There's something therapeutic about working in a garden and making plants grow. Unfortunately, not all residences have the benefit of a yard. This is especially true of townhouses and apartments in Montreal, which might only have a one square metre of dirt in the front, or perhaps a balcony.

But don't let a small or ugly space limit your imagination! Check out these low-cost options for creating an urban green space.

Hen-and-Chicks Photo Cred - Galahmom

1. Use Fast-Spreading Perennial Ground Covers

Sedum, hen-and-chicks, lily of the valley, and vinca are all excellent choices. If you have little time to spend on weeding, these are plants that cover areas quickly and crowd out weeds on their own. Some produce flowers while others fill the available space with colourful leaves.

DIY Lettuce Box Photo Cred - Michelle Berry-Shaffer

2. Plant Leafy Vegetables In A Window Box

Lettuce, kale, and spinach, as well as carrots and strawberries are all cheap to buy and easy to grow. The plus side of having such plants on a balcony, rather than an actual garden, is you don't have to worry about squirrels or other animals eating them before you can use them!

Pocket Shoe Holder Garden Photo Cred - Scout Horticultural Consulting

3. Use A Door-Mounted Canvas Shoe Organizer

This popular fashion accessory can readily be adapted to growing an herb garden by hanging it from a fence or railing. Tip: the fabric tends to be coarse so to avoid losing soil every time you water, slip a paper coffee filter into the bottom of each pouch before filling it with soil.

Wood Pallet Garden Photo Cred - BrightNest

4. Convert An Old Shipping Pallet

Dumpsters behind supermarkets or manufacturing companies are prime spots for getting ahold of these. You might even be given one if you ask. Then if you don't mind a bit of DIY, they're simple to convert it into a garden holder by rearranging the slats as necessary. It can then be placed on the ground or stood upright. Here's a good tutorial: How to Turn a Pallet Into a Garden

Zen Garden Photo Cred -

5. Go Zen

The Japanese have elevated the stone garden to an art form, where there's a beauty even in the lack of greenery.  Arranging decorative pebbles, rocks, and pieces of wood creates an almost maintenance-free garden.  This can even be done on a balcony or porch (provided you verify that the structure is strong enough to hold the extra weight).

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