Design ideas for small city gardens

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Urban Courtyard for Entertaining Bestall & Co Landscape Design Ltd Modern garden
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In this day and age, with so many of us relegated to living life in the concrete jungle of the big city, it’s hard to find to time to connect with the natural world and reenergise from the hustle and bustle. Obviously, life in suburbia is a fine alternative to the inner city squeeze—or perhaps even a tree change to more idyllic climes where the hills run on for miles on end and the trees are lush and full. Alas, short of a full domestic overhaul, there’s only so much that can be done in the city—but that doesn’t mean you have to go without on a daily basis. These days, more and more urban dwellers are installing lush, fashionable gardens in even the most tiny of spaces in order to get their fill of biophilia.

Small city gardens are the way of the future—take a peek at the green thumb success of these neat metropolitan plant stations and let it inspire you to sort out a little something similar for your own apartment, townhouse or flat.

The outdoor kitchen

Who doesn’t love a grill party? A barbeque fiesta in the warmer, or indeed cooler months of the year, where you can buy some scrumptious food, crack open a fresh ale, and enjoy quality cooking time with your friends and family. If you have the means to create an outdoor kitchen, you will find it an exciting and invaluable garden resource. Increase enjoyment of your outdoor space with a set up such as this, and relish in an easy-clean, easily maintained kitchen alternative that looks great and will undoubtedly taste delicious.

Spot for a cuppa?

Mayfair Apartment - Roof Terrace Meltons Classic style balcony, veranda & terrace

Mayfair Apartment—Roof Terrace


If you’re lucky enough to have a small piece of land to call your own, it can be a great way to breathe some fresh air, and relax in the sun—why not ensure you have a space to sit down? Whether alone or with a friend, make sure you have a table and set of chairs to enjoy a cup of hot tea in autumn, or an icy aperitif in spring.

Create levels on a sloped block

If your small city garden sits atop a sloped block of land you may consider using this to your advantage and creating a split-level space that is excellent for a manicured and well-designed garden. This example is a perfect illustration of how each level can have its very own planter, with an array of greenery for both the summer and winter months. If you are planning on creating a split level garden, many of the elements can be an exciting DIY assignment, but consulting a specialist landscape designer is always a good start—they will assess your block and can provide plans to ensure your final product is well-measured, neat and level.

Easy-care planters

raised beds border edging Quercus UK Ltd Minimalist style garden
Quercus UK Ltd

raised beds border edging

Quercus UK Ltd

Planters are one of the best ways to grow flowers, vegetables and herbs in your small city garden. This example is a gorgeous demonstration of how a cottage style planter can form an attractive wall to your courtyard, and house strawberries, wild flowers, while creating an organic sense of nature within your space.

The modern cottage garden

Long, narrow, contemporary garden design, Woking, Surrey Linsey Evans Garden Design Modern garden
Linsey Evans Garden Design

Long, narrow, contemporary garden design, Woking, Surrey

Linsey Evans Garden Design

Create your own slice of cottage charm within the city—you will immediately evoke a sense of country living and benefit from the peace and tranquillity that comes with a serene and colourful space.  When planting a cottage garden you will need to consider the general layout and the plants that will be used—this example incorporates a plethora of colourful blooms, whilst still retaining the paved entertainment area for parties, gatherings and family events.

Incorporate storage

Garden storage wayne maxwell Modern garden
wayne maxwell

Garden storage

wayne maxwell

If you are lacking storage within your home, consider implementing it into your outdoor space. As you can see above, this timber clad seating doubles as a functional space to store all manner of outdoor accoutrements. You can keep garden/park activities, or even an outdoor grill within this space, which protects from the rain and elements, whilst keeping these items out of your indoor storage area.

Cute and compact

Small back garden design homify Modern garden

Small back garden design


If you only have a tiny space to work with, then each element you incorporate into the area must be thoughtful and clever—you don’t want to add something that is too big for the space and creates a sense of clutter, moreover, you want to ensure your space is useable and practical. Take a leaf out of this small garden’s book, and add timber seating flanked by generous planters, white timber latticed panelling, and large cement tiles. Your area will be perfect for enjoying the cool breeze, whilst practical for sharing with friends during gatherings.

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