Take a design cue from the wonderful containers in front of businesses on city streets. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    A lot of cities are taking the lead in bringing the garden into town. Don't overlook the containers in front of buildings and along the streets, when you go looking for inspiration. Yucca, Plectranthus, Strobilanthes (Persian Shield) and, of course, the colorful sun Coleus can all handle the abuse of city heat and pollution.

    Continue to 5 of 25 below.
  • 05 of 25

    Small Town Garden

    Small garden in town.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Small Town Spread. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    Even some small towns have their space limitations and gardeners should take their cues from their urban counterparts. This gardener is just starting to spread out. She started with a windowbox and some easy care, repeat blooming daylilies. Now hooks are popping up on the side of the house and containers are sprouting in the driveway. Even the small lawn is giving way to curving boarders. You never know how much space you have, until you start spreading out.

    Continue to 6 of 25 below.
  • 06 of 25

    Front Porch Flowers

    A colorful entrance to the front porch.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Line the steps to your porch with colorful flowers in pots. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    Whether or not you actually sit on your front porch, it can still be a great place to grow plants. Pots along the steps, boxes on the railing, hanging baskets and a few well chosen shrubs for privacy may be all you need to feel like you have a garden. You can even use it to grow edibles, especially herbs.

    A word of caution about that hanging basket over the stairs: Make sure it's high enough that you are not banging into it on the way in and watch out when you water it.

    Continue to 7 of 25 below.
  • 07 of 25

    Front Steps in Savannah.

    Savannah Front Yard Plants
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. A simple, yet striking planting in Savannah. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    It takes awhile to get the old world charm of walls covered in creeping vines, but this entrance in the Historic District of Savannah makes use of hardy native grasses, like liriope, for ground covers, as well as using one stately palm as a striking focal point.

    Continue to 8 of 25 below.
  • 08 of 25

    Front Yard Overflow Garden

    Front Yard Garden
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Even the "hell strip" between the sidewalk and the road can be turned into a garden spot. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    This gardener was not deterred by limited space in the backyard. The front yard is planted right out to the street and over the curb. Many cities and towns have rules about what can be planted close to the street, because of visibility concerns. For most gardeners, the concern is what will survive that close to hot hardscaping, car fumes and winter salting. The shrubs here are taking it in stride.

    Continue to 9 of 25 below.
  • 09 of 25

    Foundation Planting Outside the Box

    Foundation Planting on a City Lot
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. This neighborhood has used the limited space in front of their foundation to create a garden, rather than a screen of shrubs. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    Many urban homes have small front yards. Rather than wasting the space on some sad looking yews, take advantage of what you have. Start with a few colorful or flowering shrubs and build from there. Soon the whole house will be surrounded. Even the neighbors caught the bug here, carrying the colorful effusion down the road. This shrub and perennial boarder is no more difficult to maintain than trimming the yews would be and they bring much more pleasure.

    Continue to 10 of 25 below.
  • 10 of 25

    Roof Hopping

    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers.

    I wonder who planted first. The folks in these 2 buildings might never know they lived in a city. They've created a woodland fantasy in the middle of a somewhat commercial area of town. Everyone can't afford to do something on this large a scale, but start small and you'll see how much you gravitate outdoors and how plants just seem to follow you home.

    Continue to 11 of 25 below.
  • 11 of 25

    Small City Yard Garden in Portland, OR

    Small Front Yard Garden, in Portland, OR.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Packing in the plants makes every inch count, in a small front yard garden in Portland, OR. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti
    Continue to 12 of 25 below.
  • 12 of 25

    Small Garden Dining Area

    An intimate garden table.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. See how clustering plants can create an intimate garden dining spot. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    Can you tell what's beyond the screen behind the table. I can't and that's the whole point of this planting arrangement. I'm not sure how they manage to sit at this table, but planting in containers gives this garden flexibility. Of course, with no soil, there weren't many other options. Grow where you're planted.

    Continue to 13 of 25 below.
  • 13 of 25

    Small Urban Lawns

    Caring for a City Lawn
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. A patch of green is all you need to relax or entertain. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Sometimes all you want in your backyard is a place to relax and toss a ball around. Lawns are a precious commodity in urban areas and this homeowner does theirs justice. This is a lawn for hosting a party and sipping champagne.

    A lot of new homeowners have no idea how to care for a lawn and that's especially true for folks who have been raised in a city. If that strikes a chord, here are some small lawn tips from About.com's Lawn care Guide.

    Continue to 14 of 25 below.
  • 14 of 25

    Corner Pocket Garden

    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers.

    Small urban lots often have less than attractive fences. They may provide privacy, but you still have to look at them. This weathered gray fence makes a nice backdrop for a small garden of greens and textures. It's shady back there and you can see that the grass isn't very happy, but it's perfect for spreading Hosta and climbing ivy.

    Continue to 15 of 25 below.
  • 15 of 25

    Low Maintenance Backyard

    An Urban Woodland Retreat.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. The path doesn't lead out, but it makes for a fascinating walk. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    This small backyard looks more like a woodland. The 2 trees add height and architectural interest. The dappled shade comes from the fence and nearby buildings. They create the woodland feel with creeping ground covers, ferns and stone.

    Continue to 16 of 25 below.
  • 16 of 25

    Path to the Unknown

    A Contemplative Walk.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. A contemplative walk. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    Here's another take on creating the illusion of space in a small backyard. Rather than a woodland, this path is spilling over with a cottage feel. The path leads to a bench, with a view back at the garden.

    Continue to 17 of 25 below.
  • 17 of 25

    Finding Zen on a Busy Road

    Quiet shade garden along the roadside.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. A quiet retreat, despite the street. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    You don't need a lot of space to create a garden escape. This little retreat makes use of a side yard along the street. Some gardeners look at mature trees as a handicap for creating an urban garden, but they clearly were put to good use in this design.

    Continue to 18 of 25 below.
  • 18 of 25

    Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

    Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening on a Small City Lot.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. These raised beds in the small back yard help the gardener keep order in his landscape, while growing his own vegetables. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    If you have the space and you're a devoted vegetable gardener, maybe raised beds are the way to go. What's nice about these structures, besides being able to bring in fresh soil, is that the yard is able to maintain some degree of order and formality, despite being so profusely planted. And just think of how many vegetables you could be harvesting if you turned your whole backyard into a garden!

    Continue to 19 of 25 below.
  • 19 of 25

    Potting Shed Rooftop Garden

    Rooftop Garden on Potting Shed
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Why let the potting shed go to waste?. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    If you'd like to try your hand at creating a rooftop garden, a fun way to start is on top of your potting shed or even your dog's house. This was a display garden at the Philadelphia Flower Show. There are many plans online that discuss how to compensate for the weight, building a frame and ensuring drainage. They can be difficult to water, so be sure to choose drought tolerant plants. Low growing Sedum and other succulents are always a good choice

    Continue to 20 of 25 below.
  • 20 of 25

    Rooftop Rain Garden

    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers.

    This rooftop in Oregon is a demonstration rain garden. Soil, gravel and plants are carefully placed to absorb and purify rain water as it is directed into a cistern below. Rain gardens are a great way to control pollutants that can get caught in runoff water and make their way back into our water supply. Ground level water gardens are good do it yourself projects, but putting one on your roof really requires some professional consulting.

    Continue to 21 of 25 below.
  • 21 of 25

    Living Walls

    Vertical Gardening - Gardening on the Walls of a House
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Living walls, a type of vertical gardening, are a new trend in urban gardening. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    Living walls, walls with special fixtures that allow you to plant vertically, are becoming increasingly popular. They can be difficult to maintain because they're hard to water and the plant's roots don't have very much room to develop, but I've seen some that were very impressive. This is a display at the Philadelphia International Flower Show that makes use of a lot of tropical plants. Generally I've seen them done with either creeping plants or some type of succulent, like...MORE sedum. Plants that are drought tolerant seem to work out best.

    Continue to 22 of 25 below.
  • 22 of 25

    Small City Terrace Garden in New York City

    An example of a small city terrace garden oasis.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Here's an example of a small city terrace garden oasis. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    With a small corner of open air to call their own, this gardener has somehow included trees, clinging ivy, a dining spot and even a couple of pieces of garden art. They have personalized and otherwise wasted space.

    Continue to 23 of 25 below.
  • 23 of 25

    Terrace Garden Walkway

    Comparison of a terrace garden and a plain city terrace.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. This terrace garden shows what a huge differace a few plants can make. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    I shot this photo from a nearby building, so I'm not certain all these plantings are connected, but since this is the only floor with plants, it appears that the terrace wraps around the building. How lucky to be living on that floor. What struck me about this terrace is that each window planting has a look of its own. The flowers are varied, one has a box hedge, a couple have hanging baskets and one is draped in ivy. It seems different gardeners got a say in what was planted, but it all...MORE flows together and provide lovely privacy. (Except for nearby neighbors with cameras.)

    Continue to 24 of 25 below.
  • 24 of 25

    Country on a City Terrace

    City Terrace Flower Garden
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. Storage, hoses, wrought iron seating - it's almost like being in the country. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    This gardener has brought the country to them. There are built in planters, wind chimes, a storage shed, awning for a little shade and even a trough of grass. It just goes to show that you can built any style garden you covet, anywhere you live.

    Continue to 25 of 25 below.
  • 25 of 25

    Rooftop Terrace Gardens

    A full blown garden on a terrace.
    Urban Gardening Ideas, from Rooftops to Small BackYards and Containers. A fine example of how to turn your terrace into a garden paradise. Photo: ©Marie Iannotti

    How about this for a view. You would hardly know you're living in a high rise. I wonder if ivy was the first green wall? Look closely at how many trees are on these terraces. There are also several clustered containers and a nice use of red and orange foliage, for contrast against all that green and as a complement to the brick.