Green Living

Here’s how to make the most of your small urban garden

Urban gardens are typically small and underutilised. Here’s how, with a little savvy planning, you can create a number of different spaces, from outdoor dining to growing your own vegetables. 

Here’s how to make the most of your small urban garden


There’s a big difference in the quality of an open space like an uncovered deck and one with some form of overhead shelter. With the latter you feel enclosed, cocooned and protected from the elements. The former, not so much. There are so many great options for overhead shelter out there, from a simple pergola with a slatted cover, or a state-of-the-art retractable awning.

Outdoor lounging

If you want guests to linger in an outdoor space, it’s got to be comfortable. Go for the best-quality outdoor furniture you can afford or load up simple timber benches with lots of lovely cushions. Mix up patterned fabrics with plain ones for that eclectic look that works so well in urban gardens.

Vegetable patch

Never mind the size of the patch, edibles are a constant theme in city gardens these days. If you don’t have space for orchards and raised vege beds, no worries, you can plant many crops in containers, troughs and grow bags. And an ever-growing range of miniature vegetables and dwarf fruit trees are now available. Container-grown edibles need more watering and feeding than those grown in garden beds but they’re easier to keep weeded and they look superb on a deck or patio close to your outdoor living areas. You can also grow vegetables, herbs and fruit trees in ornamental beds, particularly smaller trees such as citrus or feijoa, and decorative edibles like coloured beets, purple sage, rosemary and artichokes.


Privacy is a key issue in urban gardens but there are lots of hedging and screen options to choose from. If you’re too impatient for a hedge but love the feeling of being enclosed by green walls, consider climbing vines – flowering and edible – on boundary structures. You can also install or make a green wall.

Words by: Annick Larkin.

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