Choosing plants wisely is the best way to make the most of an Urban Garden, as everything has to work hard in a smaller space. Foliage is a great place to start if you’re not lucky enough to have acres of garden – Ferns, Heuchera, Acer and Pittosporum create texture and greenery while Echinacea’s daisy-like floral bloom adds splashes of colour and needs little tending to. Tulips, Daffodils, Begonias and Zinnias all add colour and can be displayed in containers or hanging baskets. If you’re hoping to make your own kitchen produce, window boxes are a great way to grow herbs, while Tomatoes can be grown upside down to avoid taking up a lot of room.
Being a city-dweller often means that your garden space is more limited than if you lived in the countryside. If your garden space is at a premium, you can still make a petite patio, the smallest patch of grass or the tiniest of balconies the perfect outdoor haven - you just have to be a little more creative and make the most of every inch of space.
Before you begin though, you need to decide on your priorities. Are you hoping to create a space for entertaining friends or are you simply hoping for somewhere you can sit with a coffee on a Saturday morning? Are you looking for an explosion of flowers and nature in your city space or would you rather try growing a few goodies for the kitchen? A city or urban garden can accommodate all of these, but it’s important to decide on the purpose of your garden before you get to designing.
Our top design tips
- Being wary of over-cluttering is key when you’re working with a small space. Concentrate on a few elements, depending on what you’re going to do with your space and be disciplined at sticking to that theme.
- Hanging Wisteria is a beautiful way to make the most of a smaller space. Create a pergola for it to climb if there’s room in your garden, or affix a few simple beams wherever you can for the same effect. You can also grow Wisteria up walls to create a floral carpet vibe.
- Utilising height is a great way to make the most of what you have. Add shelves (either freestanding or mounted on a wall) so there’s more room to display plants, flowers and garden accessories.
- Get creative with containers and planters. Buckets make a great home for planting flowers, while hanging baskets and tiered planters (one resting on top of another) make the most of any precious floor space. Window boxes are another good space saving way of displaying plants and flowers.
- Plants can soak up light so if your space is already at a premium, it’s important to make sure there’s plenty of light so you won’t feel closed in as the skies darken. City and urban garden spaces are often used in the evening more than countryside gardens, so good lighting will enable you to enjoy the space long after the sun has set.
- Grow bags are the Urban Garden tender’s most useful tool and are ideal for growing fruit, vegetables and flowers.
- It might be the oldest trick in the book for making rooms inside your house look bigger, but a couple of vintage mirrors in your urban city garden can make the space look bigger outdoors too.
- Terrariums are the ideal way to get a low maintenance introduction to gardening, and make the perfect addition to any small outdoor space. Fill a glass container with small rocks, potting soil, succulents and cacti and pop on a balcony or patio.
- Most garden designs can be repurposed on a smaller scale – see our other guides for inspiration on how you can utilise your outside area to create an urban haven. Cottage, Contemporary, Oriental and Kitchen gardens work well on a smaller scale.
- Having an outside area of your own in a city is a luxury that you should make the most of. Ensure you have somewhere to sit and enjoy being outside – whether that’s with a cup of tea, your evening meal, or just your thoughts and a good book.
The finishing touches
The finishing touches for your urban garden depend entirely on the theme you’ve decided to adopt (if you’ve decided to adopt one at all). Don’t be afraid to get creative with the accessories you use and the ways in which you plant – utilise the space in any way you can by thinking about levels and height. Enjoy exploring and experimenting with your city haven.