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Planting an Outdoor Garden in Small Spaces

The sun is finally making an appearance after a long winter, and once the snow and ice are cleared from your balconies, it may be time to consider using them! Space is limited in Boston, so consider yourself lucky to have an outdoor place to call your own. Now, accentuate it! Creating a simple and elegant balcony or rooftop garden isn't hard to do if you have a little patience and plenty of sun.

  1. Plan your garden. Make a list of your favorite potted plants and flowers and research when they are in season.  Draw a map to scale of your patio or balcony to decide what you will place where. Take consideration for where the sunniest spots are, or what areas receive the most wind. Don't forget to leave room for a few chairs so you can enjoy your garden spot in the sun.
  2. Worried about having a balcony that's too small? Vertical growth is always an option. Consider planting a trellis or building an outdoor shelving unit for potted plants. Hanging pots are also great for smaller areas.
  3. Consider an umbrella or some sort of shade to protect your plants from very hot days with intense sun- added bonus: this can protect you from hot days too!
  4. Use wooden containers for potting. These are the most insulating during the winter and won't crack the way terracotta or plastic would.
  5. Place gravel in the bottom of pots for drainage, and remember to water your plants regularly. Plants in containers dry out more frequently than those placed in natural soil.
  6. Vary your plant selection. Incorporate bushier shrubs if you have an excess of flowers, or use evergreen plants which can add depth to your variety of greenery.
  7. Be careful to not place plants on railings or edges where they are likely to fall during windy days and cause a problem with your neighbors!
  8. Pests and insects are something to be wary of, but be careful using chemicals or pesticides in residential buildings where you could pollute the air.
  9. For food lovers, you may not have space for fruit and vegetable plants, but small herb gardens in pots are a great way to spice up your outdoor garden.
  10. The more space you have, the more you can include! Furniture is always a plus for enjoying your balcony with friends.

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