Our top 5 garden design solutions for a small city plot

The Lazy Susan Team have compiled our top 5 garden design solutions for a small city plot to hopefully inspire you to find your urban style.

At Lazy Susan we like to try and inspire visitors on our Lazy Living blog. We’re an online business, so our customer photos of our Outdoor Furniture are a great way for us to do this. Show you what it could look like in your own garden.

Much of our range is classically styled, timeless pieces constructed from modern materials that won’t go out of fashion and, it is fully weatherproof, so you can leave it on your patio all year round.

Modern city garden with our Anna Bistro Set

We feel it is just as at home in a modern city garden as it is on a large suburban or countryside patio though, and hopefully, the customer photos we’ve included throughout this post (and above) will demonstrate just that.

However, in this article, we want to look at the bigger picture, the full garden design. Provide you with a little inspiration if you’re looking at making over your city plot.

The Lazy Susan Team have got our heads together and compiled our top 5 garden design solutions for a small city garden. And we hope they’ll inspire you to find your urban style, and maybe, just maybe, our outdoor furniture will form a big part of that?!

How to start your small garden design

The starting point in any small garden design is to survey and measure your plot. Think about how you like/intend to use the space, and select a design solution(s) that works for you.

Many of us like just to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in but things get missed. Mistakes (potentially costly if hardscaping or buying the wrong type of outdoor furniture) get made. 

It’s like building furniture without instructions… So, put your plan down on paper, research for design inspiration online/in magazines and shop around for the best deals on materials, labour, etc.

Small city garden balcony with our Anna Set

Once the hardscaping is completed, then you can turn your attention to a planting scheme and decor. However, the difficulty with small spaces is finding a solution that works… 

Space is limited but we still want design elements that make the most of what little we’ve got and create a plot that’s an escape from every day and a joy to spend time in.

Hopefully, our top 5 city garden design solutions will provide you with a little food for thought in that department!

Our top 5 city garden design solutions 

In a city garden space is at a premium, walls are often high and it is nigh on impossible to borrow from the wider view as you could in the countryside for example.

According to a recent survey by the Office for National Statistics, private gardens are the smallest in London and the largest in Scotland.

The ONS say that:

Gardens in London are 26% smaller than the national average and the smallest of any region or country in Great Britain.

And that:

The median garden size for a house in London is 140 square metres, just over half the size of a tennis court. This compares with 188 square metres across Great Britain and 226 square metres in Scotland (the largest).

A tennis court-sized plot doesn’t sound too bad for London but much of that is skewed by the outer suburban sprawl. The ONS go on to say that:

There is wide variation by local authority, with gardens in Scotland more than 45 times as big (on average) as in the City of London.

That’s a median of 727 square metres in Scotland compared with a (smaller than half a tennis court) 16 square metres in the City of London.

As well as less square meterage to play with, other features of city gardens potentially include no direct access (through the house only), less sunlight, less privacy, higher boundary walls, and so on.

These design solutions are intended to make the best of or overcome and enhance many of the features we find in an urban plot. 

No matter how small the space, be it a generous yard or a small balcony, the pandemic taught us that we should cherish our outdoor spaces, and maximise their use.

A well-designed city plot can provide us with a space to relax, escape the hustle and bustle, eat and drink, and so much more.

1. Use the walls

Como Tiered Stand from Cox & Cox

If space is limited, then make use of any walls, garages, fencing, railings, etc. Just like you would inside a room, you can do the same in your garden with vertical planters, outdoor shelving, cupboards, garden art, wall-mounted water features, etc.

The Como Tiered Stand from Cox & Cox (pictured above) would coordinate perfectly with our outdoor furniture range. Constructed from a powder-coated iron it has a lovely distressed finish and is perfect for packing with large plants and garden decor.

If it’s dull brickwork, you can paint it, and plant climbers to bring the space to life. Outdoor mirrors are also a great way to trick the eye into making the space feel bigger and brighter than it is.

Fill it with hanging baskets, window boxes, and balcony planters packed with bright scented blooms as our customer has done in the photo of our Ivy Bistro Set (shown below). 

Customer photo of our Ivy Bistro Set

Look for modern design solutions that will draw the eye up, add a little wow factor to your small city plot and create a perfect space to escape city life.

2. Divide and conquer 

In a large garden, one way you can make the space feel more intimate is to zone into different moods or functions. The same can be flipped and applied in a smaller city space to help make the space feel bigger and create greater intimacy.

Customer photo  of our Ivy Bistro Set with timber screening

You could hide a Lazy Susan Bistro Set such as our Ivy (above) behind a screen to create a small intimate seating area perfect for a meal and wine for two. If you have a small yard, divide the space up for different functions, BBQ Grill, sofa-style seating, herb garden, whatever works with whatever it is you like to do.

The idea is to create more interest and depth, the individual ‘zones’ will be smaller but it creates a journey. The full garden can’t be seen in one go so it forces you to explore and tricks us into thinking the space feels bigger.

Customer photo of our Ella Bistro Set on sunken patio

Use different levels such as raised or sunken seating areas as the customer has done with our Ella Bistro Set (above) to bring a different perspective. A simple change of level not only adds visual interest to the garden design but will also help to make the plot feel bigger.

3. Work with the angles

Envirobuild's Marble Composite Decking

This is another old designer's trick that works both inside and outside the home. By flipping pavers or decking horizontally rather than square on, it tricks the eye into thinking the space looks bigger. Envirobuild illustrates this perfect with their Marble Composite Decking in the photo above.

Natural White Marble from Tiles 360

Go for lighter colours and larger oversized modern pavers such as the 600mm x 900mm x 20mm Natural White Marble from Tiles 360 (shown above) and it will help to open the space up and create an optical illusion that makes it look and feel just that bit bigger. 

4. Grow vertically

PlantBox Living Wall Troughs from The Little Botanical

We’ve already touched on vertical planting, and living/green walls such as the PlantBox Living Wall Troughs from The Little Botanical (pictured above) are a great way to bring a touch of the modern and make a small space feel bigger and brighter.

However, don’t think small space equals small plants too. That is a mistake many make. They cram in lots of little things. Same with decor, etc. It can make the space busy and cluttered and you actually end up doing the opposite of what it is you’re trying to achieve.

Our Ella Bistro with large statement tree

One or two large (not too big that they take over) statement trees, shrubs or plants as per the customer photo above of our Ella Bistro Set can again trick the eye into thinking the space is bigger than it is by exaggerating the size of your outdoor space. 

The customer above is making the most of what’s a small city plot and the temptation could have been to remove the large tree to make space but that would have been a mistake. The tree not only gives privacy and shade but it helps make the space look and feel bigger and creates the perfect spot for moving coffee.

5. Brighten the corners

A great way to make a small plot feel bigger is to brighten it up with some bold colours. Large statement flowers with big bright spring to autumn blooms are the perfect solution.

Pair with a Garden Bench such as our April in Slate (below) and you have the perfect spot to sit down with a book and escape the city (and the garden art on modern fencing gets a massive ? from the Lazy Susan team).

Customer photo of our Slate April Bench in a small city plot

In a small city garden, much like the furniture or the space itself, you want those plants to work a little harder. If you choose any plants that only flower for a short period, then go for ones that still look attractive when the flowers are gone. Attractive seed heads, beautiful leaves, etc can all keep visual interest when out of season.

There’s a whole host of ways you can introduce colour into even the darkest backyard, from a splash of paint on dull walls or fences to bright outdoor fabrics on your furniture. Keep to a simple palette of two or three colours and fill the space with lots of greenery.

Pick some plants with a pleasing scent and place them close to the access point from your property, fill containers with pretty blooms. Remember you want the space to look good from the inside and draw you outside.

If you’ve got any photos of your design solutions for a small city plot that features our outdoor furniture, we’d love to see them for our Do Some Good charity campaign. 

Maybe your garden will be featured in our next Lazy Living article? Just can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].

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