alternative gardening, garden kids, eco-garden, garden containers, upcycled garden, upcycled pallets
Upcycled garden pallet image via 99 Pallets

Pallet gardening

It seems like upcycled wooden pallets are everywhere nowadays, but they’re extra handy in the garden – or for those families lacking yard space, on the patio as a wonderful makeshift growing platform. Upcycled pallets can be used to create an inexpensive horizontal raised bed (much cheaper than lumber) or to create vertical garden space when you have zero space to grow flat. Plus, pallets are attractive and more eco-friendly than virgin wood used for building. Find out where to locate used pallets.

+ Create a raised bed with an upcycled pallet (pdf)

alternative gardening, garden kids, eco-garden, garden containers, upcycled garden, upcycled pallets
Straw bale garden image via Straw Bale Gardens

Straw bale gardening

Straw bale gardens (pdf) are unique and fairly eco-friendly, but do have various pros and cons to explore. Because bales stand somewhat tall, they can be easier on your back than planting in the ground. Straw bales allow you to garden in unexpected places – like on a concrete driveway, empty lot, yard with inadequate nutrients or even on a sturdy patio that can handle the weight of a bale (and the water you’ll put on it). Weeds, rotting, water retention, and the sheer weight of moving a bale if needed can be some cons to consider. Still, with straw bales costing less than wood for raised beds, this is definitely a gardening method your family may want to research.

+ Straw Bale Gardens

alternative gardening, garden kids, eco-garden, garden containers, upcycled garden, upcycled pallets
Upcycled dollhouse herb garden image via Club Chica Circle

Upcycled container gardening

This upcycled dollhouse makes a cuter than cute little free-standing herb garden platform that will really appeal to kids – in the yard or on a patio. However, cool container gardens are really only limited by your imagination. People around the world have made container gardens out of old grills, boots, toy wagons, sinks, and so much more.

+ 50+ creative growing container ideas

alternative gardening, garden kids, eco-garden, garden containers, upcycled garden, upcycled pallets
Rain gutter garden image by Suzanne Forsling via Juneau Empire

Rain gutter gardening

If the only part of your yard that gets ample sunshine is limited in size, then rain gutter gardening may be a good fit. Rain gutters can be affixed to a wall or fence, creating space where little space was before. The initial cost to start this sort of garden is very affordable, but you’ll want to do some research before you get started. As noted on Juneau Empire, rain gutters may lose nutrients faster, so a time release fertilizer can help. Plus rain gutter gardens can dry out quickly so frequent watering is needed. That said, if you’d like to grow, and only have a wall or fence, this can be an excellent and attractive garden option.

+ How to build your own rain gutter garden

alternative gardening, garden kids, eco-garden, garden containers, upcycled garden, upcycled pallets
Stenciled cinder block image via Rustoleum

Cinder block gardening

Cinder block gardening is somewhat controversial. Some have noted that cinder block gardens may present a risk of leeching toxins into the soil and the plants themselves via the concrete dust. However, others have pointed out that the danger factor depends on the sort of concrete blocks you’re using. The above said, raised garden beds made of concrete blocks also have benefits such as great drainage, easier maintenance, and they offer the ability to garden in a urban setting where yard space is limited.

+ Build a raised cinder block garden bed (pdf)

alternative gardening, garden kids, eco-garden, garden containers, upcycled garden, upcycled pallets
Spiral garden image via OH My Creative

Spiral gardening

Spiral gardens, basically gardens with a slightly elevated, spiraled growing path, look awesome and unique, yet aren’t that difficult to design. Plus, spiral gardens have many perks, including allowing you to grow more plants in a smaller space and grow plants according to their soil depth needs. Spiral gardens also offer a better comfort level for people to work with, because it raises the ground up, so if your knees can’t handle bending as well as you’d like, a spiral garden helps you reach the plants easier. Check out this in-depth (yet simple) pdf document about building your own spiral herb garden or learn how to design a small vegetable spiral.

+ The magic & mystery of designing a garden spiral

RELATED | 10 enchanting gardens around the world

Succulent pallet garden lead image via The Urchin Collective