Garden Design Ideas: An Urban Garden That Fits On A Fire Escape

06/15/2012 08:52 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Last Sunday morning I woke up with an idea for a project; A garden of bright, colorful flowers that fit on my fire escape. Like most New Yorkers, I live in a small apartment where you have to get a little crafty to make the most out of your home. Why not create a little outdoor oasis to enjoy, just like so many other homes outside of this crammed city have? The whole day was ahead of us, I rolled over to tell my sleepy beau my idea. As a "green thumb" man himself, he was all about it. Soon we were off to the local plant store to get supplies.

The rules of the garden were as follows: First, the color scheme would be bright. Second, the fire escape would retain its purpose to be an escape if needed, so all pots would outline the outer edges and the majority of the flowers would hang from the railings. (After all, if I need to quickly evacuate the apartment in an emergency I don't want to be trapped in a self-imposed jungle.) Third, the chosen flowers would be able to withstand full sun and a contained habitat. Fourth, the containers would not be purchased but instead forged from thrown-away water bottles and abandoned pots, since I like to reuse things whenever possible. Fifth, there wouldn't be any vegetables for this round. For the novice gardener I am, flowers are a good start.

A few hours later the fire escape garden was complete and the results made me smile for the rest of the week. We planted bright orange, yellow, and red marigolds, some vines, and a jazzy Asiatic lily. Mr. Green Thumb had this great idea to use a bobby pin to thread one piece of string through each side of the plastic bottle planters and loop the bottle around the railing to create secure hanging plants. The outcome was really cool and gives the garden an artsy edge. Maintenance couldn't be easier. The shower window looks out onto the fire escape, so I use the detachable shower head to water the plants.

It's funny how the little garden makes myself, my roommates and hopefully my neighbors a little happier. It's the little things in life that can give the greatest amounts of joy. When caught up in the hectic lifestyle of this fast paced city, it's nice to take a moment for yourself and stop and smell the flowers on your fire escape.

Photos by Raydene Salinas

Urban Garden