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We Landscaped Our Small City Garden: A Case Study

By: Mary Williams BA (hons) - Updated: 10 May 2010 | comments*Discuss
Garden City Garden Small Landscape

Kim and Simon Gregson compromised on garden space when they bought their large terraced house in the city. Initially they were sceptical about what could be achieved but now they have had it landscaped, and they are thrilled.Kim said:

“It was a disappointment when we decided to buy our current home and realised we would have to compromise on garden space but at the time we felt we had no alternative. In the part of the city we were looking in – an area we had to stay in because of our children’s schools – there are very few larger homes with gardens. We had to move because we needed more space for our teenagers and after almost a year had still found nothing which fitted the bill in and out.

This house came on the market fairly suddenly, just a couple of weeks after we had accepted an offer for the full asking price on our existing house. In terms of interior space, it more than met our requirements. It was also in a perfect location. The only drawback was the garden.

Overgrown Outdoor Area

Our previous garden had been abnormally long for the area in which we lived. Although not a great deal wider than this one, it was almost 100ft long. By comparison, this one was just 40ft in length. The garden at the new house was very basic. A lawn had been left untended, there were no flower beds at all and there was no sitting out area. It was just wild grass and a high fence.

In our old house, Simon had paved the terrace with reclaimed bricks and had even built low character-filled walls around the edges of the beds. We had a pretty suntrap area where we could sit out and eat and lots of mature shrubs and other plants.

Small City Garden

Initially we were unsure as to whether we could really do very much with the smaller garden. The kitchen at the new house was at the back of the building and we knew we wanted to extend it and install French windows. Our first decision with regard to the garden, therefore, was to leave it as it was until all the building work had been carried out.

But once the kitchen was finished we began to look at our scrubby little outdoor space and to consider our options. It did catch the sunshine but that was really all it had in its favour. Eventually, lost for ideas, we called in a specialist garden landscaping company.

They came round, looked at the area and cheered us up immediately by telling us there were plenty of options. They measured, asked us what our old garden had been like, discussed our preferences and our hates when it came to plants, paving and other garden essentials and then they went away to draw up their plans.

Attractive Features

Two weeks later they got their designs out – and we were immediately impressed. Firstly, they managed to squeeze two seating areas in. One was just outside the French windows, and here they suggested reclaimed stone, a small wrought iron table and chair set and a passion flower climbing up the wall behind.

At the other end of the garden, they suggested another seating area, this time picked out in slate and with a small water feature next to it. Again it wasn’t huge but there was enough space for a handful of people to sit round a table having an evening drink.

Clever Design

Along the edges were raised beds inside curved walls to be built once again from old bits of brick and stone to bring character. These were narrow to ensure enough lawn space remained but were deep enough for the roots of some leafy plants to reach down, allowing the plants to become strong and to cover the very plain fence behind.Because they knew we loved lawn, they did suggest keeping one small patch of grass. Through careful shaping around the edges this would create an impression of being larger than it was.

Landscape Achievement

The gardeners set to work as soon as we gave them the go ahead. We were pleased with what they achieved by the end of their two-week stint with us but at the same time had to realise it would be some time before we could enjoy foliage and colour. Initially, the garden was little more than areas of paving, raised beds and lawn.But two years down the line our little garden is really coming into its own. Plants are beginning to mature and it looks lovely as we gaze out from our kitchen.There’s nothing I enjoy more now than sitting out there on a Sunday having a barbecue or chatting to friends over a drink outside as the sun goes down. I was sceptical about whether our small area could become anything special but the landscapers have helped us create a little oasis in the middle of the city."

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