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Small town garden ideas - 10 of the best


Create a living room space

With space at a premium in urban homes, we demand as much of our gardens as we do of our interiors: a space with year-round allure, a children's playground, a serene retreat, a vegetable patch and an outdoor room for entertaining. But can we have it all?

Take inspiration from your home's interior and find an outdoor equivalent. Rattan chairs, a sofa and woodencoffee table mimic a traditional living room design.

Argos has a great range of garden furniture to help complete this look at home.

Make the most of a narrow plot

Make the eye wander back with a raised garden path and strategically placed rose arches and low walls to break up its length and add interest.

Create a garden on different levels

Link the spaces to avoid a disjointed design. A water feature, running from one level to the next, is a popular ploy. Use repetition: the same materials and similarly-shaped elements of hard landscaping (paths, paving, decking) can be echoed throughout the garden; planting with similar flora can also connect split levels.

Gain some privacy

Planning permission is needed to erect permanent structures to screen your space. Use trees such as beech and hornbeam that will let light in and make you feel secluded. These need not take up too much space in a confined plot - the trunks can be trimmed of branches up to head height.

Make a roof garden

Select plants tolerant to wind (these tend to have smaller leaves). Steer clear of a muddle of small plants. Focus on fewer, larger planters, and choose trees or shrubs with sculptural silhouettes. Rubber is quiet, soft and hardwearing - tile your roof terrace with these tiles for easy cleaning and comfort.

Plan seating for a party

Incorporate some fixed seating into your design to save wrestling with numerous chairs, and add shelter, if you want year-round use. Invest in 'party' lighting: spots at ground level that allow guests to find their way around in the dark; dramatic uplights under trees and shrubs, and in waterfalls and ponds.

Add mood lighting

White render garden walls will make the most of any sun. Good outdoor lighting on walls and at foot level can then supplement the daylight.

Grow your own vegetables

Tomatoes grow anywhere there is a sunny ledge and herbs are happy in small pots. Raised beds will take the backache out of more serious vegetable gardening to raise a range of edibles including salad leaves, asparagus and rhubarb, onions and carrots.

Opt for a low-maintenance look

Low-maintenance gardens are best for busy urbanites; how low you go is up to you. Automated watering systems are popular. Lawns can be swapped for decking; climbers, which need pruning, for a screen of evergreen bamboo; conifers can be substituted for deciduous trees.

Find a seculded spot

Screen off a secluded space large enough for a single lounger, add soothing scented plants such as jasmine, lavender and chamomile; the trickle of a courtyard fountain is the final touch.

Source: house to home

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