Small Urban Garden Design Tips

Urban gardeners often need to be more imaginative with design and landscaping materials to achieve the same effects that other gardeners can attain with larger spaces. This section has a few important tips that will help you make use of your small space and get great results.

Planning your garden

  • Remember that in a small urban garden, everything counts. One unattractive feature in your garden or one wrong plant can ruin the entire visual effect you’re trying to obtain.
  • In small spaces, you don’t want to have too many different kinds of plants, or lots of different kinds of landscaping materials. This will make your garden look cluttered and erratic. Remember, “Less is more.”
  • Make a rough sketch of the space. Even if your house is microscopic, sketching your garden or the rooms of your house can be a useful tool to help visualize what you’re working with, and what you’d like to achieve.
  • Buy drafting paper and make your drawing to scale so that it is more accurate. Buy color pencils, tracing paper, etc. so that you can make different layers of trees, shrubs, flowers, containers, grasses, etc.
  • In your drawing, you’ll want to include features such as the views you want to maintain, existing landscape features such as walls and boundaries, utility poles and boxes, etc. There may be unpleasant views that you’ll want to block out, so include these as well.
  • Experiment with different designs before making your final drawing. Make different layers with tracing paper such as “containers,” “vegetables,” “sculptures,” etc. and play around with the design until you find the combination you like.
  • After you’ve got an idea for your garden, carefully research the plants you plan on using. Do they grow fast or require lots of maintenance and pruning? Do they new frequent watering? Compare the plants’ needs with your lifestyle. Do you have the time to care for herbs and tomatoes, or would a small collection of low-maintenance succulents or cactus be more appropriate?

Garden features

  • Mirrors are an easy remedy for small spaces. They create the illusion of more space and work well both indoors and outdoors. They can also reflect sunlight onto shadier areas. When using mirrors outdoors, make sure they are weather-resistant.
  • Painting your indoor walls or your outdoor walls and fences light shades can “open up” your space and help it feel less claustrophobic.
  • Decking, walkways, raised beds, walls, etc. are all important features. Try and use materials that go well together.
  • Create themes such window boxes and raised beds all made of the same kind of wood.
  • Small scale trellises can work great in your garden to hide walls and boundaries.
  • As mentioned above, container gardening can work miracles in small spaces, so think about ample use of containers. This excellent site from Kansas State University can help with specific plant combinations for container gardens.
  • Vertical space is another important aspect of your design. Shelves, trellises, and hanging pots can help fill out your vertical space. This site from the University of Missouri can help with ideas.
  • Storage of garden tools and equipment can also complicate things in a small space. Check out these options of attractive storage containers from Clean Air Gardening that can help you avoid clutter and keep your equipment organized.
  • Need more garden accessories or tools? Check out the Lakeside Collection and see what they have to offer you for your gardening needs.
  • Remember that the most important thing in your urban garden is your creativity. Play, experiment, and enjoy!

Want to learn more about Small Urban Garden Design? has a great article on small garden design which shows you how to make the right choices to showcase your garden as a whole. It talks about how to use color appropriately and be certain that each plant serves a purpose in the overall theme of your garden.

Check out this video, brought to you by Garden Guides. It shows you how to make the best of your garden throughout the year, by using color to accentuate its appearance. It explains how to choose the right plants for your area. Also on the page you’ll find additional videos, showing you how to design specific types of gardens and flower beds.  compliments this article on small garden design with some beautiful pictures. It describes how to use the principles of simplicity, proportionality, functionality and unity when preparing your green space.  brings you this piece on vegetable garden design. It shows you how to increase productivity and efficiency, while choosing the best location. It also explains how you should align different vegetables for best results.

Leave a Comment