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The Fastest Way to Create a Private Garden on Your Patio


This post is sponsored by Gingerbread World: European Ware Haus. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

You know the spot. It’s quiet, the morning light sneaks in just right, and you have your favourite outdoor chair. It’s sheltered just so from the breeze and all your favourite plants surround you. You take that first delicious sip of your morning coffee (or tea). . . and then you can see your neighbour coming out of her balcony.

Living in an apartment or townhouse, or other small urban space has so many perks–put trying to have a private little outdoor sanctuary can be challenging. To get that privacy you crave isn’t easy. Trees in pots are expensive (and where are you going to put the thing in winter?!?), and vines take time to grow.

Even though I have a city backyard–therefore more space–I have the same problem as you. My neighbour and I have decks right by each other and it’s not super private. I’ve been trying to grow a vine up the trellis for years now, but it never gets high enough to do what I want it to do, and growing a perennial vine is out of the question because it has to be something that can live in a pot. And perennials in pots don’t generally survive our zone 3 winters.

But then, I got to try out these Green Pockets from European Ware Haus, and they have been the quick fix I’ve been looking for. Here’s what I did: 

I attached the pockets to my trellis with zip ties, filled them up with vines and edible plants, and now I instantly have a bit more privacy, and that vertical green space I’ve been craving. And I get it in June, instead of hoping it will work in August.

The Green Blocks have also been fantastic–I’ve already had my first harvest from the yellow one (that’s why it looks a bit bare in this photo.) Here’s how it looked before I cut it:

The Perfect Pot for Moving

I’ve had the Green Bags for over a month now, and I really love using them. If you’re trying to grow a garden and you’re renting, or you’re going to be moving homes later in the season, these bags are the most versatile and stylish option. Back in early May when the temperatures dipped, I was easily able to move all my green bags indoors by myself–even the long one with the tomatoes and herbs!

I even moved them to three different locations around my deck until I figured out my perfect morning coffee spot. This was my first attempt:

But then once I got the Green Pockets, I switched to the other set up at the beginning of the post.

A Grow Bag that Actually Lasts

I found that my Green Blocks and Bags held water much better than other fabric bags. With cheaper bags, the water seeps out through the fabric, leaving you with a product that wears out quickly (my dollar store one only lasted one season). With the Green Bags and Blocks, they’re designed with special drainage holes, so excess moisture seeps out, but not all the moisture seeps out.

Since they have a tough fabric and UV coating, they should last at around 4 years. I’ll keep you updated as the years go by.

Now, back to those Green Pockets and creating privacy on my deck. . .

The Fastest Way to Create Privacy with Plants

As I mentioned before, even with a trellis dividing my deck from my neighbours backyard space, it still wasn’t really enough. I could never get a vine to grow properly up it–especially since there’s not in-ground space to grow one. But with the green pockets, I just zip tied them on the trellis, and voila–instant privacy that actually looks pretty.

I was surprised at how many plants I could fit in them. I went for plants that were both colourful and edible–except for the German Ivy vines. In the picture below, I have nasturtium, beets (growing for the leaves, I’m not expecting a beet), oregano, Swiss chard, and a German Ivy vine.

The other pocket has the same plants, except I subbed garlic chives for the oregano.

Also, see that spot on the pocket? That’s a bit of dirt, and thankfully it rinses away very easily with the hose.

The only thing you should really know about the pockets, is that when you’re watering them, it’s best to tilt them so that they’re level, so the water doesn’t run out the front. There is a cheaper version of the green pocket that only comes in green where the water will run through, but it is meant to only last a year. Personally, I’d rather invest in this type of pocket, choose one of 7 colours, and have it last for 4 years.

How do you put grow bags away for the season?

Finally, at the end of the season, you can prolong the life of your grow bag by putting all the soil in a large plastic container for storage, and cleaning the bags with water, and fold them away. Potting soil can be used year after year, as long as you amend it with fresh compost and manure, and use an organic fertilizer with it.

Want to grab your own Grow Bags and Grow Pockets? You can get 15% off of your purchase when you use code SHIFTINGROOTS. Visit European Ware Haus/Gingerbread World to get yours, then make sure to tag both @shifting_roots and @gingerbreadworld on Instagram so we can see your private garden oasis!

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!