Hanging Gardens Make Sleek Use of Small Balconies

© Manuel Dreesmann
Designer's rendering of the Skyfarm on a kitchen balcony.

If you're an urban dweller with a typically tiny balcony, it can be a tough choice: Set up a garden, or have a nice little chair and table where you can sit outdoors. Now, a new design innovation promises to allow you room to grow your arugula and eat it too.

The ever-increasing height of buildings in the city often means more balconies, German designer Manuel Dreesmann writes. No matter how small, he says, these balconies "offer a lot of unused space above your head. This is the space for the Skyfarm!"

'Farms' Floating In The Sky
Dreesmann's "Skyfarm" concept shares a name with ideas for massive vertical farms that would cover the sides of entire skyscrapers, but his is a more modest approach meant for individual households. It is also perhaps a bit more poetic -- these "farms" appear from a distance to be floating in the sky.

© Manuel Dreesmann
Instructions for using the Skyfarm.

A variable number of "Skypots" -- sleek, simple acrylic spheres with a white base to cover the soil and a transparent top where the plant is growing -- can be attached to the ceiling of a balcony and adjusted to an appropriate height.

Adjustable 'Skypots'
Each pot has a retractable handle that can be pulled to bring the plants down to a comfortable arm's reach so they can be tended or harvested, and then tugged again to send them back up overhead. (The handles even have a space on them to write the plant's name "to be able to identify it up in the sky.")

With the world's urban population continuing to grow, the market for these Skypots could be practically limitless -- Dreesmann says he just needs some partners to turn the concept into reality.

Tags: Designers | Gardening | Germany | Small Spaces | Urban Life

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