You don’t need an acre lot to build the garden of your dreams! Renters lucky enough to live in a home with a small backyard or patio and access to sunlight, will find that many herbs, flowers and vegetables will flourish in a container garden.

Here are some useful tips on how to cultivate a beautiful and productive container garden in your rental home:

Determine Your Gardening Style

Are in interested in growing herbs, vegetables or flowers? Are you someone who travels a lot, and therefore doesn’t have a lot of time to tend to your container garden? Are you forgetful, and won’t remember to water? Ask yourself what you want to achieve when it comes to gardening before you choose what and when you plant. If outdoor container gardening doesn’t work for your lifestyle, consider creating a special place within your home to showcase your green thumb.

Choose the right soil

Fill your containers with a quality potting soil that is specifically made for potted gardens and will nutritionally support whatever it is your are wanting to grow. Never use soil directly from your yard because, when dry, it will become very hard and not provide your plants with proper nutrients. Quality potting soil should include generous helpings of: peat moss, compost, perlite, vermiculite, and/or rotted manure. Potting soils that also work to prevent over watering are useful when creating your container garden.

Pick the right containers

Most species of plants aren’t particular about the type of pot they grow in. All they want is enough space to spread their roots and a few good drainage holes to allow excess water to drain. Pots and containers come in a variety of materials, such as terra-cotta, ceramic, wood, and plastic. All of them work well for container gardens. However, terra-cotta pots have a tendency to dry out faster than plastic or ceramic, so you’ll need to water them more often…which is very important to note if you live in dry or desert like climates. If you are working with a new terra-cotta pot, soak it in a pail of water for a day or two to hydrate it before filling with soil.

Consider Drought Happy Plants

If you can’t tend to your garden on a daily basis, (or you may forget to do so), consider selecting hardy plants like cactus or succulents. Cactus need more direct sunlight than succulents, which can grow in bright light alone. It’s also important to choose plants that are tolerant of the climate in which you live. For example, certain hybrids of vegetables are engineered to grow quickly and do well in hot climates before the blazing summer heat sets in. Be sure to check which varietals of plants will do best for your climate.

Be mindful of the sun and watering

Most plants will come with some type of directions pertaining to how much sunlight they like. If you live in a warm climate like Phoenix or Dallas, full sun takes on an entirely new meaning. Check with your local garden center to determine just how much sun the plant can handle in the city in which you live. Also, be mindful of what time of day you should be watering. Quite often, watering during the hottest parts of the day can lead to the roots of your plants essentially being boiled.

Container gardening allows for great creativity as well as flexibility if you’re in a rental community – and it can cost you less in the long run. Yet you can still enjoy digging in the dirt, watching the progress of your plants as they thrive and literally or figuratively – enjoying the fruits of your labor!