Images: Haarkon

From finding a space for greenery under your stairwell to creating a roof-top garden, take these urban gardening tips from Mary Maurel and create a plant-loving home. 


 Think about the flow from the house into the garden

Your outside space should be an extension of your home. Think of it as another room.

Write yourself a brief

How do you want to use the space? For dining outdoors? Veggies? Meditation? Pool or for your children to kick a ball? Once you are clear on its function, you will be clearer about what to allocate to the space.

Structure is key

By structure I mean the hard-scaping of the garden – paving, water features, built-in seating areas, vegetable boxes, pergolas. A well-structured garden can withstand seasonal changes – even drought – because it does not rely completely on plants.

The account of the context 

Note which are the sunny, shady and windy spots. Do you need screening? Is there a busy road? These issues should guide you in structuring the space. A tree can screen a neighbour and a water feature can drown out a noisy road.

The planting of the garden is the final layer

With limited space, keep it simple. Decide on the look that appeals to you and try to stick to it for coherence. For example, if it is a tropical paradise you are after, then go with large-leafed plants. If it’s a Mediterranean space, opt for lots of grey foliage and consider clipped elements.

Take into account the seasonal variations of plants

Evergreen plants give a consistent, year-round look and can be used as structural elements. Deciduous trees allow light into the garden and home in winter and shade during the summer months. Creepers can soften facades, give shade to pergolas and provide colour or a heady fragrance.