Vertical gardening is all the rage -- a quick Pinterest search for "garden" reveals stacked pots, pallet gardens, and walls of flowers. But what seems like a simple space-saving technique is not always so easy to execute.
Alex Billingsley offers an alternative to the DIY approach currently taking over gardening websites and magazines alike. After spending the past year refining his version of the vertical garden, Billingsley's business Flower Street Urban Gardens now offers pre-made kits and home installations that allow gardeners to focus on the actual gardening. And his setups look infinitely more pro than your average weekend project.
Initially, Billingsley began experimenting with vertical gardening when he noticed his elderly father having trouble reaching the raised bed in his backyard. He started thinking about designing a gardening experience that could be accessible for everyone, regardless of physical limitations.
Having spent several years traveling to teach design for L'Oréal, Billingsley had experience to start with. He says that working with his hands is something he truly enjoys. Though Flower Street Urban Gardens has experienced huge growth since opening last summer, Billingsley still does most of the installations by hand.
The series of units lining a wall on 44th Street and Flower, where the company is headquartered, is a real showstopper. But the design isn't purely visually motivated: The rows of flower beds are angled so that they shade one another, which is particularly useful during the hot summer months in the Valley.
Billingsley is currently working on a custom install for the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel that will cover a 12-foot-tall wall. His vertical gardens were recently approved by the Scottsdale district to be put into schools (the setup is perfect for teaching purposes).
When asked why he thinks vertical gardens have seen such a boom in recent years, Billingsley says it's not just about saving space. "It's more about having a different relationship with your garden. With this kind of set-up, you really get to have a conversation with your plants."