How to Set up Your Urban Garden: 5 Easy Steps

Translated by Nick R

Have you ever wondered how to build a vegetable garden to grow your plants? Well, you’ve come to the right blog. You should already know that you can use various materials such as pots or recyclable containers to plant some species of plants. However, there is a possibility that it is not enough space and that you need a larger structure for your plants.

These structures allow us to grow whatever plants we want, with fewer space limitations, so that we can enjoy their wonderful properties at a domestic level. The advantage is that there are several ways to create a vegetable garden, and they can be placed in different spaces no matter the size.    

That’s why, today, I’d like to tell you about starting to build your urban vegetable garden, what an urban vegetable garden is, its benefits, the types that exist, and what materials you can use to make your vegetable garden step by step.

What is an urban garden?  

An urban garden is defined as an indoor or outdoor space for growing fruits, vegetables, legumes, aromatic, medicinal, and ornamental plants, and other species on a domestic basis.

This practice aims to minimize the environmental impact of agriculture. The results of an improperly managed agriculture include; water waste, environmental pollution due to food transportation, soils and water resources contaminated by improperly handled pesticides and fertilizers, and deforestation, among other aspects.

Furthermore, urban gardens provide a series of benefits to those involved in urban gardening, especially the youngest members of the community. These benefits depend on the type of garden you have, I’ll talk about them later, but in general, they are as follows.

  • Urban gardens allow you to get in touch with the earth and nature.
  • They motivate children to try what you cultivate like fruits and vegetables.
  • They offer the possibility to spend time as a family or community.
  • Children can learn about the appearance, care and importance of plants.
  • They help people learn responsibility, especially young children
  • You’ll be able to grow fresh clean food in your own home.
  • Gardening will help you relieve stress
  • You and the others who benefit from the garden will be able to save a lot of money.
  • They help reduce pollutants in the city that affect people’s health.
  • Children can learn about the importance of environmental care and the protection of food resources.
  • Urban gardens help to avoid the use of plastic packaging that pollutes the environment.

In addition to caring for the environment, gardening contributes to avoid stress, anxiety, depression and problems such as food insecurity.

For as its name says, urban gardens are located in the city where factors such as construction, traffic, smells, noises, lack of resources and others take us away from the natural and peaceful environments and create social inequality.

5 types of urban gardens 

As I mentioned before, there are some types of gardens that you can create in a different environment from the fields. This to achieve a common goal and benefit all people.

Home vegetable gardens 

These are the first gardens that come to mind when one hears “urban garden”. The objective of home gardens is self-sufficiency and they can be grown inside or outside the home.

You could also use the space of the garden, some pots, or even the so-called vertical gardens. The latter can be built in several ways that will be very helpful, using pallets, bags, recyclable material, or hydroponics. The chosen style will depend on the available space.

Sometimes the fruits, vegetables, and legumes that are sold in the markets are too expensive or can be contaminated due to bad handling. That’s why many people have decided to grow their own food, hence self-consumption.

Of course, it is not large-scale production and, in addition, not all plants develop the same way. However, it does give you the possibility of obtaining inexpensive, fresh, and clean food for you and your family.

The important thing is to know the characteristics and conditions of the plants you want to grow so that you can ensure their optimal development and multiple benefits for your health and pocket.

Keep in mind that the first step is choosing the types of plants to sow to determine the best structure for the vegetable garden. Do not forget the location must be suitable for the species you’re planting. Some prefer direct sun, others semi-shade, and others have a predilection for shady places.

Finally, when planting in pots, you must supply the substrate with the necessary nutrients for the plants to absorb them and grow properly. As the ideal of urban gardens is to reduce the environmental impact, I suggest organic fertilizers, contributing with your grain of sand to this cause.

Taken from Pinterest

local gardens 

These gardens are managed by the local municipalities or town halls. The people responsible for the care and cultivation of these gardens belong to social groups, elderly people, or non-profit foundations.

The care is carried out for a defined time, and its purpose is to teach inexperienced people how to cultivate and take care of plants.

In addition, this type of garden allows social inclusion, a matter that has been affected lately, as people have other interests. And also, as I mentioned before, it works as a physical activity for the elderly.  

The municipalities are in charge of providing the space, water, tools, and other objects needed to grow food. And thanks to the fact that it is community work, it sets an example to the new generations so that they become more environmentally conscious.

If, in your city, there is a garden of this type, get ready to participate in it. You’ll share with many people interested in environmental care and healthy food consumption. Besides, it helps you distract yourself from the daily routine and learn something new.

Taken from Pinterest

Didactic gardens 

These gardens are similar to the previous type as they are designed to educate inexperienced people about crops. The difference is that educational gardens target schools and work to educate children and teenagers.

When a school contributes to the creation of these gardens in their facilities, it allows your kids to get in direct contact with nature, create emotional bonds with their environment, and better understand how to take care of water and food.

These gardens also help your children to develop their sense of responsibility, work as part of a team, feel empathy for other living beings, strive for good results, and acquire healthy habits.

In addition, gardens can be created in pots, directly in the ground, and made with recycled materials or on cultivation tables. It all depends on the school’s resources and the interest of the school community in this educational garden project.

Taken from Pinterest

Community gardens 

These gardens are created in common spaces, either public or private. The people in charge of maintaining and caring for the crops belong to the community, mainly the neighbors.

They are also called social gardens, and besides providing fresh food for people, they help to increase green areas in the city, work as a pollution filter and provide the possibility to share with family, friends, or neighbors.

This type of garden encourages the development of social commitment both for their community, to achieve a common goal, and for the environment, which you know requires immediate attention in order to avoid further damage.

Taken from Pinterest

Therapy gardens 

This last type of garden can be found in nursing homes for elderly people, rehabilitation clinics, prisons, or care centers for people with disabilities. The reason is that they are used to complement some therapeutic treatments for people who are in these places.

Therapeutic gardens help to improve people’s physical and mental health. Moreover, it’s not necessary to resort to fancy tools for their elaboration, nor to very sophisticated treatments to see the results in people.

Taken from Pinterest

How to build an outdoor urban garden?  

Now that you know a bit more about the importance of urban gardens, and you already have the necessary information to start planting, I’ll explain the step by step to build the garden you wish.

Below, you’ll find the materials and instructions to create a wooden garden bed, which are sections that divide the crops from the rest of the land. For a large size bed (2.5 m X 1 m X 40 cm), the materials you’ll need are:

  • 4 wooden planks (can be pine) 2.5 m (2.5 ft.) long, 5 cm (2.5 ft.) thick and 20 cm (8 in.) wide each.
  • 4 wooden planks 1 m (3 ft) long, 5 cm (2 in) thick and 20 cm (8 in) wide each
  • 4 wooden poles or blocks 7×7 cm wide and 40 cm long each to reinforce the planks.
  • Meter
  • 120 mm screws
  • A level
  • A drill to perforate the wood and tighten the screws
  • 4 clamps or vises

Step 1. Selecting the terrain and work area 

Garden beds can be placed in large gardens with soil, in abandoned spaces similar to community gardens, on concrete or tile floors, at your children’s school, or even on sturdy tables. No matter what kind of available space, you can always adapt the construction of the garden to your conditions and needs.

To start building your garden bed, you must get a flat surface so that you avoid any accidents and so that the planks of wood are well adjusted. Once you have your workspace ready, screw the lateral sides of the larger timber onto the posts.

Taken from

You’re going to use 2 screws at the two ends of each plank, and tighten them so that the planks and post are as even as possible. You can lean your knee on the planks to make screwing easier. It should look like the picture below:

Step 2. Screwing and leveling the planks 

Once you have prepared the planks, place them vertically on the ground, as shown in the image above. In this step, you’re going to add the first 1 m (3 ft.) plank to close the bed.

For this step, it’s necessary to use the presses or clamps and the level, before screwing to the posts, the beds must be as level and aligned as possible.

Once you have adjusted and leveled each plank, you can bolt it down. However, I suggest starting with one corner first and checking the others as they can slip out of position.

Adjust and level as many times as necessary with the help of the presses and the level. This way screwing everything together will be much easier. Use 2 screws per plank.

Step 3. Positioning the bench on the chosen terrain 

Before screwing the second 1-meter plank, you must place the bench on the ground because the more wood you add, the heavier it gets and the more uncomfortable it’ll be to place.

If you have more beds, place them 70 cm (2 feet) apart from each other, you can measure them with the meter to make it more accurate. That distance will allow enough space between the beds to make it easy to manipulate the plants from either side.

The distance doesn’t need to be exactly that; you may leave as much space as you consider necessary. This is more of a reference to guide you. Once you have located the bed, screw the second 1-meter plank to close it.

The process is exactly the same as the previous step, use the level to align the boards and the clamps to adjust before screwing. Once you are sure that everything is aligned, you can screw.

Step 4. Leveling the exterior of the garden bed: sand and paint the wood. 

Once you have finished the bed and set it in the ground, you must arrange the surrounding soil. This way, the garden will look much better and leveled. You can add a little more soil if necessary.

In case the wood has irregularities, like splinters, you can smooth the edges. This will help you avoid any accidents, especially if children or elderly people are around.

If you wish, you can keep its natural color; however, if you want it to look colorful, you can apply nogalina: a natural dye used to stain wood and is non-toxic to plants.

Mix the nogalina with warm water and apply it to the wood with a sponge or brush. You can do it before laying the bench on the ground to facilitate painting the whole thing.

Avoid using any type of varnish or paint other than nogalina, as they can cause the wood pores to clog and rot.

Step 5. Filling the gardening bed 

At this point, the bed should be ready, so you can fill it in. Add a layer of topsoil or whatever you have on the ground, a layer of processed manure, and a layer of compost. This is known as a universal substrate and will serve for most edible plants in home gardens. Remember that all these components can be purchased in specialized stores or nurseries if it’s easier for you to buy them.

You’re going to mix all the soil very well with the help of a shovel and a rake, which will help you to get it ready for sowing the plants.

Note: Remember that you can make the urban vegetable garden however big or small you want, depending on the available space (indoors or outdoors) and materials. The measures I have mentioned for the garden bed are to guide you but don’t have to be strictly those.

After building the garden structure, you’ll probably think: “What’s next? Well, in previous ¨Your garden site¨ blogs, you can find a guide on how to plant various plants, their care, and the species you can easily grow in the urban garden you’ve just created. Below, I’ll list a few blogs so that you can have more detailed information at hand.


I hope you have found this blog about urban gardens helpful. As you know, you can choose any type of vegetable garden and get started with the project, you won’t regret it.

Don’t forget to check our blogs about aromatic, medicinal, ornamental, and horticultural plants to learn about their needs and requirements. This will make it easier to grow them in the gardens. Let’s get to work!