Think your garden isn’t worth bothering with because you’re renting? And saving all your creativity for your ‘forever’ home?
Putting down roots in a rented garden can feel like you’re working for someone else, but with a little vision, you’re the one who’ll benefit every day, and the effects will be immediate. Bringing colour and nurturing growth is good for the soul, even if you only have a few weeks left on your tenancy. This is about more than a garden, it’s about you and how you choose to live right now.
Spring is here and we renters deserve a space to grow just like everyone else.
The ideas below are achievable, even in a super-small, concrete or shared space, and most importantly, they’re moveable. So whatever you grow in your garden can be taken with you to your next home, which can feel incredibly satisfying.
FIND THE LIGHT
Even if you’re working with just a small patch of concrete or a balcony, if there’s room for a chair there’s probably room for a plant pot too. Find the sun and before you know it, the space outside that wasn’t used, is where you’re enjoying a morning cuppa with the fragrance of jasmine wafting into your home.
Planters are your best friend when renting. They’re inexpensive and they keep your plants’ soil consistent for when you move, with no bulky equipment or heavy digging required. You can also start to experiment to establish your aesthetic with creeping plants like Honeysuckle, Clematis and Jasmine which make a big impact in a small space.
Got an old table that could be turned into a planter? An old mirror that can be used to create the illusion of space outside? Once you start thinking like this, you’ll find yourself looking at old furniture and junk shop finds as new green opportunities.
It’s easy to think small space means small plants. But a large shrub or tree can amplify a small space and bring some drama. It’s easy to find supersize, lightweight pots now, which look much heavier than they are. Place them on a flat trolly, surrounded by smaller pots to avoid awkward lifting when it’s time to move out.
There are fantastic planters available in all shapes and sizes in which you can plant a variety of bulbs and seeds. If you’re going for trees and larger shrubs choose planters with lockable wheels, you can camouflage the base with smaller pots and when it’s time to move on you can simply roll them away.
In smaller spaces use every inch of the walls, you can create a lovely effect by planting creepers in pots, with fairy light twinkling through the foliage; and living walls don’t have to be fixed, they’re available as hanging bags too. Easy to grow, easy to move with.
A little effort will help you enjoy the time you spend in your current home. But before you begin, have a chat about your plans with your landlord, particularly if planning living walls, or any structural additions, you’ll find most landlords will be delighted you’re using the space.
There’s a cultural tradition in east London that comes from the Warner Homes ethos, that the beauty of a shared garden or shared front porch is that you have to talk to your neighbours, which in turn helps build community.
If you’re sharing a garden, talk to your neighbours about your plans, they may even be keen to contribute and help with the work. It could be the start of something bigger than a gardening project, and just in time for summer.
If you need help choosing the right plants and flowers for your garden or balcony, chat to the folks at Lancaster’s Homes & Gardens on Hoe Street, they’ll be able to advise you.
Estates East Team
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