Four ways to make the most of your outdoor area

Posted: 10th Jul 2017

Homeowners in urban areas will typically have small gardens or yards – however, this doesn't mean you cannot enjoy the space

With only a little planning, even the smallest space can become a garden haven, whether it's grassed or paved.

Martyn Fowkes, landscaping manager at Travis Perkins, offers his top tips to make the most of an urban garden...

Beautiful south

When you're planning your space, you should start by identifying which part faces south. This will be the area which is best for sunlight and plant growth, and if there is a wall, make this your feature. If there isn't, consider erecting fencing or netting to give your plants more time in the sun.

You can also get away with East and West facing areas, as planting done here should thrive. However, you should avoid planting on or near anything which is north facing, as sunlight will be at a premium.


The best way to grow in a paved space is to use raised beds. This will be where a gardener takes a large container - a popular choice is wood - and fills it with soil, in preparation for planting. Raised beds will also ensure the soil quality is significantly improved on what is originally in the ground. Whether the urban garden is a new build or is more established, the chances are the soil quality will be poor, compacted or dry.

You should get a good mix of potting soil and compost in your raised bed, and whatever you plant will stand a greater chance of getting more swiftly established. However, you should avoid using either preserved or treated wood for your container - the chemicals could work their way into the soil.

Sky high

You can get creative to make the best use of wall space. By affixing wire netting to a south facing wall with screws or nails, the urban gardener achieves space to build something beautiful. You can use zip ties to attach pots to the netting - the end result will see your drab wall transformed into an area bursting with colour and aromas.

Don't be fenced in

Half sized walls with lattice fencing above gives the small garden expanded views, and subsequently, the feeling of more space. You should consult with your local builders merchant or landscaper to create the best effects in a restricted space.