Lawn & Garden tips for the inner city

Trees siting on apartment balconies

The lawn and garden connected to your home is an extension of your living space. You want to be able to go outside and relax, watch the clouds go by, and enjoy a cup of coffee as the sun comes up. Lack of space doesn’t mean your lawn and garden doesn’t need to reach its maximum possibility. A patio can turn into an outdoor pantry, complete with fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruit. Your lawn can be a relaxing place to read books and lay in the grass. Whether you're living in the inner city of Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch, there's plenty you can do for an effortless lawn and garden. 


Don’t Overplant

In an average outside space, you want to fill a quarter with plants and leave the remaining three quarters to open space and seating. Those living in the inner city want to be cautious not to add too many plants. It is easy to make an inner city garden feel cramped and confined.


Layer Pots Together

An interesting focal point can be several pots stacked together with flowers. Place the largest terracotta pot at the bottom and fill with potting soil. Then, place a smaller pot inside. Fill the smaller pot with soil, and continue this process with however many pots you have. The pots progressively get smaller. Then, plant flowers in the soil not covered by pots! It creates a lovely visual. You can find DIY instructions from Den Garden.


Remember Vertical Space

Inner cities typically don’t offer massive lawns, but everyone can go vertical. A beautiful pergola allows you to grow strawberries on top. You can hang baskets on the sides with flowers, or grow tomatoes upside down! Use a trellis or two to grow pole green beans and cucumbers. A trellis takes up minimal space.

To add dimension and increase privacy, try tall pots filled with native grasses. Adding height also brings an interesting element to your garden.


Use Miniature Items

Since your outdoor space is miniature, size down on the items you use. Planting a full-size apple tree is not a wise idea, but a small backyard can handle a dwarf fruit tree that reaches heights of seven to nine feet.

Instead of using large paving stones for a walkway, use a larger amount of small tiles. It makes space feel larger rather than crammed. Be selective about the furniture. Bulky items aren’t your friend.


Side to Side

If you have a narrow garden, it might feel as if you are stuck in this little space. One great idea tricks the eye, and that is lining your deck or yard from side to side with plants. So, put multiple pots or plants along the border on each side of your property.

For those with wide but short garden, try adding items from top to bottom. Tricking the eye and making illusions is key to the perfect inner city garden.


Put plants sitting on windowsill 

Remember to Use Surfaces

As you plan how to decorate your inner city garden, don’t forget the surfaces. A fence, the sides of your house or a shed, or windows are perfect places to add décor.

Place window boxes or flower pouches under windows. Hang a pallet on a fence or the side of your house for the perfect urban herbal garden. Garden pouches are increasing in popularity and allow anyone with a fence to grow plants like lettuce and herbs.

Another surface could be a table placed outside. Put a shallow tray on the table and grow herbs on your table. That makes harvesting very easy!



Practice Proper Lawn Care

In a small space, guests will quickly notice when you aren’t taking care of your lawn properly. Mow your lawn when it reaches two to three inches high throughout warmer seasons. Try not to mow any shorter because the roots need to spread deeply to allow the grass to thrive even if rainfall amounts are low.

Treat weeds in the spring; they are noticeable in smaller spaces. In the fall, remember to fertilize your lawn to prepare it for any cold weather coming your way. A well-maintained lawn makes your garden space more appealing for guests and yourself.


Reseed Bare Lawn Spots

In the spring, make sure you lay grass seed over bare spots in your lawn. You want whatever lawn you have to look fantastic, along with all of those plants you have. Planting grass seed requires little effort on your part. Make sure you plant the correct type of grass, which depends on your location and amount of sun your lawn receives. Shady lawns require different grass that grows well without an abundance of sunlight.


Pot plants hanging on garden wall


Use Pallets

Pallets are popular right now. People use them to build fences, tables, compost bins and more. Pallets are perfect shelving for your inner-city garden. It doesn’t take much work to make them the perfect home for trailing flowers, herbs, and grasses. Succulent plants even enjoy life on a pallet shelf.



Make a Special Hideaway Area

Even in the smallest of gardens, there is a spot where you can add a hideaway. That might be a bench surrounded with tall, native grasses. It could be a hammock swing hung under a tree. An arbor covered in vines could hide a comfortable bench seat.

These secret areas are popular and allow you to enjoy your garden space. You can sneak away to these areas when you need a bit of silence. It also adds interest to your garden when guests find them!


Plant Perennials

The great thing about perennial plants is that you plant them once and they continue to grow back each year. That means you have to spend less time each year preparing your lawn and garden. There is an abundance of gorgeous perennials so that you will find something to suit your tastes.

Some popular perennials include:

  • Asters
  • Achilleas
  • Penstemons
  • Cannas
  • Dahlias
  • Sedums
  • Salvias


Designing Your Inner City Lawn and Garden

While those who live in an inner city tend to have small outdoor spaces, that doesn’t mean you can’t take full advantage of the space given. Use colours, wise placement, and utilise every spot you can. With the right design and vision, your outdoor garden will become your favourite place to go.

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