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Lush urban gardens for small space

If your garden is blank and sterile, take inspiration from these lush urban gardens that offer a tranquil place to relax.


No matter how small your garden, you still want it to be a space where you can sit and relax away from the hustle and bustle of everyday living. With proper planning, even a small space can be filled with lush greenery that helps to block out sound to create a tranquil getaway.





Living most of my younger life in England, I grew up in a variety of homes and one thing they all had in common was a small garden. Tenement or row house living is a way of life in the UK, especially on housing estates, and because of the closeness of your neighbours, many homeowners go out of their way to make their garden a secluded spot filled to the brim with flowers or foliage.

Cote Maison

In South Africa we are lucky enough to have a wonderful selection of plants to choose from, whether indigenous varieties, or something more exotic. You only have to take a walk down the aisles of your local garden centre to see a huge array of plants that produce colourful blossoms, or foliage plants with interesting colours and textures. Even if you have decided to design a garden that is water wise and drought-resistant - which is an excellent idea -  there are still hundreds of plants to choose from to fill your garden.

What I have discovered over the years is that, a garden doesn't require constant attention if you pick the right plants. My garden was established over 20 years ago, and excluding two trees that had to be cut down because they took over the space, my garden looks after itself. Apart from a good clean out every couple of months I managed to choose a selection of plants that are fairly tolerant of both wet and dry weather, which leaves me plenty of time to enjoy the garden rather than have to spend every weekend weeding and trimming.

Beacon Hill Garden Club

For a courtyard garden, or a garden surrounded by brick or plaster walls, plants and foliage can be used to soften edges and blur lines. Creepers and climbers trained up walls visually lift the eye, while ground covers soften the hard edges of paving. And interesting shapes and forms can add so much to a small space without taking up too much room.

Elizabeth Everdell

The advent of the Internet has made it so much easier for planning a garden, you can do all your research online to determine what plants would work best in your particular garden. Armed with a list of possible plants, a visit to your garden centre to discuss with the staff and see what they have in stock, will further assist you in making the right choice for what to plant and where.

However, if you don't have a naturally green thumb and want to spend as little time as possible caring for your garden, make sure to fill your garden with plant varieties that require little or no attention.

One way to reduce the time spent on maintenance is to incorporate lots of hardscaping materials. Paths and walkways, paving and slabs, bring these materials into your garden design to cut back on lawn. Think about how much lawn you need in the small space, as not only does a beautiful lawn require a lot of maintenance, plenty of sunlight, and regular ongoing care and attention, but there are now options that can give you the look of lawn without all the cost and fuss of maintenance. If you only have a tiny grassed area you could consider replacing this with artificial turf.

one king's lane

Whether your garden is small or a courtyard surrounded by walls, landscaping your garden will provide you with an outdoor space to sit and soak up the sun, a retreat to soothe away the stress of a hard day at work, or a place where family and friends can gather.

Elizabeth Everdell