Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs

Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs

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by Fern Richardson
     
 

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Small? Yes. A concrete slab populated solely with plastic chairs and an abandoned grill? Not anymore.

Chances are your balcony, porch, or patio could use a major makeover. Fern Richardson, charismatic creator of the blog Life on the Balcony, is here to walk you through the process of beautifying a small space — even when your budget is just as small

Overview

Small? Yes. A concrete slab populated solely with plastic chairs and an abandoned grill? Not anymore.

Chances are your balcony, porch, or patio could use a major makeover. Fern Richardson, charismatic creator of the blog Life on the Balcony, is here to walk you through the process of beautifying a small space — even when your budget is just as small.

This exciting guide layers practical gardening fundamentals with creative solutions that encourage thinking outside the pot. Maybe this means repurposing a shipping pallet to create a colorful vertical garden of nasturtiums and lobelia. Or simply seeing walls, rafters, railings, and everything in between as fair game. You'll also learn how to tackle unique challenges, like windy conditions when gardening several stories above street level, and how to care for plants and troubleshoot with the best of them.

From design basics to essential plant picks, Small-Space Container Gardens proves you don't need a yard to have a garden. For anyone who wants more green in their life, it's time to get out there and start growing.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
You don’t need a yard in the suburbs to surround yourself with homegrown beauty and produce. Richardson, writer of an award-winning blog about gardening in tiny spaces, offers a comprehensive approach to getting started on a balcony or wee patio. The book is organized by principles (color, weather, wildlife, pests, etc.), which is particularly helpful for those just starting container gardening. For them, the book is filled with resources: planting schemes, do-it-yourself projects, short appendixes. Those with more gardening experience may find the plants Richardson highlights limiting. The author’s attention to succulents is distinctive; those forgiving plants lend themselves to the container gardening environment. Gardeners living in less mild climates than Richardson’s Southern California should remember that whatever is too delicate to winter outside must be hauled indoors for the duration, taking up what might be precious limited space. That said, container gardening is flexible, and Richardson makes it verdant, affordable, and fun. 150 color photos. (Feb.)
PM27 Blog
You don’t need a yard in the suburbs to surround yourself with homegrown beauty and produce. Richardson, writer of an award-winning blog about gardening in tiny spaces, offers a comprehensive approach to getting started on a balcony or wee patio. The book is organized by principles (color, weather, wildlife, pests, etc.), which is particularly helpful for those just starting container gardening. For them, the book is filled with resources: planting schemes, do-it-yourself projects, short appendixes. Those with more gardening experience may find the plants Richardson highlights limiting. The author’s attention to succulents is distinctive; those forgiving plants lend themselves to the container gardening environment. Gardeners living in less mild climates than Richardson’s Southern California should remember that whatever is too delicate to winter outside must be hauled indoors for the duration, taking up what might be precious limited space. That said, container gardening is flexible, and Richardson makes it verdant, affordable, and fun.
Chicago Tribune
“Ideas to help patio gardens look polished and planned.”
— Nara Schoenberg
Blue Planet Garden Blog.com
“Covers just about everything you want to know about container gardening. I absolutely love [it]!”
North Coast Gardening.com
“Covers just about everything you want to know about container gardening. I absolutely love [it]!”
Horticulture.com
“Fern’s DIY style is made easy and fun with numerous tutorials and crafts throughout the book.”
Orange County Register
“From selection of plants to illustrations of how to lay it all out, beginning and experienced gardeners alike will find plenty of inspiration.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Yes, you can do it all – attract wildlife, grow food, become one with your inner-nature-lover and work with limited lighting on porches, balconies and other small areas.”
Apartment Therapy
“Offers a generous list of funky containers.”
Calloway's Nursery
"Walks you through beautifying a small space, such as a balcony, porch, patio or small yard, even on a tight budget.”
Horticulture
"If you have ever dreamed of having a garden but are constrained by price or space, this is the book for you!"
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The ideas are perfect for folks in condominiums, rental houses — and homeowners looking to enhance established landscape features."
Curbly.com
"Packs a great deal of information in a small space."
VIV Magazine
“...shows us how to have an enviable garden without the acreage..."
The Vancouver Sun
"You’ll find the keys to creating an uncluttered, lush outdoor space that’s not only beautiful, but budget-friendly."
Nature's Footprint
Fern Richardson's delightful blog, Life on the Balcony, is chock-full of ideas for small-space gardening in containers, and now she has put some of her best ones into a beautifully written and designed book."
Green Upgrader
"A beautifully written and designed book."
Bill Holgan — MCT/ Tribune Papers
"One of the best new books on this topic."
Fort Worth Examiner
“It’s packed with gorgeous photographs—making it pleasant to browse through for quick inspiration. The author’s real-life take on small-space gardening makes reading the full text worthwhile."
PM27 Blog - Patricia McGoldrick
"If you have ever dreamed of having a garden but are constrained by price or space, this is the book for you!"
Chicago Tribune - Nara Schoenberg
"If you have ever dreamed of having a garden but are constrained by price or space, this is the book for you!"
Blue Planet Garden Blog.com - Kylee Baumle
“Ideas to help patio gardens look polished and planned.”
From the Publisher
“It’s packed with gorgeous photographs—making it pleasant to browse through for quick inspiration. The author’s real-life take on small-space gardening makes reading the full text worthwhile."
Bill Holgan — MCT/ Tribune Papers
"One of the best new books on this topic."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604692419
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/06/2012
Pages:
188
Sales rank:
502,449
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt


Preface
Container gardening on balconies, patios, porches, terraces, decks, rooftops, or even windowsills is a fun way for those of us without a “real” garden to still get our hands dirty. I find that gardening on my balcony satisfies my need to grow—herbs, peaches, nectarines, figs, blueberries, flowers, and succulents—while still leaving plenty of time and energy for other parts of my life. The space I’ve created, and the process of caring for it, is also my retreat. When my husband insists on practicing the same song on his guitar, over and over and over, I can easily escape to the relative peace and quiet of my balcony garden. Even though container gardens are inherently less wild than a traditional garden—they are, after all, contained—I love that it’s still possible to be surrounded with lushness, beauty, nature, privacy, and style.

Connected so intimately to our indoor living areas, balconies, patios, and porches also serve as a transitional space between inside and out that naturally invites personal touches and creativity. Many people love plants and keep on adding to their collection, but feel frustrated that their balcony or patio doesn’t reflect their unique style. That’s where having a design strategy comes into play. In the first part of the book you’ll learn how to make harmonious plant combinations and compositions, pick containers that are equally pleasing to plant and person, and utilize your space—on the floor, up the wall, over the railing—to its fullest potential. You’ll get ideas on redefining what makes a container a container, incorporating decorative touches, and, above all, unleashing your personality.

Throughout the book you’ll also find plenty of practical information that shows you how to deal with unique challenges, like the microclimate of a windy balcony or a patio that gets the brunt of every rain storm. The final two chapters give you a basic crash course in cultivating your container gardening green thumb, as well as troubleshooting some common balcony garden pests and diseases.

The five design chapters include multitudes of plant picks and tips to help you attract birds and beneficial insects to your garden, simultaneously satiate your hunger and your discerning eye, create a secret garden hidden away from nearby neighbors and noises, assemble a pathway of stunning succulents and fragrant plants, or luxuriate in a tropically themed refuge. I’ve included simplified design plans which you can use as inspirational blueprints or as jumping off points to mix and match plants from one chapter to another. No matter how you decide to use this book, I hope it motivates you to head outside and create your own oasis. You won’t regret it!
 

Meet the Author

Fern Richardson is the creator of the popular and critically-acclaimed garden blog, Life on the Balcony. A master gardener, amateur photographer, and garden designer, she lives in Long Beach, California, on a balcony with her many plants.

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Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
AVIDREADERDA More than 1 year ago
Great concept - I've been gardening for years but this book has some great and unique ideas that I love, i.e., use re-cycled coffee cans as plant containers. Book is well formatted and written and beautiful color pictures. Also many helpful hints about colors to incorporate into your garden. Wonderful for small spaces and could easily be expanded to use in larger spaces. A must read for anyone with a green thumb or even brown. Great LATE Christmas Gift too!!!
Berta31 More than 1 year ago
I'm an avid reader of Fern Richardson's blog, Life on the Balcony , and I have eagerly awaited her book. The pictures alone make the book worth buying, but there are also many great ideas for creating unique, fun and useful container gardens.
timetravel More than 1 year ago
As soon as the first frost hits here I am planning for next year’s plantings. Small-Space Container Gardens has already helped me start planning for our spring porch and deck. No matter what your available space, this book has something for you. The first few chapters set the scene by choosing colors, containers settings, and location. Following that there is information on attracting wildlife and growing food plants in containers. There is a section on succulents and scents, and a chapter on privacy planting. You can learn to create a vertical garden, and battle pests. There is even a green thumb crash course. This is just a brief summary of what is in this information packed book. The book helps with ideas for designing not just individual pots but, an entire patio or porch. There is something for the spacious areas for those who live in the country as well as those who have limited space in the city. Large or small, there are planting ideas for all. There are several projects for inexpensive pot upgrades and very unique ideas using thrift shop or found items. My favorite project was the beautiful garden table that would be so simple to create with only a few materials.
AccidentalOlympian More than 1 year ago
Part of it is my own fault, buying the book online and not checking out a look inside through Google or Amazon, but after hearing about the book through the publisher's newsletter I thought for sure it would be both informative AND beautiful because of Timber Press's reputation. The trim size first threw me off, what a handful to hold! And once I opened the book I was horrified. It was as if the designer was bored. Huge fonts with gaps of white space for no reason. Pictures seemed to be dropped onto pages with no thought to flow. The author is clearly passionate about container gardening and very knowledgeable and I feel like she was cheated out of a book people would recommend to others. With so many gardening books to choose from I feel like Timber Press got lazy. I would no recommend this book to anyone. Visit the author's blog instead and save yourself the money.