water feature

Transforming city gardens for spring

Darius Negahbani Darius Negahbani Monday 18th January, 2016

Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner. If you’re a city dweller with limited outdoor space, you may be wondering how you can express yourself by optimising every last inch of your garden. Rather than feeling squeezed and claustrophobic, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t create yourself a small slice of paradise. We’ve collated a few essential ideas to help you on your way.

 Contain yourself

Although you may be tempted to fill your garden or yard with containers of all sizes, one or two largish containers at ground level is quite sufficient. Remember that the more ground space remains visible, the larger an area will appear. Choose a few beautiful pots and pack them full of plants. Small trees are great for leading the eye upwards, while bedding plants can be swapped as seasons and trends change.

 Look up for inspiration

In a small garden you need to make the best possible use of every square inch of space. That means looking up is essential! Why not spend some time creating a vertical garden by growing plants up a trellis? Alternatively, if you’re really committed to the cause, invest in a modern vertical planting module complete with its own irrigation system. Properly planted, this will reward you with a thick, sumptuous wall full of foliage that will transform your small garden.

Throw out all space stealers

When space is short, it’s vital that you ditch every unnecessary thing from your garden. That means getting rid of weeds, junk, unused furniture, old bicycles and anything else that’s taking up precious space. Be ruthless and reclaim your garden.

 Have a ‘wow’ feature

Your garden may be tiny but that doesn’t mean it can’t have big impact. It could be the warm sandstone paving underfoot, a carefully tended miniature rockery, or a stand-out plant like a vintage rose or fragrant clematis. For some, flowing water adds a much-needed focal point, while for others it’s the lighting that leaves the biggest impression. Whatever you choose as your wow feature, be sure that it’s something you’ll continue to appreciate as your garden grows and develops.

 Hide unattractive corners with evergreens

Those with city gardens are often challenged by the unsightly parts of city life infringing on their retreat. It may be ugly corrugated fencing, a bike lock-up or drainpipes. Whatever you want to conceal, choose evergreens for year-round cover.  You may be surprised at what a difference it can make to simply obscure the less attractive parts of your garden with beautiful plants.

 Fixed seating is a space saver

Chairs and sofas can be cumbersome in a small space. Instead, fix bench-style seating to the walls, and add cushions for a jolt of cheerful colour. You could even incorporate a fold-down table. That way, when guests visit, you can eat lunch outdoors before storing your table away when you need to reclaim the space for other activities.


No matter how small your garden is, with a few nifty ideas you can transform it into a green space Tardis! By using these simple tricks to optimise every available square inch, you’ll soon be enjoying spring in your own small but perfectly formed city garden.

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