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respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

Posted by tampahydro 9 Tampa, FL (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 25, 09 at 3:38

I am currently living in an HOA development. I am growing hot peppers and various herbs and vegetables hydroponically statically in perlite. Does anyone have photos of outdoor setups that look "normal" and dont attract much attention.

I am open to various systems and setups. I am successful not using shade cloth in this extreme heat, but I wouldnt mind implementing it. Any help would surely be appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

The challenge with this request (and its reasonable on the surface) is that there are several factors for your situation, to start:
How much space do you have?
How big do you want your system to be?
What is your preferred method to grow hydro, looking forward?
What outdoor pests will you have?
What type of plants or combination of plants will you want?
What are your financial resources?
What is your experience level, in terms of total methods used?
Do you want a more permanent system, or a system designed for maximum portability (quick break-down)?
What do you environs look like? Hard to respond as it is because what might be low profile in one situation could be radically ostentatious in another.

There are additional factors:
For myself, I have a great, low-profile, highly usable outdoor system (four, actually), but I dont want to convey any pictures. Why?
Like many hydroponic growers, Im a very creative person, in at least one way, and Im not keen on giving away my genius (grins) for free.
If someone recommends a system or method or layout that you havent tried yet, and it doesnt work out well, they get the blame.
What to do?
Search the web with "outdoor hydroponics" and browse around (youve likely done this already, but one cannot assume). THe incredible th ing is that there are many people who do write, publish, picture, and share their designs freely. Asking for even MORE neglects what has already been shared.
Incredibly, there are a lot of hydroponic VIDEOS on Browse around there. I'm overdue to check up on that resource myself.

Sooner or later I will likely share what I've done, giving away ideas or notes for free. Just not ready to do so now.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

It's a shame you don't want to share. Most people come to the forum to share. Whether it's feed schedules or total systems. If you are not planning on making money there is much to be gained from sharing knowledge.

Look at what free software (open source) has done for software industry.

Knowledge should be free.


RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

This is one of the systems I am running currently.

While it probably doesn't meet the exacting requirements of an HOA, it would be very easy to make it work.
first you'd rework the reservoir to sit beneath the plant runs. then you'd simply frame up a decent looking facade the is only an inch or two taller that the top of said runs.
If you don't physically attach it the the frame simply pull it out of the way to tend to the reservoir. If you do directly attach it, just make sure to frame out a door to grant you access.
I keep mine ugly because I don't have to keep it pretty. I don't beleive in HOA's.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

I hope to share soon. I have shared in other venues. There's a hydro shop somewhere in california already distributing some research i've authored. But I'm not ready to share pics yet. Sorry.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

Hi 1webft.,
We who are about to mangle await you.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

In the meantime, Chris wants pics posted. Does Chris have any? You?

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

This is a kinda funny outcome...
I don't want to correct anybody here or even patronize.

But - what does respectable in this context mean? Decent in a more popular (good looking) way, or more like in respect to environment and nature?

Integration into a natural environment and a respectable look may differ much.

I am in a similar situation and have a few designs in petto. I was also about to ask more details about size, space and other specification. But then again I was thinking: "why do you ask details, if you are not sure if you want to share your ideas and concepts?!".

As for you, you haven't had that second thought, were posting a whole questionary, but at the end say that you do not want to share your designs (for good reason, I understand perfectly well) though. And last, you tell the poster to search the web for designs. Something which is so obvious that it even doesn't need to be mentioned. Not much different from a "Tu quoque" argument actually. As in: "if you like the live in a commune, why don't you go and found one?" Well yes the guy was coming "to us" to get inspiration and perhaps picking-up some good ideas. There is actually no need at all to tell him implicitly that he is some kind of Beneficiary and should look elsewhere ...

Yeah, it's a way reckless, isn't it? ;)

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

Stick your plants in perlite in nice-looking plastic pots and water them with nutrients of the proper EC and Ph.

Unless you're growing pot, nobody will likely notice or care.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

If I had some photos that would help the OP then I would by all means post. My setups, while functional, would def. not mean the standards of the HOA. I have posted pictures of my setups in other posts where they were relevant.

Put lipstick on a pig! Take for example the ebb&grow .. ebb and flow setup in 3 gallon buckets. Just get the proper bit to drill through terracotta. Make a standard ebb and flow, but placing the buckets within nice terracotta pots. You can bury the rez so it's not visible and carefully hide the feed/drain lines. Now you just have a row or square of terracotta pots with beautiful plants.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

TampaHydro - can you please answer my questions, and perhaps I can respond with additional input. Let's continue privately. I've run outdoor hydro for five years in an HOA-governed condo complex. They would not have allowed a greenhouse, but two protective screen houses were OK. Go figure. Otherwise, a well chosen system can be less visibly remarkable than an unused BBQ grill, a large patio umbrella, or patio furniture. Cleanliness and simplicity would be priorities, I would suppose. Nope - I'm not posting pics on this website. They might claim ownership of my intellectual property.

To my temporary critics - (not all of you) - you bemoan my not posting pics, but not single one of you (my critics) has posted pics of your own, and most of you are more concerned with me than with the original topic. I've spoken to it. Have you? If not, speak to it now, or at least ask relevant questions of the OP. Otherwise, thanks for the fun.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

Camera-less I have gone through life & online now 13 months.
I think I have figured out what a HOA is.
Advice: pretty up the out side of your grow system & keep water
components conveniently accessible for your sanity.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups


Hi. I have the same issue as you. I was courteous enough to ask the HOA president what would be an acceptable way to grow a couple tomato plants in DWC without creating an eyesore and he told me if i wanted to grow vegetables to fence in my backyard. So i said screw it and plopped my tomato plants into 5 gallon dwc buckets and set them outside my garage door in the sun. I also have a large cherry tomato plant, a gaint aloe plant, and 4 other tomatoes growing in pots, all right out front in my driveway. It's been over a month now but i know the letters are coming, it's just a matter of time.
If and when they do bother me i plan on buying a couple large pots and converting my dwc setup to them instead of buckets. They seem to be ok with the nice flower pots as i've used them for years without a complaint.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here are some photos of my plants in the driveway

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

If you're wanting to do DWC in your back yard, why not just sink the whole thing into the ground and toss a little mulch over the top for camouflage? It should be almost undetectable as a hydro setup to the untrained eye.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

Nice idea enigmamachine42 but i would aslo need to camouflage the plants. Anything less and it's a violation especially since i live on a corner lot and my backyard is viewable from the road.

Here is a link that might be useful: My DWC Tomato Growing Experience-2009

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

Hi myron,
If disguising the plants an issue then go with low growing crops & enigmamachine's buried reservoir idea.
Crop would have to be edible greens, so red fruiting plants no good.
It really seems you are on to either hobby growing or food bill reduction dream.
Malabar "spinach" will look like a climbing ground cover, you can cut it all the time to eat & get grow back.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

how about a privacy fence or hedge line around the edge of your property. Keep those nosey neighbors from watching you so much.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

Many HOA's have different rules. What are the rules you have to avoid breaking exactly? As mentioned, the word "respectable" is relative. Some HOA's do not allow fences. Some will not allow hedges. Some will not even allow you to do your own landscaping and charge you a fee to pay professionals to tend the entire community, which means you can't have any plants no matter how "respectable". Some do not allow anything to be stored outside on the porch.

If you are allowed to build a structure to keep on the porch or something, you can build a box and put the same color siding on it to match the house. This would make it look nice and insulate the reservoir(s) from the heat of the sun. I did this last year for one set-up, but this year converted it for vermiculture. You could do this with the system grizzman pictured or you could put DWC or waterfarms in it. You could hide an ebb and flow table away in it, too. I'm afraid I don't have a pic of the hydro system, but I can probably get around to taking a pic of the vermiculture system so you see what I'm talking about. For a small system, the materials wouldn't be too awfully expensive.

Strongly opinionated editorial next, so don't read if you wish to stay on the topic:

Like grizzman, I don't believe in HOA's. I'd like to add to that. As a prior service American soldier and someone (like most of us, surely) with family members that died for our freedom it makes me sick that people voluntarily give up any of that freedom to live in an HOA community and even pay extra for it. What makes me most sick is when I see American soldiers doing so. It is nothing less than a slap in the face to all those that have died so your freedom wouldn't be taken just so you could voluntarily give it up. Anyone that values freedom should boycott these things so they disappear and show you understand what many people died for you to have.

RE: respectable looking outdoor hydro setups

I think these DWC's with wood enclosures look great:

Here is a link that might be useful: DWC with wooden planter

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