30-Minute Gardens

Things are looking up with vertical planters and rooftop-inspired container gardens. The good news: It’s easier than you think.

  • Photos by Stephanie Colgan
    Inspiration: The Rooftop at The Bachelor Farmer
  • Photos by Stephanie Colgan
    1. Plant. Working with two to five types of durable plants, start with one in the center of your container as a focal point. Endres used sedum, succulents, aloe, and little princess pines. Work in each plant alternating different textures. “Just like in the desert or the woods, you see things repeat themselves,” Endres says. “It’s like you’re mimicking Mother Nature, but in a very controlled way.”
  • Photos by Stephanie Colgan
    Tip: If you travel a lot, choose slow-growing plants such as sedum and succulents. Endres says, “They take care of themselves, and you end up winning a prize if you kill ’em.”
  • Photos by Stephanie Colgan
    2. Edit. “You don’t have to fill the whole thing,” Endres says. “You appreciate things more when there’s some negative space . . . and watch out for the plant that is the bully—you have to be the hall monitor.”
  • Photos by Stephanie Colgan
    3. Accessorize. Add decorative objects, such as a “river of stones,” shells, balls, or garden art to fill any gaps. “But like fashion, don’t throw on every jewel—accessories can make or break the outfit.” And think about where this will be placed, considering both the 360-degree and birds-eye view.
  • Photos by Stephanie Colgan
    Tip: Containers can be used as centerpieces indoors or out. If left outside in an area that gets rainfall, you rarely need to hydrate. Inside, water every one or two weeks.

Today’s hip, urban gardens are found in the form of green roofs and vertical walls as seen at Wise Acre Eatery. However, not everyone has the space or roof structure to support these trends.

Scott Endres, co-owner of Wise Acre Eatery and Tangletown Gardens, gave us a quick how-to on modern, accessible, at-home container gardening that works indoors or out.

“It’s easy to get carried away,” says Endres. “You’re not creating an arboretum; this is just a smaller version of a rooftop garden, a miniature fantasy landscape.”