Big gardens in small spaces

As long as you’ve got a blank wall or a bare fence, you can tend edibles, annuals, even perennials with these vertical gardening ideas. Here’s how to get started with the latest green-thumb trend vertical Gardens


The average British garden is getting smaller. This doesn’t mean that your garden is shrinking overnight, rather it means that the increasing number of families choosing to live in flats rather than houses, often with little or no garden, is skewing the statistics. Space in cities comes at a premium and a growing trend in 2017 for the green thumbed city dweller, is the vertical garden. Exactly as it sounds, vertical gardening is growing the garden up an outside wall. Lush walls of fern can now cover that unattractive grey, pebble dash wall, you can even grow a vertical herb garden. Here are some tips to inspire and interest anybody with access to their own outside wall.

Pick your wall

Choosing the right wall is as important as choosing the right spot in your garden. Does it get a lot of sunshine? Does it get shade? Is it open to the elements, or is partially protected? Assess your wall and the conditions it offers, and pick your plants accordingly. Don’t plant a sun seeker, if your wall is perpetually in the shade.

Create your frame

A vertical wall can be as expensive – and expansive – as you want it to be. If your goal is just to encourage a bit of green, affix a small bamboo trellis to the base of your wall. If you want to go big, but don’t necessarily have the budget to do so, climb a ladder and fix a maze of wire to your wall. You will be limited to climbers, but that is no bad thing.
On the other end of the scale, and if you want to have more choice about the plants you grow against your wall, you will have to create a frame for your plants. Either build or buy your frame, ideally a plastic frame as it is lighter than metal and needs less looking after than a wood. You will need to protect your wall from the roots of the plants and from water, so cover the frame with plastic backing. You should then cover this plastic backing with a more water retentive material.

Make a choice as to how you want to water your plants. The simplest way would be to use a hose, but if your wall is going to end up out of the reach of a hose, then you should install some form of irrigation.

Once you have installed any trellis or frame, it’s time to add your plants. 

Fill your garden


Choose the most suitable plants for your frame and your wall. Don’t choose plants that require drastically different conditions to each other, as you will only ever be able to keep half of them alive. Try and choose plants that all require the same sort of looking after.

South/West facing walls:


Asiatic Jasmine (climber)

Rose 'Albé (climber)
Rose ‘Albé (climber)
Petunia (climbing)
Petunia (climbing)

North/East facing walls

Virginia creeper (climber)
Virginia creeper (climber)
Fern (climber)
Fern (climber)
Bergenia Rotblum
Bergenia Rotblum
Busy Lizzie ‘Sun Harmony’

Fruit and vegetables

Strawberries and thyme for sunny walls; and Lettuce, parsley and chives for walls in the shade.

Strawberry (Climber)
Strawberry (Climber)

Once you’ve got your plants in place, make sure you maintain them as you would any other plant in the ground, and let nature take its course!

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Happy gardening!