How To Make A City Garden In A Small Space

Garden with curved paths and benches

Want to make a, easily maintainable city garden? Just follow this plan, as illustrated above.

  • Select your space. The heart of a medieval city is ideal (the more souls that can overlook the garden, the better), but almost any space will suffice.
  • Create one or more organic shaped beds in the centre and another around the perimeter, leaving room for a sinuous, scrollable path (experts advise laying out the path first).
  • Edge the beds in a stone coloured material, selecting a darker tile to define the perimeter border.
  • Scatter shrubs, small, decorative conifers, grasses and herbaceous plants that can tolerate some neglect in the central beds. Keep it on the minimal side – you don’t want to crowd things.
  • Artfully place decent-sized rocks in small groups or piles.
  • Mulch with crushed slate.
  • Add curved, benches that will invite passers-by to linger. Chocolate coloured metal ones will match those tiles around the outer borders.
  • Fix trellises to the walls and encourage vines to soften them, creating the effect of a glade within a city (if you lack walls, add a fence or baffle first).
  • If the same vines can be pruned low to provide ground cover for the perimeter beds, so much the better. If not, plant something green to do the job.
  • Pave, staying true to the neutral, natural theme.
  • In winter, tie the grasses up into neat bundles by wrapping a few of the long outer strands around the clump.
  • Sit back and enjoy.

Inspired by Cee’s Challenge: Outdoor Walks Or Roads. I hope I’ve desaturated the colours enough to meet the brief, but could not bear to get rid of the colour scheme entirely. It seems to be based on chocolate mint ice cream, plus wafer. 

19 thoughts on “How To Make A City Garden In A Small Space

    • susurrus says:

      It was a welcome surprise around a corner – a pink sculpture lured us in. There was also a water feature but it had been drained for the winter.

  1. Oddment says:

    I had two reactions to this. The first was laughter. The second was awe. So the heart of a medieval city is the best location for such a garden. Coming right up: one medieval city! In Indiana! But then I thought THAT’S ME! The medieval city! And so everything became a bit of a metaphor, and I loved it. To me, this whole garden is overwhelming. I could never accomplish it, but I take from it the concepts of contour and softening and not over-doing, not to mention chocolate. This is a great post, and I thank you for it!

    • susurrus says:

      I had intended to write a straightforward description, but it struck me that the garden was a good example of how to make an oasis in a city so I ended up writing a tongue-in-cheek version of the type of post we’re all supposed to write, according to marketeers – ‘Seven Things Every City Garden Should Have’ etc.

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