Nicky Roeber is an Online Horticultural Expert with garden furniture specialists Wyevale Garden Centres. Here, he shares five easy tips for transforming a small backyard into a flourishing outside space, at a price that won’t break the bank.
When you live in an urban area, every inch of outdoor space is at a premium. So, if you’re lucky enough to have a little sliver of garden to call your own, then you’ll want to make the most of it. With a little TLC and some clever choices, it’s simple enough to create a thriving backyard full of colour and greenery, even if you’re strapped for space (and cash).
Here, I’ve shared five budget-friendly tips for creating a gorgeous urban oasis, where you can sit back and let the stresses of the day melt away.
Get your paving in shape
Yards in built-up towns are often small, uncultivated paved areas with no lawn or beds, so the first thing you’ll need to do is get your patio cleaned up. Bare paving slabs and concrete can be susceptible to build-ups of moss, algae, and grime, so you’ll want to start by giving it a thorough deep clean with a pressure washer — you can pick these up from around £50 (you can also hire them). If your budget won’t stretch to this, then a bottle of moss and algae remover and a stiff broom should be all you need to get your space in shape.
Add some attractive gravel or natural stone
Bare concrete can look sparse, so if you want an easy and cost-effective fix, you could cover it up with some attractive gravel or decorative chips: this will hide unsightly concrete and help to supress weeds if your paving is cracked. To lay your gravel, you’ll need to line your yard with a weed-proof liner, and then spread your decorative chips evenly across your yard with a rake until you reach the depth recommended by the manufacturer.
If you like, you could even add some winding stepping stones to create a natural walkway: this will draw the eye through your space, making your garden appear longer. You can pick up a few paving slabs for just a few pounds each, and they’ll look especially good leading to a back gate, or a bench or seating area.
Make the most of your space with vertical planting
Vertical planting is a wonderful solution for small gardens, as it turns a bare wall or fence into a living wall of colour, foliage and texture. All you need to do is invest in a set of outdoor shelves or a garden ladder, mount it to your wall to keep it securely in place, and then add rows of potted plants. Trailing varieties — like petunias, calibrachoas, lobelia, and ivy — will work especially well in vertical planting solutions, as they’ll produce a cascade of colour, and you won’t need to worry about them growing too tall for their shelves.
If you’re on really tight budget, have a look for old shelving at reclaimers yards, and then spruce it up with a lick of weatherproof paint in a cheerful shade.
Add colour and greenery with containers
Most urban yards are paved, so they won’t have any natural soil filled beds, but you can still add colour and greenery with a few containers. You can grow all sorts of plants, flowers, shrubs, and small trees in pots: you can pick up a few plastic pots for just a few pounds, or you could even repurpose old paint tins, wooden crates, or old toolboxes to create some unique, budget-friendly planters. Don’t forget to add drill a few drainage holes into the bottom of your DIY containers, and be sure to use a decent potting soil, as this will provide the nutrition that your plants need to flourish.
Create a comfortable seating area
There’s no point creating a stunning garden unless you’re going to have a place to sit back and enjoy the results of all your hard work, so be sure to add a comfy seating area. A simple two-seat bistro set is relatively affordable, and if you plan to spend lots of time relaxing in your garden this summer, then it’s sure to be a worthy investment.
If you have very narrow yard, then a long garden bench is a great solution: this way, you can still seat several guests without cluttering up your space with lots of chairs. Don’t forget to add some outdoor cushions in bright, attractive colours and prints, to make your seating as comfy and inviting as possible.
Even with a limited budget, there are lots of ways to turn a drab urban yard into a gorgeous space for relaxing, entertaining, and soaking up the sun. Take my tips on board, and before long you’ll have a small but perfectly formed garden that you can enjoy all summer long.