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Urban garden: making the most of a small outdoor space

Right now, a breath of fresh air is just what we need. And if you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space (no matter how small), there’s loads of potential to create a leafy paradise to escape the living room. From apartment balconies and terraces, to patios and petite green patches, here’s how to turn your urban garden into a tranquil oasis.

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1. Sitting-down decisions

First, decide what you want to use the space for: relaxing with a book? Sun-soaked coffee break? Or weekend BBQs? This’ll help you work out what garden furniture you’ll need. Lightweight bistro sets and space-saving designs work better in smaller gardens, but you might be able to squeeze a corner set or bench into tighter spots, too. Materials? Choose anything hardwearing and waterproof – especially if your patch isn’t protected from the elements. And throw in a couple of fold-away sun loungers for when you want to catch some rays.

 

2. Touchy-feely things

Soft stuff makes every space more inviting. Layered cushions and a cosy sheepskin will transform garden chairs into comforting spots for when you need a little breather. And, along with an eye-catching outdoor rug, they’ll pull the space together and give you the chance to introduce colour and pattern. For a relaxed, boho vibe, swap your chairs for bean bags, floor cushions and (if you’ve got somewhere to hang it) a hammock. It’ll feel like you’re chilling in Bali, when actually, you haven’t left the balcony.

 

3. The green stuff

The quickest way to take your patch from concrete jungle to outdoor oasis? Plants. And lots of them. Small gardens are generally sun-traps or completely shaded, so pick plants that match the growing conditions. Balcony or window boxes? Choose fuss-free succulents and herbs (which smell dreamy too). Shaded spot? Get tropical with ferns, palms and taller plants. Grouping pots together saves space, and using plant stands of different heights and textures will add depth. Hanging planters can help you make the most of every wall and corner, too.

 

4. Blurred lines

A seamless transition between your outdoor and indoor space will make you feel more at home. To blur the lines between outside and in, bring planters inside and take accessories like wall art and cushions outside. And carry your colour scheme through from indoor furnishings to outdoor accessories. Mood lighting? Go for twinkly string lights, lanterns and candles, and light up ambient after-dark hangouts with a borrowed floor or table lamp – just remember to bring it back in!

 

5. Because it’s 5pm somewhere

Now the evenings are getting longer, you’ll probably want a spot to enjoy dinner and drinks al fresco. For outdoor dining, a small table makes a big difference, and if you’re stuck on space, a stool works just as well. Choose dinnerware that’s made from durable materials like bamboo, in bright colours that complement your furniture. Our fave outdoor accompaniment? Drinks caddies. Easy to wheel in and out, piled high with cocktails and snacks. Now, open the doors – your breathing space awaits.

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