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New ways to “green” your small space today

Today, I wander around the Festival del Verde e del Paesaggio (garden and landscaping expo) in Rome’s Parco della Musica auditorium. Amongst the beautiful plants and trees, I see a large, colorful space full of stands.

At least, I think they are stands.


I soon find out they are a series of structures where creativity is the common denominator.

Looking at them as a whole, they seem to convey a simple message: start “greening” your small space today.

When I look at my pamphlet explaining the expo, I notice the name of this area is “Roman Balconies”.

Now – if you have ever been to Rome, you will surely know that typical balconies here barely fit two people standing together on it at once. Therefore – go figure out to make them eco-frendly. And, all the more so, how and where to organize plants on them!

Intrigued, I walk on to check out the ideas. I immediately find five awesome young architects that catch my eye. Their works and innovation transform a tiny spot into an amazing world.

Check their impressive creations out. Who knows, their ideas may provide inspiration as to how you, too, can “green” your small space!

1. First of all, I meet Sara. She is sitting on a cool set of eco-friendly outdoor and garden furniture (called Kami Paku). She excitedly explains how she has just finished creating this by hot-gluing packaging cardboard panels together. I give it a try and am amazed. It’s super sturdy, comfy and fun to sit on. Sara even shows me how the furniture are single blocks which you can actually mix and match like Lego sets. Incredible! All you need to do, once you glue the panels, is coat the pieces of furniture with water-repellant, non-chemical paint – and sit. Brava Sara!

2. Next, I talk to Valentina and Margherita. They showcase a happy and child-friendly green space, named Garden Therapy. One of the main features is the black and white, adhesive wallpaper. It comes from recycled paper and – most noteworthy – it serves as an awesome canvas! Just grab you favorite set of colours, unwind with a grass of matcha and then color away! When done, you can simply replace the wallpaper with another one of its prints. And finally, decorate the space with your favourite plants and flowers. It seems like this set-up will become a definite must-have for parents (and not only). After all, who hasn’t always dreamed of drawing on every wall in the house? Grazie ragazze!

3. Finally, I go to Livia and Matteo. Their set-up, known as Balcone Re-Co, is a resistant, fun and beautiful structure. I look closer because I am not sure whether it is made of wood or of cement. It turns out that, while the pavement is tile, the rest of their space is a mix of old wood and concrete slabs. They explain that they create and decorate spaces using construction sites’ old or leftover materials. These include tiles, discarded cement blocks, wood containers – anything that usually constitutes “debris”. They are able to make it useful and, especially, alive again. Keep up the inspiring work, guys!

Michelle Calcatelli

Michelle Calcatelli

Hi there! My name is Michelle. I'm an American living in Italy, mom of two girls, a lover of travel, music and good food shared with loved ones. I am a freelance grant writer and a former agricultural development practitioner, having worked mostly in rural Africa for 18 years. I look forward to creating a space here - with your help - where we can exchange dreams, ideas and kindness to start shaping a better tomorrow.

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