How to make most of city space
For city-dwellers, creating a leafy paradise in the middle of an urban jungle can seem like a pipe dream. To the rescue comes London-based garden designer Michael Coley, who’s a pro when it comes to transforming city spaces.
Ahead of the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, where he will be exhibiting a garden on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support, here are his top tips:
1. Look for the sun — in a small garden, the spot where the sun is shining at 6pm on a Friday in July is the most important part — your design must revolve around that golden spot. Put some seating there so you can enjoy your sundowners. 2. Don’t be afraid to be bold — don’t think that just because you have a small space all you can do is put a 50cm flower bed around the outside of the area. Break up space with planting jutting out onto pathways — that way even the smallest of gardens becomes interesting. Careful planning will help you use the space to your best advantage. Have a list of essentials and fit them into the garden in the best possible way. I try to keep my material selection down to three — that way the space is much more harmonious and less cluttered. Structure is key. Planting trees gives any garden good vertical character and really helps to create the framework for a garden.
3. Incorporate self-seeding plants like
foxgloves (inset) — these will fill holes and create their own planting plan without you lifting a finger. There is a lot to be said for just letting certain plants do their own thing. If you keep the edges under control, you’ve got a low maintenance garden that has created itself. Michael Coley’s Chatsworth garden is inspired by the importance of legacy donations to Macmillan, which receives almost a third of all funding through gifts left in wills. For more information, visit macmillan.org.uk/ donate/gifts-in-wills