Over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban centers. The United Nations estimates that by the year 2050 that number will be closer to 70%. With space already at a premium among some of the world’s most expensive cities, what is a gardener to do? Well, like many of our great cities, gardeners all over the world have chosen to grow up rather than out.

Vertical gardening may be the wave of the future. A little horizontal space can go a long way toward changing the feel of a place. Examples from all over the world, like this one in Brazil and this gutter garden, show what can be done with some ingenuity and a little space.

If you’re not particularly handy, you can buy a home kit made for vertical gardening. Vertical Gardening Systems and like-minded businesses specialize in giving you what you need for your space in pre-made packages. Places like Home Depot and Lowe’s will also be able to get you started down the path to vertical gardening.

In the last post we wrote about social gardening. Take it to the next level (pardon the pun) by beautifying your area with a vertical garden. Need some inspiration? Patric Blanc, French botanist and vertical gardening pioneer, travels the world creating and photographing some of the most stunning urban gardens we’ve ever seen. Maybe your ambition won’t quite reach the level of these amazing works, but a little green can go a long way in any community.

Vertical gardening isn’t just eye candy. In addition to providing a flash of green in an otherwise mundane space, these gardens can be turned to for more practical purposes.

The world population grows each day, contributing to the rising cost and shrinking availability of food. Traditional farming practices dictate that wide swaths of land are used for farming, and they aren’t making any more of it. Vertical farming may be the answer. In short, what you do on your balcony or in your community might be the solution to hunger worldwide. Companies like Terrasphere are hard at work to make ultra-efficient vertical farming a reality. With the potential to create yields many times that of larger operations, vertical and indoor farming is a blooming technology that may help millions.

Whether you’re looking to plant a few flowers or change the world, vertical gardening is an exciting, fun, and efficient way to make a lot out of a little.