Are you wondering how do you garden when you are renting? I’ve got some great tips for you on gardening for renters, so do read on.

I talk a lot about gardening and growing your own here on Moral Fibres. But what if you’re one of a growing number of renters, and have caught the green-fingered bug?  Never fear, I’ve got some great tips on gardening for renters!

gardening tips for renters

Having lived in my fair share of rented properties (14! What can I say, I moved around a lot as a student/young adult…!), I’ve lived in the entire spectrum of flats.  From inner-city flats with no gardens, flats with a concrete yard, to flats with balconies, and flats/houses with gardens large and teeny tiny.

I’ve also experienced the entire landlord spectrum.  From the landlords who don’t mind what you do to the flat or the garden, as long as it’s clean and tidy when you move out (my personal favourite). To the landlords who won’t let you do as much as hang a picture on your wall, and every other type of landlord in between.

Gardening for Renters

Whatever your flat and landlord situation is, then there are lots of options for gardening for renters, and for growing your own to suit.

I’ve written from my own experience and I’ve asked gardening pro, Lyndsey Haskell, for some advice on gardening for renters too. However, if we’ve missed any key advice then do add it in the comments below:

Be Patient

If you have moved into a flat/house with a garden and an easy-going landlord who doesn’t mind what you do to your garden, then Lyndsey wisely suggests waiting. She says “it really pays to be patient and try to wait a year to see what is in the garden before you dig everything over. There may be some fabulous perennial plants ready to pop up at different times of the year.”

Keep Things Portable

Lyndsey also says “it’s a lot of work to dig over a garden. And you never know when you’ll move out and want to take your plants with you. So to avoid planting things in the soil, it’s worth building a small raised bed or getting some containers or gro-bags which you can easily transport when you move. These solutions are really handy as you can better control the soil you are using too and it gives you a blank canvas for growing what you would like“.

balcony gardening for renters

Containers, tubs, and gro-bags are highly recommended by me too for gardening when you are a renter.  One rented flat I lived in a few years ago had a balcony no bigger than the one pictured above.  We filled it with pots, plastic tubs, a washbasin, old pots, etc. This allowed us to be self-sufficient in lettuce, nasturtiums, chillies, herbs, and strawberries for the whole summer.  

It’s a cheap and easy non-permanent gardening for renters solution. And you can take your tubs with you when you move.  It’s also great for gardens where the landlord won’t allow you to make any changes.  For growing larger items, large plastic trugs make handy portable planters. Although do remember it might require a few people to help lift it when you do move again.

What If You Have No Outdoor Space?

Container gardening is also a good option for renters. Particularly if you have a concrete yard, or if your only outdoor space is a doorstep.  While the old classic, window boxes, are great for growing herbs and lettuce in if you have absolutely no outdoor space whatsoever.

Image from Weekday Carnival

If you move into a rented flat with no outdoor space, but want to garden, then Lyndsey suggests some space-saving techniques. She says “the best things to grow indoors are some herbs and salad that don’t take up too much space. Pick ones that you use a lot in your cooking, such as rosemary basil, parsley, and lettuce. And to maximise plant growing space think about suspending your pots on different levels using macrame or even invest in a fancy sky planter“.

Here’s a handy tutorial to make a trendy (yes, trendy, it’s true!) macrame plant pot holder if you’re feeling inspired.  Otherwise, window ledges make great plant growing spots.  If there’s a radiator under the window just remember you’ll have to water your plants more frequently as they tend to dry out faster.

Share A Garden

what vegetable seeds to grow in March in the UK

Lyndsey’s final word of advice on gardening for renters is about sharing. She says “alternatively, share your gardening space with other people. This might mean helping out a neighbour in their garden or sharing an allotment with friends. Or in some cases, joining in with a community garden. If you’re short on space or time, it takes the pressure off. It also means you get to share the work with other people and benefit from their wisdom“.

If this is for you then there are lots of garden share schemes popping up around the country. You can sign up for an allotment via your local council.  You can also find local community garden schemes here that you can take part in to get growing.   

And, as always, please add your advice and suggestions on gardening for renters in the comments below!

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