Home & Garden

Vertical gardens fit most homes, enliven urban environments

Vertical gardens are valuable as cities grow increasingly dense.
Vertical gardens are valuable as cities grow increasingly dense. WILLIAMS-SONOMA

Apartment buildings and a few high-rises are reshaping the city, especially around uptown. The Charlotte area is becoming more dynamic, but green space is disappearing.

Growing a garden is still possible in an apartment, tower and other homes that come without a spacious backyard. Vertical gardens can produce food or plants to clean the air indoors.

Plants can absorb carbon dioxide and remove toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene, according to the National Gardening Association.

We also feel calmer when we’re surrounded by plants. One study found that plants helped in recovery for hospital patients.

Here are other reasons to consider this alternative style of gardening this year:

▪ Accessibility: A vertical garden can be easier to start and maintain for those with limited mobility.

▪ Versatility: These gardens can grow on rooftops and balconies, on an unsightly wall or fence, or in hanging baskets.

▪ Privacy: A wall of plants can create an attractive screen in green or a combination of colors and textures.

▪ Definition: Use climbing plants on an arbor or fence to visually mark an entryway or define spaces in other ways.

▪ Insulation: Sun-loving plants can shade surfaces to reduce heat.

▪ Transformation: The hard edges of urban buildings or aging rural sheds can be softened when plants serve as a cover.

▪ Habitat: Depending on the plants you choose, a vertical garden can provide food or shelter to birds and beneficial insects.

Karen’s blog: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/home-garden/smarter-living/homelife-blog/; on Twitter @sullivan_kms. See earlier Homelife columns at http://homelifeclt.blogspot.com.