Many plants, few square feet.
May 5, 2010 9:58 AM   Subscribe

My backyard lawn is 18 by 27 feet. There is a 12 by 10 foot concrete area. There are two footlong garden boxes, 35 potted plants and 80+ seedlings in cups.

Just moved into a new house and I'm looking for some kind of good, durable, outdoor table or shelf thing which can help me organize all these plants, especially the smaller of them. The plants include cacti, succulents, herbs, flowers, vegetables, ranging from a 6 foot tall San Pedro to tiny jalapenos.

I know, given the limited space, it will always be a bit crowded. Right now all the pots and seedlings are sitting on the concrete; when I build a raised garden bed, many of the seedlings can be transplanted, but there will still be crowdedness, and having so many pots resting directly on the concrete is less than ideal (drainage, debris). I just want to make room for some social space & walkability in the backyard. It would be awesome if I could get most of the smaller plants to take up less space.

I'm imagining that there are good gardening shelves that exist somewhere. I've looked around, been to various nurseries, garden centers, home depot, etc; nothing seems right. Does anyone have any good ideas to pass along, or products to recommend?
posted by doteatop to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
I'm not sure from this what your criteria are. I have some basic plastic-mesh shelves from Home Depot that I put plants on, and I bet those metal-wire ones could work well for you, too... but you say you don't like the ones there.

If you have a yard that small, is there also a fence? There are a lot of styles of planters out there that are designed to hang on fences, or if it's chainlink I've seen instructables about turning wire coathangers into hooks for potted plants.
posted by aimedwander at 10:07 AM on May 5, 2010

I just came across this. I'm about to move to a place with a tiny yard and am looking forward to the challenge.
posted by mareli at 10:10 AM on May 5, 2010

Response by poster: aimedwander: Yep, there's a fence, vertical wrought iron bars, I was thinking of using it as an anchor for whatever. How tall are your shelves? I've seen three-level ones, maybe up to 4 feet tall, but with my limited peripheral space I was hoping for something taller. I could get generic metal wire shelves, but I'm uncertain about how well those endure outdoors. The DIY coathanger thing is intriguing.

mareli: that looks crazy interesting. doesn't seem to be for existing arbitrary plants though.
posted by doteatop at 10:22 AM on May 5, 2010

Lots of different options here, like this plant terrace.
posted by caddis at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2010

Best answer: The one I have is this one. It's a bit clunky, I would have liked narrower than 18" depth - but the shelves aren't solid, so it's not super dark on the lower levels. Not a forever shelf, but cheap. I suspect the wire shelves (they're usually cheaper at Target) would get a little rusty at the joints, but at least it wouldn't accumulate dust/dirt.
posted by aimedwander at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2010

I am absolutely in love with the wooly wall pockets. My understanding is that they are pretty darn sturdy. If you do end up using them, let me know how they work out!
posted by Sophie1 at 11:12 AM on May 5, 2010

Baker's racks like this one are great for plants.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:52 AM on May 5, 2010

Maybe something like the Plant Wall? They're a little on the expensive side, but I imagine you could bang together something similar yourself.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:32 PM on May 5, 2010

The wire shelves do rust. I have a low wire shelf at one end of my raised bed. I put an Earth Box with some tomatoes on it and by being a foot and a half or so higher it gets them some extra sun due to the direction of the sun and my yard configuration. It has rusted a bit in one season. It will likely last another two before I feel compelled to ditch it.
posted by caddis at 7:01 PM on May 5, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the info, caddis. I think I'm going to end up going with shelves like aimwander proposed, possibly metal wire ones. Maybe by the time they've rusted I'll have time to make some nicer ones out of wood.

The other, smaller solutions, such as pockets, terraces, and baker's racks, are all interesting and classy, but not really suitable for the volume of plants I have. Thanks everybody.
posted by doteatop at 8:48 AM on May 9, 2010

« Older Do I need to be trained?   |   Where should we sleep? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.