How to plan the perfect urban garden design in seven easy steps

garden design

How to plan the perfect urban garden design in seven easy steps

Top tips for the perfect urban garden design

As a London garden designer I mainly work in urban garden design. Over the years and I have learnt several great tips for creating space in the garden, and giving it that all important designer age. When space is tight, you need to make sure you go delivering top-notch in all areas. Here I share some top tips for you to copy in your own space to make it a showstopper you dream of.

Garden Boundaries

It seems obvious, but the larger surface area in most small gardens will be perimeters. They can be very difficult to hide. Most shrubs will be too bulky, and sometimes climbers too leggy. If your fences are in a state of disrepair, you need to address this. Consider painting fences dark (bright colours will attract attention) or cladding them with timber, Perspex or metal. Dark colours will recede, and the planting in front of them will pop out. Trawl Pinterest for inspiration.

Add colour to your garden

It can be transformative. Try not to rely on your planting if you want to colour. Many of the winter flowering plants are not desperately interesting the rest of the year, if you are tight on space and really need the space in the garden. Consider painting one wall, adding colourful pots, or other bright accessories. Wall colour can easily be changed as can pots so you can create a very different look for a fraction of the cost further down the line should you fancy a revamp.

Zoning the garden

Break the garden into small areas. Use screens to divide it up and create secret hideouts or calm spaces to linger and rest well. Try to avoid being able to walk from one end of the garden to the other in a straight line. You can give a different vibe to each area by the planting you select. Cosy up a small space urban garden design by placing a tree to create canopy.

Use found objects

Add personality to the space with objects that you don’t usually associate with gardens to add a real dose of personality to the space. Try old kitchen ephemera for planters, don’t be frightened to bring interior furniture outside on a fine day, or an old bicycle on the wall for a climber to scramble through.


Oversize something. Add a giant pot with a huge plant. Hang a large outdoor canvas on the boundary. Select a very decadently sized lounger. It makes the space edgy and cool. It creates magic.

Follow the hard landscaping lines

It may seem a really simple thing to say, but consider what way you lay new paving or decking. Making it parallel to the house in the long thin garden widens the space. You want to create an optical illusion so use the lines that naturally fall within hard landscaping. Twist the paving 45° for added interest.

Make your furniture part of the framework

Integrating new seating can be hugely beneficial in a small space. When space is tight, fixing down seating helps with efficiency. Attaching the bench to a raised bed creates instant interest and a framework for simple seating options, from daybed to bench seat.