Green Thumb


overlooking the street


Joe and I have a small terrace attached to our apartment, and for us, it was one of the major selling points of this unit. Outdoor space in NYC is a hot commodity as it is, and you can imagine how much hotter it becomes if you have a dog! The terrace itself was nothing pretty to look at (think lots of cement and some weirdly placed, non-working air vents), but we knew with a few pots and planters, we could make it our cozy outdoor sanctuary (and potentially one that yielded us some fresh herbs and veggies). So this weekend, we tackled our new garden project!

Just to give you an idea of the before, here are some pictures I snapped right when we moved in: 

patio 2

patio 1

Womp, wompppp…

And here are some of the after shots:

garden 2

Where there was a weird L-shaped corner of cement, we placed a planter with some trellis and new ivy plants. The idea is they’ll grow up and disguise some of the rough looking wall.


We snagged these planters from Crate and Barrel and filled them with grass and a pretty little purple flower. The grass already disguises one of the air vents, and will grow probably another 6-8 inches.

garden 1

On the ledge above the terrace, we placed these window boxes and filled them with flowers that will grow outward and hopefully spread over and down the wall. The other, smaller planter box has parsley and cilantro in it.


This strange creature can be spotted on the terrace all the time. It’s a pretty cute little critter, so we haven’t set traps for it yet.


Basil can overtake everything (it just grows to be so big and bushy!) so we kept it in its own smaller container.


On one side of the terrace, we got these hanging railing boxes, and planted this herb garden! In addition to the basil, cilantro and parsley, we now have chives, rosemary, oregano, and English thyme.

lucy's spot

Next to the ivy we’ve set up a little potty area for Lucy. She’s a huge fan of not having to go down several flights of stairs just to do her business! She’s also really particular about where she goes (has to have good drainage; preferably against a wall that has plants next to it), so the ivy set up is perfect. Silly pup!

I love, love, LOVE lavender, so I was really excited to get a bush of it for the space. It makes the area smell so good!

flower boxes

lucy's watchtower

This is basically what she’ll do for hours at a time — she’s our little watchdog.

We really love the progress we made this weekend (believe it or not, including a trip to the garden shop, this all took about 4 hours total). Next spring, we’re talking about adding some additional terraced planters on the far wall of the space to help disguise the big, tall cement wall. It’s a little too late in the season this year to get ambitious with planting cut flowers, but next year, I have my eye on a couple rose bushes and peony plants too.

Who knew I had such a green thumb? I adore this gardening stuff!

{Image Credits: Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese}

Leave a Comment


  1. 8.12.13
    meg said:

    Your space looks great! Your dog is also adorable!!!

  2. 8.12.13
    Rachelle said:

    Lucy is the cutest thing ever.

  3. 8.12.13
    Alex said:

    It is looking fabulous. I wish we had tackled our roof deck this year, hopefully next year! And Lucy is just too cute for freaking words.

  4. 8.12.13
    Lauren said:

    This looks amazing!

  5. 8.12.13
    Ailee said:

    Ahh, the space looks amazing. I love all sorts of interior design, but anything outdoors intimidates me. Want to come back to Texas and help? ;) Great inspiration. Thanks!!

  6. 8.12.13

    how beautiful! I especially love the little place for Lucy!

  7. 8.12.13
    Kayla said:

    Your green thumb is GOOD! Much better than mine.. I just seem to kill plants.. ek! I love the little potty area for Lucy. That’s the best idea ever. I feel like I need one of those inside my house for my Lucy, especially when it’s raining. She hates getting in the wet grass!


  8. 8.12.13

    Wow, that looks beautiful. You will really get a lot of enjoyment out of that spot!

  9. 8.12.13
    dana said:

    SUCH a cute idea! I’m moving into a new apartment with a balcony and I may need to try this… love it

    The Casual Classic

  10. 8.12.13
    Alexa said:

    Oh Victoria! It looks amazing…its so important to have some outdoor space in the city and glad Lucy is enjoying it too!

  11. 8.12.13
    Dana said:

    Ah so jealous you have a balcony in NYC! I love what you have done with it so far.

  12. 8.12.13
    Christin said:

    i am so incredibly jealous! it looks amazing. such a perfect little space!

  13. 8.12.13
    chelsie said:

    lucy is the cutest!!

  14. 8.12.13
    Megan said:

    Love it! Lavender is on my list.

    I have anything but a green thumb, but to help keep your basil in control – use it :) Pruning (aka using it) is really easy. If you don’t have time to use it (like making a big batch of pesto), add it to water with strawberries or cucumber and lemon.

  15. 8.12.13

    what fun! you did an amazing job victoria!

  16. 8.12.13
    Andrea said:

    You did a wonderful job. The terrace looks great and you’ll love the lavender! I have a lot of it in my backyard and it smells so nice! :)
    xo Andrea
    Wonderful and Marvelous

  17. 8.12.13

    Outdoor space in the NYC area is essential! I couldn’t live without ours – small kitchen but large outdoor space I wouldn’t trade for the world. Glad you are settling into NYC!

  18. 8.12.13

    Victoria, I love it! Ryan and I just moved down to the Bay Area (Cupertino) and will finally be in our actual apartment next week! We have a balcony too but I’ve yet to see our specific unit, and I’m sure we’ll have vents and things to hide as well. Loving the idea of pretty grasses – we’ve also been considering boxwoods and potted hydrangeas. And hallelujah for fresh herbs! First things I’m going to do is plant some rosemary! Haha.

  19. 8.12.13
    jenna said:

    i love it! good job accessorizing everything, and your little french bully is so cute!

  20. 8.12.13
    Alyssa said:

    That little grass patch is genius–I’d totally get that for a pup!

  21. 8.12.13
    Whitney said:

    This looks gorgeous! Reminds me of the photos I picked as inspiration last year. Well done!

  22. 8.12.13
    michelle said:

    you are so lucky to have an outdoor space!!

  23. 8.12.13

    You have a green thumb…I am just green with envy! I kill EVERYTHING I come in contact with. It’s remarkable. Beautiful pots and planters–again, what impeccable taste you have!

  24. 8.12.13
    ame said:

    That looks fantastic!

  25. 8.12.13
    Kristina said:

    Ha I love how particular your dog is about where she goes to the bathroom, too cute!

    Kristina does the Internets

  26. 8.12.13
    Chelsea said:

    I am so impressed; the space looks fantastic! I definitely do not have a green thumb but I would love to figure that out and create a beautiful space! And that critter is pretty cute!

  27. 8.12.13

    LOVE this! My thumb is far from green and this is encouraging. Such a lovely little terrace, too!

  28. 8.13.13
    Meg Biram said:

    Awwww Lucy’s little perch :)

  29. 8.13.13
    Nan said:

    I love this! I’ve been on the hunt for a pot and love the one you planted your lavender in. Where did you find it??

    • 8.13.13
      vmacandcheese said:

      It’s from Crate and Barrel (and their outlet division too, so a little more affordable:

    • 8.13.13
      vmacandcheese said:

      PS, the lavender is in the medium planter and the basil is in the small. Be prepared: the medium weighs like 50+ lbs!!

  30. 8.13.13

    So impressed by anyone with an urban green thumb! This is the first year (of many) that I haven’t killed my balcony herbs… yours look fabulous!

  31. 8.13.13
    Rose said:

    I love your terrace!! Since I live in Queens, we have a sizable porch (read: bigger than my bedroom) off the back end of our apartment, and while we’ve been there for almost two years I didn’t start really sprucing it up til this summer. I’m growing a variety of herbs plus lavender and strawberries, and I’m hoping to add some more plants for better decoration next summer now that I’ve cleaned up the rest of our porch!

    Blonde in this City

  32. 8.14.13
    Rebecca said:

    I can’t believe it only took you 4 hours. It is so gorgeous! I feel so inspired. This may have to be a project this weekend. Lucy is so cute! We have a lab and he is the same way, always on the look out!

  33. 8.14.13

    Umm. Looks awesome! I need some lavender now!

  34. 8.14.13

    I’m jealous you have a balcony to do all this on…My hubby and I resorted to making a garden on our fire escape, but I’m pretty proud of the way it’s turned out. Gardening in NYC is definitely a challenge, regardless of space!

  35. 5.6.19
    Lee said:

    Awesome pics of the patio area, such great ideas! Love it all! :)