seasonal feature

Green neighbourhoods

We've got tips to get you planting even if you don't have a garden

Written by
Claire Murphy
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Having living things around you has been proven to lighten your mood, lower your stress levels, decrease anxiety, as well as improve air quality.  Here are our cheap and easy suggestions to help you go green at home.


They cheer up the place and make a house a home. Pick up cheap plants at your local supermarket, garden centres or ask friends for gifts or cuttings. if you’re a first-timer, choose succulents and something like spider plants or the ‘wandering’ variety of tradescantia, as they don’t need a lot of attention.

The Peace Lily is a great choice of plant for your home as it can help prevent mould growth. Peace Lily plants are purifying, and don't need much sunlight to survive, making them ideal for bathrooms without windows. You can buy them fairly cheaply in most supermarkets.

Brighten up a balcony

You may not have a garden, but may still have room for a few pots. Chose lightweight containers but secure them to ensure they won’t blow over in the wind. 

Best for sun

  • Jasmine
  • Sweet peas
  • Clematis
  • Petunias
  • African daisies
  • Bizzy Lizzies

Don't mind the shade

  • Hostas
  • Geraniums
  •  Heucheras
  • Ferns

Good for a windy spot

  • Grasses
  •  Sea holly
  • Hawthorns 

Growing your own veg

Tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and potatoes, as well as many herbs, will thrive in a small space. You don’t even need a pot, you could use a growbag or turn a crate lined with a binbag into your vegetable bed.

FREE seeds and gardening goodies
Here are a few ways to get your hands on free seeds to get you started:

• Rowse Honey are offering free packs of wildflowers to help ‘feed the bees’:
• Airwick are giving away seeds for their wildflower project:
• The BBC are giving away a free poster on the ‘power of plants’:

Life on your street

A campaign to ‘plant life in your street’ was started outside a council block in London in 2009. A local man found small patches of land, around the base of a tree or on a street corner, crying out for plants and flowers. His aim was to make his local area a nice place to live. 

At Optivo, we co-create with our residents on their local open spaces and work closely with them on community projects such as tree planting, allotments and sensory gardens.

Optivo in action

We’ve been supporting a family in Sussex. The resident’s partner died and her neighbour had complained about the condition of her garden. With great teamwork and funding we were able to clear the garden so the family had one less thing to worry about.

Before the team started work...




Looking much clearer afterwards...

The resident told us: “Thank you so much for helping to get my back garden sorted out. I really appreciate it more than you will realise, especially with my partner passing away. You have taken a huge amount of pressure off my shoulders and now the kids and I can grieve without stressing over the garden."