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DIY Urban Gardening: Gardening Projects for Small Spaces

diy urban gardening

This Spring, Urbane communities are going to be bringing urban gardening and edible landscaping to residents. Not familiar with urban gardening or edible landscaping? Urban gardening and edible landscaping are methods for transforming traditional gardening and bringing it to cityscapes. You can read all about both on our intro blog we posted last month.

Now we want to introduce ways for you to build your own urban gardening projects in your own apartment! There are many ways to do urban gardening at home, by yourself and without a lot of space. Let’s get started with a few fun projects you can try today.

Build a container garden

upside down planters

Believe it or not, but you can make just about anything into a mini garden. Some people have used wheelbarrows, some use yogurt containers, others use tires, and other objects to grow plants, herbs and flowers at home.

One of our favorite innovative urban gardening projects comes from Design Sponge for Recycled Upside Down Planters. It is fun and pretty easy to do:


  • tin cans w/ plastic resealable lid or plastic liter soda bottles
  • a wire clothing hanger
  • fabric scraps
  • scissors and an exacto knife
  • hair dryer (if using plastic water bottles)
  • can opener (if using tin cans)
  • plants (herbs work well for these, also tomatoes and some flowers)
  • duct tape
  • spray adhesive (optional)
  • drill (or a hammer and a nail will work – this is for making small holes)
  • potting soil
  • coffee filters or landscape fabric scraps
  • wire cutters and pliers


  • soil/plants: $10
  • duct tape: $5
  • containers: free, on hand

instructions for can planter:

  1. Peel labels off the can, then wash and dry the can thoroughly.
  2. Use a can opener to remove the bottom of the can.
  3. Make holes in the disc that was the bottom of the can. you can use a drill with a tiny bit, or a hammer and nail. use the hammer to flatten any loose bits of metal that pop up from the holes, for safety. also make two holes in the sides of the can 1/4″ from the bottom, equidistant from each other, and on opposite sides of the can. these are for hanging the planter.

Keep it Fresh and Grow the Basics:

mini herb garden

Make your kitchen fresh and cook with herbs straight from your own mini garden! Starting out with something simple, like a mini herb garden, is a great way to dip your toes into gardening. They are relatively low maintenance and give you the opportunity to grow your favorite herbs right at home.

How to make your own mini herb garden:

Materials Needed:

  • Starter herbs as many as you want (be sure that they all fit in your container, and I recommend you to get them from local Farmers’ Market)
  • Potting soil
  • Small plastic containers of some sort (any kind of and any size of)
  • Big plastic container for plate
  • String or yarn
  • Wooden sticks from chopstick or popsicle stick (to make herbs name label) – optional
  • A piece of cardboard (size:3 X 2cm for each herb) – optional
  • Used coffee grounds – optional


  • Double-sided tape or hot glue
  • Scissors
  • Awl or some thing that makes holes in things
  • Water-based pen – optional


  • After you have all of your materials and tools, make holes at the bottom of the container using your awl to drain water from soil.
  • Wrap the String: There are two ways to wrap the string, but I recommend to use double-sided tape because it’s easy, and you don’t need to worried about making a mistake, such as burning yourself.
  • Attach the tape on the whole outside of the container.
  • Wrap string on the taped container. When you start wrapping string, make room at the very edge of the container to untie the string. (Using glue: apply glue on the side of the containers and begin wrapping string around outside of the containers. All steps are pretty same with using double-sided tape)
  • Mix soil with used coffee grounds at the ration of nine to one.(used coffee grounds have effect of fertilizer for your herbs)
  • Prepare Herbs to Plant: Take herbs out of the existing container, and remove  the soil from the herbs gently because it might damage the root of herbs.
  • Transplanting: Plant herbs into the middle of the container, and cover with the mixed soil
  • Then, gently press the soil to release any air pocket.

Instructions for making the label:

  • Take your cardboard piece(3.5X2cm) and write down the name of the herb on it with water-based pen. ( I got the cardboard from the coffee holder of my favorite cafe)
  • Then, take your stick(make sure the length of the stick. I recommend to have double length of the container).
  • Attach the double-sided tape on one side of it, and wrap the string or yarn whatever you’d like on the tape. It’s better make a room to attach the name label at the end of the stick.
  • Now you can attach the label on the top of the stick and poke the name label in front of the herb.

Instructions for making a plate for your plants:

  • Take the bigger container to make a plate. It is used salad plastic container, so we need to cut the lid and make two plates.
  • Then, do the same thing(step 3). Attach the double-sided tape on the each side of the container and wrap the string or yarn on it.
  • Place your herbs on the plate. VOILA!

Get Creative!

creative gardening containers

There are so many different ways to transform everyday objects into gardening planters and containers. Urban gardening tackles limited space through creativity and the use of recycled materials.

Notable projects we love transform shoes into planters, and the innovative way people are transforming old tires into planters. Another favorite project of ours takes strainers and turns them into hanging planters – so cool!

Urban gardening is an incredibly cool way to bring the natural world indoors, and into the heart of cities everywhere. So when you are thinking about ways to bring plants into your own home, don’t be afraid to get creative. You can get creative, and use every day objects or flea market finds to make incredible gardening projects.

Let us know what you thinking in the comment section below and share your gardening projects and ideas with us! Stay tuned to our blog for fun, creative content all about eat, shop and play around Detroit. Plus we will continue to post content about urban gardening and edible landscaping throughout the spring and summer!

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