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The concepts local, sustainable, organic and innovative are part of our daily life. The way we eat, the way we work and the way we interact with our community. Being owners of a small landscape and design company means being a part of the many businesses that offer goods and services to our local community. Living in the inner city has its pluses and minus. Not being close to nature might seem like one but it isn’t. We have wonderful biking and hiking trails, many pocket parks and our large Memorial Park.

Memorial Park in Houston Texas

“Memorial Park is, a municipal park in Houston, Texas, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Opened 93 years ago in 1924, the park covers approximately 1,466 acres inside the 610 Loop, across from the neighborhood of Memorial.” – Wikipedia

Above is a vertical garden using Rain gutters that I posted about earlier.

Being able to bring nature into people’s lives is the most amazing job! I am very excited when we get a request for a place to grow herbs and veggies, which is becoming a popular trend! Really it is a resurgence of something people have done for years. I remember my Grandmother’s own little potager in the middle of her circle drive. She had asparagus, rhubarb, onions and more. Below is a A/C screen that is also a place to plant some herbs. Tiny spaces require maximizing every square foot.As a designer I love the challenge of creating places where people can enjoy picking fresh herbs or harvesting tomatoes and other yummy veggies. We have come up with solutions for even the smallest of urban dwellings. Below was the only outdoor space that came with this town home. We did built in seating flanked by herb beds. A good spot for your aromatic herbs. Most herbs and vegetables need good drainage and here in Houston the clay soil doesn’t really lend itself to good drainage. Using a variety of materials, we have created options for most any space. Galvanized metal troughs make excellent raised beds. These will be watered with water captured in the rain-barrel. There are many great books on growing food. Two we like areSmall-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots” and the “All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space”. Both have great insights and inspirations for how you can grow your own food. Sometimes we do facades over the cinder blocks to match other landscaping. The cinder blocks are done in a way that you can use the walls as seating. Another material we use for a facade is brick. We like to use the hand made bricks from Mexico. It is very satisfying to walk outside and snip a few leaves or pull up a fresh garlic bulb. In our own raised bed, we have started growing Turmeric. We have a large raised be similar to these we created for a client. Ours is more utilitarian but someday : )Here in the Heights we are fortunate to have many local nurseries that can supply you with starter plants. You can even do a mix of annuals and herbs if you like. This is a 60 foot vertical garden we installed at a local woman’s prison. Being able to bring a place to plant and tend was very rewarding to us.

Vertical garden using Florafelt Pocket System.

When you begin, don’t expect to get it all right the first time. Start simply with common herbs like basil or sage. Even if your garden faces north you can still grow shade loving edibles. This is another raised bed with a matching one on the other side of the door. We used thin cinder blocks to create a narrower profile. Planting seeds can be very rewarding, especially for children. You can start seeds inside in the winter and them put them out when it is consistently in the 70’s. The most import thing is to have fun with it and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Happy Gardening!