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vertical gardening

How a Backyard Burden Became Backyard Bliss 

by Erin Spencer / November 6, 2017

All too often designers need to be reminded not to focus on form over function. However, in order to truly have complete functionality within a space one must think creatively otherwise it would be impossible to achieve.When we were given this project back in February we knew it was going to be a challenge. Before, the entire space was virtually unusable for entertaining, and the homeowners would rarely go outside. The stairs needed support beams to be sturdy, but other than that no thought was put into the function of the space under the stairs, especially since it was in such a small yard.        After we got our hands on it, however, that all changed. By simply using techniques and design elements we were already comfortable with, we were able to utilize every inch of space. The stairwell's height actually turned out to be one of its greatest assets when we installed this vertical herb garden along the side. Stairs are a perfect place to put a garden like this, because if you put a planter box at every other stair you'll know they'll be evenly spaced and look great! Because there was equipment under the stairs, we also created a gate out of the same material used for the vertical garden creating a seamless finish, as well as adding mesh along the side to allow vines to grow up. Not mentioned above, we also created this fire pit/planter box combo allowing for even more utility despite our lack of dimensions. We finished the entire design with our signature cement pavers and gorgeous yellow pots and now this backyard is fit for any home!

Tips n Tricks: Vertical Gardening and Pests

by Rodney Stoutenger / June 25, 2012

After seeing our instagram post on vertical gardening, Bill T. of Florida had this comment:
....hanging and growing tomatoes upside down...this did not work very well for us here.
 The soil in florida only holds a plant upright until the squirrels, raccoons, or other critters eat them, or the weeds that grow 3 ft a day crowd them out.  We tried everything.
Our response to help in the situation:The raccoons and squirrels are always a problem! Although, annoying as it may be, they are just looking for food as well! Vertical gardening now has so may wonderful options these days! The 'upside down' tomato planters were just a start! Vertical gardening has become extremely popular in areas where the horizontal space has become limited; condos, apartments, courtyards, etc. More and more so as humans began building up, verses out! (Like NYC :) )When using a 'upside down' planter to grow veggies such as tomatoes, you want to make sure you are using an organic potting soil mix. These mixtures contain plenty of organic nutrients in order for the plants to thrive in un-ordinary conditions (containers verses in the ground). These un ordinary conditions gives the plant limited resources. That's why we want to make sure we supply a potting mix that is rich in organic material. It is also important to make sure to give the plant materials for drainage and to air its root system; perlite, expanded shale, even small amounts of decomposed granite.Native Edge Landscape is located in Austin, TX , so our growing conditions are very similar to yours in Florida. Same with the critters! There are plenty of options available to use to protect tender plant material such as the veggies and herbs at your local garden centers. Here we like to use a light netting, this tends to be plenty to keep the little paws off our veggies, while still allowing sun light to the plant.Other great organic alternatives to keep the critters off of your plants in general is the use of cajan pepper, old CDs strung in near by trees for the birds, some have said cinnamon sticks placed near the veggie gardens help keep the paws off! But remember, these pest are still beneficial! So, if we want to keep them off one plant, plant another for them to survive on! They might be pests now, but what happens when they are gone? Birds love trees with dense branching, squirrels and raccoons tend to love trees with berries and nuts, and shrubs to hide in. Mixing these types of plantings into the landscape can also distract them from our produce!To get back to the vertical gardening you will notice with some Google research that fishing line plays a huge role in keeping soil retention and plant material secure until they have established root systems to hold their own. Another 'green' role that vertical gardening and green roofs play here in the central Texas area, is that it keeps the sun's heat off of our homes. The moist soils, and plant material help absorb the heat!After the long ramble, again I want to thank you for your interest in the gardening world! Oh! And for another good article on Vertical Gardening, check out this one! (via  Jenny Peterson)