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Make the most of your urban garden

Want to pep up your town or city garden? We've got plenty of ideas to inspire you to enjoy every last inch of your space

If you live in the urban jungle, your green space needs to work hard – it's a place to entertain and relax, unwind and escape from the pressures of city living. Even the tiniest spaces can provide a green retreat: here are some top tips for making the most of an urban garden.

In the shade

Urban gardens are often surrounded by high walls and buildings. Make the most of the backdrops  and conditions these provide by growing climbers and shade-loving plants. Painting or rendering walls and using light-coloured paving can help brighten dark areas, as can glossy-leaved and variegated plants.

No soil? No problem!

Often town gardens have little or no soil, meaning you have to build raised beds or grow plants in containers. However, given the small size of most urban gardens, this isn't always too much of a problem, and it gives you the opportunity to grow a wider variety of plants that might not thrive in the ground anyway. Use large containers – they don't dry out as quickly as smaller pots so they are less work to keep watered.

Create a private haven

Being in a town or city inevitably comes at a price in terms of privacy. Nearby properties can overlook your garden and roads can create noise and pollution. Luckily, plants are the ideal solution and there are many ways to create your own private haven and make an ideal space for entertaining. Small trees, climbers and bamboos can provide living green screens; while pergolas, fencing and trellis are useful ways to build in privacy.

Make the most of extra warmth

What you lose in space and country views you often gain in terms of warmth and shelter by having an urban garden. Many exotic plants thrive in towns and cities that would struggle to live in the countryside, such as the the large-leaved, blue-flowered agapanthus in this garden. Extra warmth and shelter is enjoyed by people too, making urban gardens perfect for outdoor entertaining.

Turn a lack of space into a design opportunity

Urban gardens often have limited access, sometimes only through the house, and bonfires to dispose of waste aren't an option. And with limited storage space, who wants to be tripping over a lawnmower? So why not ditch the lawn and opt for a well-designed layout featuring plenty of evergreens for a stylish, low-maintenance look? Here, a decent-sized paved area is balanced by deep borders, giving plenty of planting space. A raised bench underplanted with ferns helps allow every bit of space to be used.

Steal some designer style

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.