When I walk around D.C., I often feel that we live in a very green city. From vast lawns on the National Mall to the seclusion of the far reaches of Rock Creek Park, the city has great green public spaces. However, when I look inward to the home, I find that we are often challenged by a lack of space.
No matter your style of home, you have the ability to use your green thumb in a variety of ways. To many, growing plants is an essential to homeownership. Planting allows for creativity, a place to express personality through life. Because we are often forced to trade space for location, planting a garden can seem like an insurmountable task. However, with a few city living techniques, you can still utilize your green thumb with little effort.
First, there are many ways to incorporate green space when living in the heart of the city, even in confined spaces such as condos. Outdoor space is a luxury that many include when searching for a home, but the idea of planning on a small patio or balcony can seem impossible. If this is the case, think of expanding your search to include buildings that incorporate a green roof or amenities that allow the owner to use planter’s boxes off of the balcony. One can easily manage to plant small flowers and maybe even a vegetable or two within a confined space. The key to such planting is planning and an open imagination. After all, you don’t have to have many acres to grow something beautiful. Even if it is just a plant or two in your garden, creating something in your home is a great way to spur the imagination.
Additionally, some of the best space in the home to grow a garden only requires sunlight. In your home, planting can be as easy as a few pots and seeds to create an herb garden in the kitchen. Herbs such as basil, sage, oregano, and more can be low maintenance, DIY projects that give your living space a little extra charm. After just a few moments and minimal effort, this small, colorful garden can easily rest and grow on your windowsill.
For the planter who wants low maintenance for larger plants, think of planting greenery such as a fiddle leaf fig or peace lily, both of which require little attention, water and sunlight. Also, smaller items like terrariums can give a good visual effect to many spaces in the home, and are easy to maintain. Think of plants as finishes in your home; like a tasteful accent pillow or throw rug, your planting can say a lot about your personal style.
Finally, sometimes living in the city can place too much of a constraint on your gardening ambitions. For needs outside the house, it may be time to look toward a community garden. The District is home to dozens of community gardens, from the District’s Department of Parks and Recreation-sponsored parks to private parks that sponsor some garden space. For many, community gardens provide an opportunity to interact with the community while also allowing ambition to grow plants you otherwise wouldn’t within the city.
To be clear, the return on investment for a garden can be hard to determine. Often times, small green spaces provide a sentimental value to the owner. The rate of return on a small section of greenery or a couple pots of herbs can be hard to quantify, but often times, this value is irreplaceable, and truly sets the home apart from others. In a city as beautiful yet transient as Washington, D.C., having a small garden or plant can provide just the right slice of home.
Tim Savoy is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Dupont Circle. Reach him at 202-400-0534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.