It's time to think outside the flower box.
For many homeowners, a love of the outdoors clashes with the realities of small spaces. How do you plant a garden when you hardly have the space for your barbecue grill, let alone that patio set you've been dreaming about? The answer for many homeowners is simple: Move the garden on up.
Vertical gardens give homeowners the luxury of having their own plants while maximizing the space they have for entertaining, relaxing and cooking out. Some make interesting living art pieces, while others provide an extra level of privacy from nearby neighbors.
A well-placed vertical garden could also give your house an especially unique curb appeal that sets it apart from every other house on the block.
Don't have much of a green thumb? Not to worry. Many vertical gardens are stocked with succulents and other low-maintenance plants that are easy to care for and help keep water bills low. Others are planted with built-in irrigation systems that can be programmed to care for a homeowner's garden even when they can't.
Whether they use small focal pieces full of succulents or a three-story wall designed to control temperature and light, these 10 homes and their amazing vertical gardens are sure to inspire.
This contemporary entryway was designed by Kym Rodger Design for a home in Los Angeles. The 300-square-foot vertical garden is a living wall that's the centerpiece of the entryway, framed by a pair of small waterfalls. It's made of 1,500 tropical plants of 22 varieties intended to recreate the look of a natural cliff, according to Seasons Landscaping, which created and built the feature.
A Calm Oasis
This historic home in Richmond, London, was restored to retain its classic details while incorporating more contemporary features throughout. This vertical garden is a "green wall" built as part of a light well that opens from the home's new living room. The goal of the vertical garden was to help "create the feeling of a calm oasis," according to Dyer Grimes Architecture.
What's trendier than a few succulents on your shelf? A front garden full of them. This succulent garden in Southern California, complete with vertical living wall art, was designed by landscaping company Singing Gardens to be low-maintenance, require minimal watering and improve the homeowners' curb appeal.
"The homeowners find passersby frequently stop at their front yard to admire the landscaping from the street," according to a statement from Singing Gardens.
A wide range of succulents -- plants characterized by their ability to retain water -- make up this vertical garden, including various types of agave and aloe.
At three stories tall, this "vertical vegetation garden wall" is part of a home in Mexico City designed by the Paul Cremoux Studio. Made up of more than 4,000 plants, it was included to make the best use of the small patio space. The wall was designed to provide temperature and humidity control by acting as an outdoor light curtain.
A Sacred Space to Bathe
This verdant bathroom was completed by Síol Studios for the 2013 San Francisco Decorator Showcase. It's one of many rooms in a San Francisco Georgian mansion that were redesigned for the showcase. The vertical garden is built to be a "healing wall," according to designers Kevin Hackett and Jessica Weigley. Mint, lavender and other herbs grow in the wall set behind a freestanding bathtub and can be picked for a relaxing soak.
Designed by Debora Carl Landscape Design for a home in Encinitas, California, this living wall is part of a 1.5-acre garden full of plants found in Mediterranean climates, which provide color, texture and interest for the space. This living succulent wall was built on an exterior dining terrace that opens from the home's kitchen and dining room.
Living Gardens Landscape Design renovated the garden of this 1950s beach bungalow in San Clemente, California, to give the homeowners a contemporary outdoor space. The garden is designed to be low-maintenance and environmentally sustainable. This vertical garden is made from a wall of planters built as part of a shade structure for the brick patio with a fireplace and barbecue. The plants were chosen to suit the Southern California climate.
Los Altos Hills Residence
Landscape design company JKT Associates reimagined this private garden in Los Altos Hills, California, as a space for entertaining that could be enjoyed all year round. The vertical garden is a green wall, featuring many succulents, that functions as a visual centerpiece and is meant to complement the Tudor style of the house. It also provides privacy for a hot tub, outdoor shower and lawn chairs.
The entire redesign of this London home focused on maximizing space, and the garden was no different. This vertical garden was chosen to give the homeowners more room for outdoor dining, according to designer Debra McQuin of McQuin Partnership Interior Design, as well as to increase privacy by blocking the view from the apartment building behind the home. The garden is built in a trellis structure with pre-planted squares that can be easily removed and replaced, if needed.
Coral Gables Green Wall
This garden, designed by Ecopacheco in Coral Gables (just south of Miami, Florida), creates a living art focal piece for the home's outdoor pool. It's built on a custom aluminum structure and planted with tropical bromeliads. The plants' upright structures keep them from drooping.