Small Space Urban Gardening

Re-designing An Urban Garden

Our customer has a typical urban outdoor space. He had previously grown a tropical style garden, but it had largely been destroyed during the very cold, extended winter we had. So he decided it was time for a change!

He wanted to make it more spacious, whilst maintaining the dense flowerbeds he had. He also wanted to make it attractive and nourishing to wildlife.

With the expansion of our cities, bees, butterflies (and all pollinators) as well as birds and other wildlife have to fly or forage further and longer between flowers, often becoming exhausted before reaching a food source. The more pollinator-friendly plants we plant in our city gardens, the better for our wildlife.

So, what did he do?

jungle garden border

Here is the garden before the winter struck. An array of beautiful tropical plants but it feels closed in. So Derek went back to the drawing board!

replanting jungle border

The Beginning
Looking at the garden from eyeline you can see how important space is in a small area. It almost feels like jungle! This is the point Derek questioned why he started. The enormity of the project felt overwhelming but he progressed!

patio slabs

By installing a large light coloured patio he instantly brightened up the space and gave it a feeling of openness. Even though much of the garden is still full of plants, and only half the patio is laid,  if looks double the size! And Bailey the dog seems to be enjoying it too!

patio slabs laid

The patio is laid and many of the plants have been cut back or moved. He has begun to install a raised border to the pathway. This clear cut edging seperates the bedding area from the pathway, creating a feeling of greater width to the area.

path and bordergravel path and borders

The Flowerbeds
Although it doesn't look any less filled with plants as before, the raised, clear border defines and broadens the area. The lightness of the wood edging also helps keep the area bright and spacious. He has added new pollinator friendly flowers, all perennials and low maintenance (a list of plants it at the end of the page). Using tall plants at the back, and dropping down in size helped to increase the impression of width. By choosing plants that flower at different times, has ensured a continuous season of colour from spring until autumn.

planted bordersborders and containers


The use of containers in small space gardening is paramount. They increase height, keep the edges neat and allow you to move around or completely change plants quickly and easily. He chose these rectangular planters as they were large without taking up as much room as a circular one. The straight lines fit well with the patio style. The darkness of the pot highlights the light patio as well as the greeness of the plants in it, dramatically increasing the impression of width to the garden.

pot pond

Pot Pond
One of our favourite features of the garden is the pond he designed. By using a large pot that didn't have a drainage hole, and adding some aquatic plants, he created his own small space garden pond. Natural to look at, quick and cheap to do.

completed garden project

The final result. What an incredible difference he has made. Bright, spacious and wildlife friendly. Here is his new garden from above:

view of finished garden from above



The plants used that are low maintenance and perennial include:

Canna Lily, Knautia, Gazania, Begonia, Imomoea, Agapanthus, Coreopsis, Dahlia, Fuchsia, Alostromeria, Helenium, Digitalis, Salvia, Echinacea, Roses, Primula and Hibiscus.

If you would like to know more about transforming your urban space, please speak to the plant team who can advise you.

Happy Gardening!

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