You might think that lush gardens are only for those with large homes and sprawling acreage, but we have good news: here are 4 tips for creating a botanical paradise, even in small urban spaces!

Science says that finding time to commune with nature is critical for mental health and happiness, but we didn’t need a study to tell us that. Do you know many people who would reject the idea of relaxing in a bursting garden as the sun warms them from the outside in? 

For most city-dwellers in teeny tiny apartments, that feels like a pipe dream; but it doesn’t have to be!

There are plenty of ways urbanites can bring the outdoors in. We’ve done some digging, and we’re here to let you in on four easy-to-implement ideas to create an inner-city botanical ecosystem.


Terrariums are gardening’s answer to the tiny house: a compact space that packs a lively punch. Put simply, a terrarium is a garden in a bottle. Or a bowl. Or a fish tank. Or any glass container, for that matter. 

These tiny gardens are so popular because they’re incredibly low maintenance, inexpensive, and long-lasting. Terrariums are fascinating, self-dependent ecosystems, which means they can thrive on their own without you lifting a finger (or thumb - the green kind!). 

You can buy ready-made terrariums, but where’s the fun in that when you can just as easily make your own? Here’s how: 

Step 1: Choose a clear glass container. Make sure that the opening is wide enough for your hand (or a similar tool) to get in and out. 

Step 2: Cover the bottom of the container with rocks, stones, pebbles, or marbles. Don’t get crazy with the depth of this layer; you’ll want plenty of room for other terrarium elements. About an inch is best, depending on the depth of your container. Rocks of different shapes and sizes will allow for proper drainage and aeration. 

Step 3: Bring out the sphagnum! (Sounds gross; isn’t.) If using store-bought moss, be sure to dip it in water and wring it out before placing it in your terrarium. If you’d prefer to go au naturel, snag your sphagnum from Mother Nature and lay it down over the rock layer--no soaking or wringing needed! 

Step 4: Fill the container with a few inches of soil. The type of soil you need will vary based on what you’re planting, so be sure to do your research. Here’s a simple guideline to get you started. 

Step 5: It’s time to get planting! Terrarium planting methodology is very much the same as if you were laying seedlings or plants in a garden. Dig a small hole, place the plant’s roots inside, cover with soil, and pat down to stabilize.

Step 6: After all that work, you must be thirsty. Imagine how your freshly potted plants feel! Once you’re happy with the look of the terrarium, let the inaugural watering ceremony commence! Terrarium plants typically require watering once a month (in closed terrariums) or once every six weeks (in open terrariums). Don’t forget to place it in an area that will get the right amount of sunlight for the plant you’re growing, and enjoy!

Closeup of terrarium sitting on wood table to represent garden option for city dwellers

Living Garden Wall 

The benefits we reap from inviting nature into our homes might likely warrant covering every wall with floral friends, but even just one can enhance mental and physical health. Enter: the very rad living garden wall. 

Also referred to as a vertical garden or green wall, a living garden wall is the result of a significant amount of scientific thinking where fancy phrases like ‘fertigation delivery system’ and ‘hydroculture felt’ are commonplace. For those of us who are not architecture and vegetation experts, a living garden wall is essentially an interconnected system of plants that hangs vertically.  

Given the space (and a few pretty pennies), you can turn an entire wall, or a segment of it, into a living garden. If you don’t have the space or that’s too much of a commitment, check out this tutorial (and this one!) for building your own vertical planter instead. (Missing a tool or two? We’ve got you covered.)


Garden wall with neat rows of compartments for plants, representing for gardening in small spaces

Container Garden 

A container garden is exactly what it sounds like: a garden in containers! It’s obvious why this style of gardening works well for city living: minimal space requirements, customizable maintenance, and an opportunity to put beautiful receptacles to good use. (Hello, pretty wine bottle from 3 years ago you can’t bring yourself to throw away.)  

Container gardening works well for those who have patios, balconies, or even sun-drenched windowsills to work with. It’s also a great option for people who move homes regularly. All you need to start your own container garden is potting soil, seeds, and some kind of container. (This is an excellent way to practice upcycling by reusing household items such as empty cans, glass bottles, and sentimental items like mugs and bowls you don’t use but can’t throw away.)Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Plant pots 
  • Mason jars 
  • Clean, empty cans with sharp edges filed down 
  • Barrels 
  • Teacups 
  • Watering cans 
  • Baskets 
  • Tubs    
  • Bottles 
Small living space with white spiral staircase, copious plants scattered everywhere

Indoor Herb Garden 

Those without any outdoor area to speak of aren’t totally without options. Indoor herb gardens not only brighten up the appearance of your home but also improve indoor air quality and can add fresh, self-tended herbal love to your home-cooked meals. (Talk about a multi-tasker!) Plus, there are endless potting options!  

Many herbs can be grown inside, but there are a few that truly thrive: basil*, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and cilantro.   

*When tending basil, don’t be discouraged if stems become woody and leaves droopy within several weeks; it’s not you, it’s them! Basil plants do not have a very long lifespan in general, so it’s best to plant new seeds every few weeks to keep fresh basil in rotation.

Basil plant sits on window sill representing indoor herb gardens for small spaces

With a little time and TLC, anyone can build the garden of their dreams--not just country-dwellers and suburbanites! Which of these urban garden ideas will be your next DIY project? Let us know on Twitter @sparetoolzapp.  

Latest Blog Posts

10 Spooktacular Ideas for Halloween Home Decor 10 Spooktacular Ideas for Halloween Home Decor
When you were a trick-or-treating youngster, chances are one of your favorite parts about Halloween--besides rocking a wicked costume and stuffing your face with sugar--was checking out all the spooky decorations your neighbors tricked out (sorry) their homes with. Now that you’re--ahem--an adult, Halloween might look a little different (or maybe not...we don’t judge) but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t still be fun.
6 Tips for Creating the Perfect Work From Home Space 6 Tips for Creating the Perfect Work From Home Space
Working remotely sounds like hitting the work jackpot. PJ’s all day, no long commute, and no unnecessary small talk. But it can be hard to stay productive when the fridge and Netflix keep calling your name. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips on how to create the perfect WFH space for optimal productivity.
Tools for Generations: Baby Boomers Through Gen Z Tools for Generations: Baby Boomers Through Gen Z
No matter the size of the project or skill level required, there are tools available for every generation to succeed.
5 Basic Home Repairs Everyone Should Know 5 Basic Home Repairs Everyone Should Know
It would be awesome if houses and apartments never needed any maintenance. Until someone figures out how to build self-repairing homes (looking at you, Elon), we should all have a little DIY maintenance know-how.
6 Unique Ways to Connect With Your Community 6 Unique Ways to Connect With Your Community
Beyond unpacking boxes, picking out curtains, and buying an unnecessary number of succulents, one of the best ways to truly feel settled into a new home is to connect with your neighbors. For those of us who are a little green to networking, here are 6 unique ideas to help you start building meaningful relationships in your community.
7 Ways to Divide a Room (Without Building a Wall) 7 Ways to Divide a Room (Without Building a Wall)
Open floor plans have received a lot of love in the last several years, but what’s one to do when the space is...too open?
Tik Tok's Most Celebrated DIY Trends Right Now Tik Tok's Most Celebrated DIY Trends Right Now
Many people are still bound (or, rather, re-bound) to their homes and growing tired of their pandemic-necessitated hobbies. 
8 Ways to Make Your Rental Feel like Home 8 Ways to Make Your Rental Feel like Home
Buying a home may be the easiest way to feel like you have a place that’s truly yours (since, in that case, it...literally is) but you don’t need to be a homeowner to make a place your home. 
5 Great Apps and Services for Finding Your New Apartment 5 Great Apps and Services for Finding Your New Apartment
Welcome to the Internet: effortlessly soar through cyberspace at lightning speed to find exactly what you need, right now.
6 IKEA Hacks You Should Try Right Now 6 IKEA Hacks You Should Try Right Now
IKEA is known for its affordable prices, maze-like stores, and...equally maze-like assembly instructions.
How to: Build & Fill a Garden Box How to: Build & Fill a Garden Box
If you’ve never grown your own food, just imagine it for a minute:
How to Keep Cool Without A/C How to Keep Cool Without A/C
It’s too damn hot.
How To: Make a Home In Your Home For Your Pets How To: Make a Home In Your Home For Your Pets
Once upon a time, if the family dog wasn’t banished alone to a dark, doorless dog house, he slept on an unforgiving floor in the house -- with not so much as a comfy memory foam bed with removable faux fur cover, matching bolsters, and built-in aromatherapy to ease his humiliation.
Best Practices for Organizing Small Spaces (Yes, That Small) Best Practices for Organizing Small Spaces (Yes, That Small)
Want the secret to mastering small spaces?
Your Lawn is Useless (But It Doesn't Have to Be) Your Lawn is Useless (But It Doesn't Have to Be)
At its best, your lawn is a beautifully dense, vibrantly, patch of grass.
Drywall Repair Tips for Beginners Who Don’t Want to Learn the Hard Way Drywall Repair Tips for Beginners Who Don’t Want to Learn the Hard Way
There are a lot -- and we mean a lot -- of drywall repair tutorials available on the Internet, and we know you’ll find your favorites.
DIY Home Improvement Resources That Will Actually Teach You Something DIY Home Improvement Resources That Will Actually Teach You Something

We bet a lot of DIY social media accounts and sites make you oooooo, ahhhhh, and dream of transforming your...

Is Renting More Sustainable Than Buying? Is Renting More Sustainable Than Buying?
With the idea of environmental responsibility taking up more mental real estate in the past few years, we’ve all been looking for ways to minimize our impact and give Mother Nature a little breather.
Everything You Need to Know About Side Hustles Everything You Need to Know About Side Hustles
The pandemic has, over the past year, left many people with more time and less cash. Whether walking dogs, turning professional skills into a freelance gig, checking off someone’s shopping list, or any of dozens of other options, folks have taken advantage of technology to get the bills paid.
12 Tools Every Millennial Should Have (and Why) 12 Tools Every Millennial Should Have (and Why)
From avocado toast and Instagram to 3D-printed custom prostheses (Disney characters or tattoos, anyone?) and Uber, Millennials are famous for innovation. Allergic to the status quo, we’re built for “figuring it out” and finding unique ways to do things. 
DIY TikTok Tile Table Sparetoolz How To: Build TikTok's Tile Table
This 80s-flavored decor trend is taking the internet by storm. Here's how to bring it home for yourself.
How to Keep Plants Alive Here’s How To Keep Plants Alive In Your Home, Even If You Kill Everything
If you've convinced yourself that you're a perilous threat to all floral life and so are destined for a plant-less existence...we have good news.
Here Are Some of the Best Airbnbs in Each State Here Are Some of the Best Airbnbs in Each State
Despite Airbnb’s bizarrely humble beginning (and some pretty intense hurdles--legislative and logistical), nothing has been able to squelch its meteoric rise to multi-billion-dollar company. Turns out millions of people find it perfectly acceptable to sleep in a stranger’s bed. Who knew?
Trendy pink lettered neon sign on brick wall Taking Out the Trash: Interior Design Trends That Should Stay in 2020
We’re all ready to throw 2020 down the garbage chute. Here are some home design trends that should be tossed out with it.
Green and blue botanical wallpaper applied behind gold bathtub How to Apply Wallpaper (And What Not to Do)
Yes, we know, wallpaper is infamous for being a nightmare. Just hear us out.
Parents hang picture on wall as child stands nearby to help with project 5 Home Improvement Projects Kids Can Help With
Including kids in "grown-up" projects doesn't just present opportunities for memory-making; it also shows them that they are capable little humans, who will grow into self-sufficient big humans.
Modern living room painted white and featuring honey-colored wood floors and accents, a large gas fireplace and textured grey sofa 25 Things You Need to Know About Maintaining a House
Maintaining a house requires effort, but it doesn't have to be difficult. Here are 25 tips to get you well on your way to a happy home.
Bike with bright orange rims and accent rented through peer to peer platform parked next to doorway with yellow wrought iron gate Peer to Peer Platforms You Should Know About
Sharing is caring, and now you can save--or make--a little money while you’re at it. 
Minimalist look for writing desk area, featuring predominately white palette with tiny bright-colored accessories and a beige molded plastic chair. What is Minimalism and Where Did it Come From?
Minimalism can start in the home, but its benefits reach far beyond a design style.
Modern industrial loft space featuring high ceilings, plentiful windows, glass pendant lighting, blue sectional and colorful accents Is The Industrial Trend Dead?
Design styles rotate faster than you can say "mid-century modern." Is the Industrial trend queued for a comeback?
MCM designed living room styled in monochromatic white, honey-colored herringbone wood floor and bright blue sofa The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Interior Design Styles 
The first step to executing your dream home design is understanding why it works.
Exterior of 1950s-style home with white siding and blue shutters, and a white picket fence 9 Ideas to Make Your Home More Eco-Conscious
A happier, healthier Earth can begin right at home.
Spacious outdoor entertainment area featuring white walls, white and bright yellow decor elements and black accents 6 Essential Elements for Any Outdoor Entertainment Area
Create a personal oasis, right in your backyard, with these six simple tips.
Man working on laptop, leaned back on black sofa with white cushions, feet on wood coffee table, needing perfect home office How to Create the Perfect Home Office
Whether you're working from home by choice or because of the COVID-19 pandemic, create a calm, motivating home office space with these easy tips.
Interior, well-organized vintage garage with brick walls, new car with popped trunk How to Organize Your Garage - 10 Tips & Tricks
Organizing your garage might be the most terrifying task on your to-do list, but it doesn't have to be! We've got 10 tips to get you started.
Closeup of an array of tools everyone should have, laying on white table The 8 Tools EVERYONE Should Have 
You might not need these tools often, but when you do--you really do. Don’t let common tool-requiring household tasks or fun DIY projects catch you by surprise.
Wall inside garage with dozens of hand tools neatly hung in rows 6 Reasons You Should Join the Sparetoolz Fam as a Tool Owner 
You’ve probably heard a lot about the rise of the sharing economy. From Uber to Airbnb, the business of sharing is booming. The question is, how can you make it work for you?
Closeup of bright yellow flowers in spring garden, clear blue sky in background More Than a Spring Fling: How to Keep Your Garden Fresh All Year Long
Ah, spring: the gentle awakening from winter hibernation.
Overhead view of natural-colored wood stairs and floor, white walls and banister, styled with black and white accents How to Make Your Home Feel Bigger and Brighter
Trapped at home? We've got 5 easy tips for making your space feel open and airy.
Closeup of sheets of smooth brown crafting material, a mallet, ruler, spool of thick black thread, and crafter's knife Routine Shakeup: 9 Weird Craftsman Hobbies to Try Right Now
Challenge boredom with these off-the-wall craftsman hobbies sure to get your creativity rolling.
Fireplace with simple brick mantle repurposed to hold an array of candles, a potted plant sits atop a nearby wood stool Light Up Your Fireplace (No Fire Required)
Looking to repurpose your fireplace? Check out our creative round up of alternative uses!
How to Make Your Apartment Feel Homier How to Make Your Apartment Feel Homier
The threat of coronavirus has everyone hunkered down at home. Here's how to make your space as homey and comfortable as possible.
A woman smiles from behind taupe tufted sofa in her newly rented home, pulling off its protective plastic Things to Look Out for When Moving into a New House as a Renter
Renting a new place? Save yourself a headache by checking off the items on this list before moving in.
Do Carpenters Still Exist or What? Do Carpenters Still Exist or What?
WOODN'T you like to know?
Closeup of disorganized closet, packed tight with clothes This Is The Most Under-Appreciated Room In Your Home
Closets are often treated as merely functional and nothing more, but there’s so much opportunity to make this space spectacular. Your wardrobe might be the most under-appreciated space in your home, but no longer!
Closeup of hand holding smartphone displaying Airbnb logo on screen, bedroom styled in whites and greys in background Here's How to Airbnb a Room in Your House
If you happen to have a spare room and are looking for a new side hustle to generate some passive income, look no further than Airbnb. We’ve put together a list detailing the basic four-step process for how to Airbnb a room in your house AND make the most of it—quite literally.   
Unique Housewarming Gift Ideas Unique Housewarming Gift Ideas
In a world where most housewarming gifts are the expected (and boring) candles, towel sets, and coasters, it can be tough to find a unique gift that’ll be used and appreciated. We've got you covered!
Against a plain aqua background, a hand in a vivid pink cleaning glove reaches into the shot holding a bright yellow pump spray bottle Here’s the Cleaning Checklist You Need for Every Season
If you’ve been looking for a seasonal cleaning checklist you can easily work your way through, look no further.
The Top 20 Coolest Airbnbs in the America Right Now The Top 20 Coolest Airbnbs in the America Right Now
When you’re traveling around the country, it’s so much more fun to stay somewhere interesting and heighten the experience. Airbnb is a peer-to-peer rental service (just like Sparetoolz!) that offers countless intriguing homes for adventurous travelers to rent. Here are the Top 20 Airbnbs in America.