Love the idea of growing your own fresh, pesticide free produce and herbs but believe you can’t because you’re a little short on yard space? Well, thanks to a hip new gardening trend that may no longer be the case.
Gutter gardens have been growing in popularity as those short on space have found them to be a great – and relatively easy to implement – way to to indulge their need for green. . Perfect for patios, decks and porches, as well as tiny yards, these space-saving, sustainable little gardens provide a way for anyone to cultivate fruits, veggies, eye-catching blooms and more, with the added benefit that they certainly lend a rather lovely natural aesthetic to your outdoor décor scheme as well.
Planning Your Gutter Garden
The first step in the creation of any gutter garden is deciding just where you want to place it. All you really need is a sunny space that catches the sun three to four hours a day, so that could mean attached to porch or deck railings, in the places where traditional window boxes are usually found, adorning a plain fence or garden wall and more.
Sourcing your materials should not be that hard either. If you are going for brand new you will find that your local home store stocks a variety of guttering in in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, including plastic, aluminum or copper. You can choose one long gutter, or go for several shorter pieces for use as accents or to create a stacked design. People are getting pretty darn creative with their gutter gardening efforts so there is no reason that you shouldn’t too.
If you have older guttering lying around in a shed someplace, or maybe you have recently replaced some of the guttering around your home (as you may have to once every several years to ward off water damage issues) that can be used to create a slightly vintage looking garden, great if you like the ‘shabby chic’ vibe.
Getting Things in Place
Before you begin mounting your gutters don’t forget your new garden’s ‘contents’ will need a drainage system. You can achieve this in one of two ways; either drill holes in the bottoms of your gutters, or hang them at a slight angle so that excess water drains away harmelessly (in which case be careful that they will not be draining onto walls or too close to your home’s foundation.) That done, ensure your gutters are securely hung, and then fill them with a good quality potting soil.
So what can you grow in your new gutter garden? All of the following should thrive beautifully with minimum effort on your part:
Herbs: mint, chives, parsley, cilantro, scallions, marjoram, thyme
Flowers: pansies, violas, marigolds
Greens: ornamental lettuces, chard, kale, spinach, arugula,scallions
Vegetables: radishes, beets and shallow carrot varieties
Thanks to their elevated existence, gutter gardens will also resist rabbits, bugs, slugs and other pests that roam on the ground grubbing for food. The added height also makes gutter gardens easier to harvest than ‘normal’ gardens, with no excessive bending over. They are great for renters too, as they don’t involve making any permanent changes that might annoy the landlord!
Not sure what gutter gardens can actually end up looking like? Check out the gallery below for some inspiration: