How to bring the outdoors in to your small living space

Whilst many of us city dwellers have limited space for a fully-fledged garden, there are ways to reap the benefits of plants by maximising the space you do have. Bringing plants into your living area is not only decorative, but will also help to purify the air around you. Our leafy friends are powerful little filters that can remove toxins, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and emit fresh oxygen so we can breathe easier. Even the littlest and most inexperienced of gardeners can help keep the plants thriving!

We’ve put together a list of 6 ways to bring a bit of greenery into your living space, regardless of how small or whether you live on the 25th floor!

  1. Succulents: Succulents make wonderful little houseplants, as they require minimum maintenance and care and are likely to thrive with a sunny spot near a window and sporadic watering. Their natural environment is the desert so they’re perfect for first time gardeners and busy mums! There are a hundreds to choose from, but why not try your hand at growing an Aloe Vera plant? Not only do they look interesting and help to remove nasty VOCs, but they are a useful addition to the family’s first aid kit and may help to soothe minor wounds and burns.
  2. Weeping Fig: The weeping fig is one of the most fashionable indoor plants and with good reason. Besides being a beautiful addition to an enclosed space with its interesting drooping branches, weeping figs quite happily grow indoors with a bit of bright indirect sun and adequate moisture. Plus, they also help to filter out pollutants!
  3. Peace Lily: Shade and weekly watering are all the peace lily needs to survive and produce beautiful white blooms, making it one of the best houseplants around. We sometimes find it a bit tricky to bring out the beautiful flower, but the less attention we give the plant the better it seems to grow!
  4. Tillandsias (airplants): Tillandsias are a bit of a plant oddity, because they don’t need soil but obtain water and nutrients from the air! Tillandsias will happily grow simply sitting in a glass bowl on rocks, in a terrarium (see next tip) or attached to just about anything, so use your imagination. They are the perfect kid-friendly plant as they are very low maintenance and thrive on a bit of neglect. All they need is a good soak with water under the tap or with a mist spray 2-3 times per week and a reasonable amount of light.
  5. Terrariums: ‘Terrariums’ are little miniature gardens that can be grown in any glass vessel such as a fish bowl, mason jar, hanging globe or even a discarded light bulb! And creating your own could be a fun project for the whole family to enjoy. For an open terrarium in a fish bowl or hanging globe, simply lay down sand or gravel and embellish with whatever your heart desires! Try pinecones, rocks, sticks or little animal figurines and airplants. For a more traditional, closed terrarium, place a layer of pebbles or rocks (these are for drainage), sprinkle with some activated charcoal (from the pet shop or nursery), followed by a layer of sphagnum moss, some potting soil (about 3-4 cms. high) and your desired seeds or plants! Closed terrariums may not need to be watered for several months as the plants recycle moisture, making them incredibly low maintenance and suitable for even the smallest of apartments.
  6. Windowsill herb garden: The humble windowsill is a prime spot for growing edibles such as herbs. Basil, chives, oregano, parsley and rosemary fare well on a south-facing windowsill that gets 5-6 hours of sun each day and make delicious natural flavour enhancers for any meal.

How do you bring the outdoors in to your small living space?