Have a small city garden? Nicky Roeber is an Online Horticultural Expert with Wyevale Garden Centres. Here, he shares how you can create a flourishing city garden on your balcony
Tips for a Small City Garden
If you live and work in the city, having a garden can be a godsend when you need somewhere to escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. But, with outside space in London costing an average of £897 per sq ft, city gardens can be notoriously small. Here, we’ve shared ten tips that will help you make even the tiniest sliver of garden a gorgeous place to unwind.
Make clever use of furniture
If you’ve only got a small balcony or terrace, there’s no point filling it with a bulky dining set. Instead, opt for compact bistro-style chairs and tables that will fold up when you don’t need them. This is also a great option if you need a flexible number of chairs to cater for occasional guests.
Use your wall space
If you’ve got limited space on the ground for flowerbeds and containers, then try growing upwards instead. A climbing plant, like passion flower or ivy, will fill a bare wall with greenery. You could even try hanging a canvas overdoor shoe organiser on a wall or fence, and then fill each section with plants to create a wall with a variety of textures and colours.
In a city garden with buildings on all sides, you can often feel overlooked. To give yourself a bit of privacy, try adding a pagoda or arbour structure and growing climbing varieties like honeysuckle, jasmine, or clematis up it to create a shaded, leafy garden. If you’ve got room, you could even get a small potted tree, which will provide a bit of shelter and privacy.
Add a lick of paint
In a small space, a pop of colour can go a long way. Painting furniture, fences, or even plant pots in a bright shade is a great way to create a personalised colour scheme, and it will make your garden feel more inviting.
If you have a paved outside space with no soil or beds, you can still create a flourishing area full of plants and greenery using containers and pots. Flowers, shrubs, succulents, grasses, and even small trees can all flourish in containers. So, when it comes to choosing plants, the only limit is your imagination.
Trick the eye with mirrors
Mirrors offer one the easiest ways to create the illusion of space. Try placing a mirror or a few mirrored tiles along a wall: this will trick the eye into thinking there’s more space than there really is.
Birdsong can make a small yard or balcony really feel like a garden, so add a few features to make your outside space a bit more attractive to birds and other wildlife. Bird houses and feeders can be mounted to a wall or fence, while gardeners with a little more space may want to add a bird bath. To find out more, take a look at this guide to attracting birds to urban gardens on City Planter.
Add atmospheric lighting
Lighting is essential for creating an atmosphere in your garden — especially if you want to sit outside in the evening — so you’ll want to add some fairy lights or solar-powered lanterns. Winter in the UK can make our gardens especially gloomy, so a bit of atmospheric lighting will make the view from your window more pleasant during the darker months.
If you’re doing a lot of container gardening, you’ll want to make sure that you have at least a few evergreen shrubs and other winter plants to provide a bit of greenery throughout the cooler seasons. Box shrubs, lonicera nitida, and carex grasses all retain their foliage throughout winter, so they’re perfect if you want to add a splash of colour during what can be a bare and dark time of year.
Add greenery with fake turf
Real grass can be a lot of work and, in many paved city gardens, it’s often not possible to grow your own. Modern false turf can look quite convincing and will add a splash of greenery without any of the work that real lawn requires.
Even if your city garden is on the small side, there’s no reason you can’t make it an amazing space. Take my tips on board when planning your outside area and, before long, you’ll have a stunning compact garden for entertaining and relaxing.