For many people when they think of gardening, they conjure up images of large open spaces with a good sized lawn, flowers and even a tree or two. The reality, however, for many, and particularly as modern houses are more compact and built closer together, is that gardens are getting smaller.
The concept of the smaller garden is something that those individuals who live in the bustling cities are very used to, and the idea of urban gardening is something that is very much on their radar. The challenge with any smaller outside space is trying to get it just right, neither too sparse nor too cluttered. But done right, even the smallest terrace, courtyard garden or tiny balcony can create the perfect sanctuary where you can escape from the stresses of the day.
The challenges of an urban garden
There are several challenges that must be addressed when styling an urban garden. One of the biggest of which is choosing plants that grow best in an urban environment. Other things to consider are what type of layout will work well in the space that you have and even how you can add some much needed privacy to your outdoor space.
Fortunately, all of these relatively small hurdles are ones which can be overcome, and we have put together a few tips that can help you make your urban garden a stylish space that will be equally as beautiful as a larger country garden.
Consider your planting
With many urban gardens being on the longer, narrower side – think terraced or mews housing, the options for planting are a little more limited. Large bushy plants with a wide spread can take up too much of your precious footage, making your garden seem even narrower. Instead, consider options like climbers and hedges which will create a lush green wall in your garden and grow upwards instead of out. They can also help to soften up a fence or wall at the boundary of your property, giving them a more fluid look.
Oversized pots or planters can be used to great effect. Corten steel garden planters for example not only offer the perfect option when it comes to planting in your urban garden, but they also make a real statement with their modern lines and elegant colouring. A range of different sized planters or pots will help to add a better sense of space to your garden and can be used to great effect to create a flow and shape to your outside space. This will lead your gaze towards the end of your garden.
Ditch the lawn
Long narrow lawns are not necessarily the best use of space in an urban garden. They need plenty of sunshine to thrive so if your garden is overshadowed, as is often the case in a more built up environment, then it may be time to ditch the lawn completely. You can create a fantastic, relaxed space that still contains plenty of greenery but will be more practical for your urban surroundings.
Gravel makes a great alternative to grass, and it doesn’t need mowing. Statement rocks and planters can be used together with your planting to help create different zones within your garden.
Add some seating
With outside space at a premium in more urban areas, you will want to ensure you can use your garden to its fullest. Seating is always a great option but consider the lines and style of your garden and opt for contemporary seating that will really pick up on the urban aesthetic. This should be seating that you can keep outside all year round rather than having to find storage space for.
Make sure that whatever you do choose it isn’t too big for the space that you have, otherwise it can make your garden feel smaller.
Planting in an urban garden doesn’t need to be limited to the floor. Whilst there might not be enough space to plant a tree, even a smaller one, planting upwards is a great way to add greenery. A growing wall, or even some wall mounted planters will add another dimension to your urban garden. Shade loving plants, and ones that do not spread too much are a must for an urban garden.
When it comes to adding additional dimensions to your urban garden, textures are the ideal choice. Gravel, stones, wood and even concrete can be used to great effect to help add a contemporary urban feel to the space. The addition of some carefully chosen plants will help to soften any harsher edges. Take it a step further and opt for a range of plants with different types of foliage to add to the textures. Small splashes of colour from florals will help to break up this colour palette.