The warm sunny days are finally here, and it’s time to create your perfect urban oasis. With a little bit of creativity and thoughtful design, you can transform your own balcony or a windowsill into a lush urban garden.
Growing flowers, herbs and veggies is a fun, unwinding activity. Many people notice that gardening helps reduce stress level and anxiety while increasing positive emotions. However, most importantly, urban gardening has a huge positive impact on the environment. While growing our own organic plants, we also create food and shelter for many beneficial insects and pollinators.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Understanding how you will use your space is key. Whether you want to create an urban garden on your balcony, patio, terrace or rooftop, it is important to identify the size and function of the space first. The more practical it is, the more inspired you will be to take care of it.
If you design your urban oasis in a small space, think of it as an extension of your home. Using a similar style, would give a cohesive, harmonious feeling. Firstly, place your furniture (tables, chairs, etc.) the way you feel comfortable. Then utilise the rest of the room with container pots, hanging and vertical planters.
Light And Colours
Light is yet another key component for a sensible urban garden. Choose the plants according to their sun needs. Most of the plant nurseries and stores would have the info of needs for each plant they sell.
In the race of creating our own leafy green jungle, we are often overdoing the variety of plants, which ends in a cluttered look. Less is more! :) Pick a couple of your favourite herbs, veggies and flowers that would complement each other in hues and shapes.
Why have a bee hotel?
Like you probably know, many bee colonies are collapsing and endangered of disappearing. We must do everything we can to save our pollinators. And one part of the solution is to increase the number of wild solitary bees, like Mason bees. Therefore, hosting a bee hotel is a small but important step in this direction.
Mason Bees do not have a hive, do not build wax comb and do not make honey. Nevertheless, they are excellent pollinators, 120 times more effective than honey bees or bumblebees. They work alone, and all of the pollen they collect stays with them. They also build their own little Maisons in tiny tube-shaped places where they lay eggs.
Mason bees emerge early in the spring and pollinate an enormous amount of trees and flowers. They have a peculiar way of collecting pollen, powdering it all over on their body. For that reason, Mason bees have a 95% pollination rate, where honeybees have a 5% pollination rate.
These bees are absolutely adorable to observe while they buzz around the garden and skillfully build their little houses. They are also not aggressive and usually don’t sting.
There are around 164 of the approximately 600 wild bee species native to Switzerland living in Zurich. We can help these incredible pollinators, providing them with a safe bee home in our urban gardens. You can find these hotels in different sizes and structures. You can either buy it at one of the garden stores (Coop Bau+Hobby; Do it + Garden Migros, etc.) or at the companies like Wildbiene + Partner, who would provide some extra care for your bee hotel during the winter season.
We had a chance to record the life cycle of Mason Bees in our urban garden. From building their houses and laying eggs to the following spring, when new bees are hatching. You can check it in the video below.
Get to know seasonal vegetables and herbs
Do a little research or visit the closest flower nursery to check which greens are native to your region and get to know seasonal veggies. Those would grow the fastest and easiest. Also, seasonal local flowers are the most beneficial for the local pollinators like bees, bumblebees and butterflies.
As for the herbs like basil, rosemary and thyme, they would make a wonderful aromatic little garden on your windowsill all year round. During the summer season, you can also bring them out to your garden.
Upcycle pots, jars and bottles
Your urban garden is also a great place to showcase your sustainable lifestyle. You can utilise glass jars and bottles, turning them into watering cans, candle holders and vases. In addition, you can create vertical planters from wooden pallets. As well as flowerpots and birds feeders from plastic bottles. If you are a wine lover, collecting wine corks could be a great idea for using them in winter as a root-protection-isolation for your outdoor plants.
Check our sustainable project NOTBASIC Store for more inspiration and upcycling ideas. There you can also order unique, sustainable hand-decorated accessories for your home and garden.
You are always welcome to share your urban garden designs in the comments below.
Finally, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us -> GET IN TOUCH.