15 easy affordable ideas for town gardens
Do you like your town gardens beautifully designed?
Or do you prefer the upcycled look? Where do you put your veg patch?
It’s always fascinating to see how different town gardens respond to the same soil, architecture and weather.
On the last Sunday of June every year, the town of Faversham runs The Faversham Open Gardens & Garden Market Day. There are up to 30 gardens open (June 30th 2019, 10am-5pm).
All the gardens are very different, but they each have ideas that work well in town gardens everywhere. Here is my pick of the best ideas from previous open gardens.
Echo the colour of your front door with planting
Garden maker Posy Gentles, in Newton Road, has just re-painted her front door and windows. That means it’s time for a fresh approach for the pots in the front garden.
Put the veg patch first…
Now that we’ve all stopped thinking about hiding the veg growing area away, it makes sense to put it directly outside the back door. This garden in Norman Road starts with veg beds, opens up into a lawn and has a pretty seating area beyond.
Or even in the middle of the lawn…
Sarah Langton-Lockton’s beans, kale and lettuce are at the centre of her double-width town garden, breaking up the space.
Go for a jungle theme…
Well, you saw Monty Don planting an Ethiopian banana palm in his borders at Longmeadow on Gardener’s World, didn’t you?
Exotic plants are back, but for B&B owner, Mary Mackay, they never went away. She’s been planting her small town garden with tropical-looking plants for over twenty years.
Here’s a useful post about creating an exotic garden in a cool climate.
Meadows in small town gardens
You don’t have to own a large garden to have a meadow. Julian and Amanda Mannering have a square walled garden. One day a friend suggested they put a meadow in the centre, and they did.
Having a meadow isn’t quite a simple as just stopping mowing the lawn, and it’s taken a few years to get established with ox-eye daisies and other wildflowers. But it wasn’t difficult.
Paint your fences
The Mannerings have painted their fences – and a bench – in a shade of blue. It was a bit bright when they first put it on, but it’s quickly weathered down and is a charming backdrop for planting.
And paint your sheds…
Stick (almost) to a colour theme
The owner of this beautiful long town garden in Newton Road is Scandinavian, hence her stylish use of white and grey in the garden.
Don’t have too many different hard landscaping elements
Town gardens often have alot of different elements. One owner will put in a shed, the next a terrace – and it could all get very muddled.
Sarah Langton-Lockton had old garden walls, a slightly newer brick shed and she bought her own greenhouse half-made of brick. So when it came to the path, she chose brick.
All the bricks are different but they’re still bricks, so the garden feels calm and ordered.
Furnish your garden for free with Freegle/Freecycle and plant swaps
Lots of surprises lie behind the garden gates in The Knole. It’s one of the modern roads in the west of Faversham, and the gardens around here are new to Faversham Open Gardens this year.
This garden is narrow but stretches out into a marshy wood. The owner managed to source free car tyres for a path, mannequins as garden sculpture and gets many plants from plant swaps.
Find Freegle here – it’s also very good if you’re clearing your house, as people will come and take the items away.
Your local horticultural society will usually do plant swaps. The RHS has a service for finding local gardening groups.
Use office or industrial items outside
Or adapt charity shop finds…
There are more charity shop finds in this post about the Ivory Close garden.
Make sculpture the focus of a bed
This clever placing of a sculpture makes the most of the shape of the tree. And it distracts from the odd weed, too.
This garden belongs to Colin Rushton in the Mall, is also new this year. It’s a very long, thin town garden, with high historic walls and a wonderful sense of history.
This bird feeder cum birdhouse makes a beautiful focal point for Colin Rushton’s terrace. The house is particularly interesting. It was a seventeenth century farmhouse, which was turned into a pub in Georgian times, then given a new front in Victoria’s reign. It was a popular trade union meeting place in the 1950s, and became a private home in the 1960s.
Place garden pots in beds for definition
This charming narrow town garden in Briton Road belongs to the Foremans. They have used a garden pot as a pond, and also in borders.
A spring/early summer meadow strip
The macLachlans in Abbey St plant bulbs in a strip of lawn down one side of their garden. They let the grass grow long as the bulbs die down.
Around mid-summer, they finally give the strip its first mow, and it then becomes a normal part of the lawn. It’s a nice way of having bulbs in the lawn without getting frustrated by having to let the whole lawn grow out of control.
Try a free-standing arch
OK – so this is a slightly more expensive suggestion than the others. But it looks so pretty and is a great way of dividing up space in a small garden because you can see through it.
Put a roof on a standard wooden pergola
You have to be a bit handy about this one, and also to check that the pergola is sturdy enough.
My brother-in-law spent three days adding a corrugated iron roof to our twenty-five year old pergola to turn it into an all-weather dining area.
It cost around £300 and is a lovely place to eat.
Shop in markets and fairs
There’s a garden market in the historic Market Place on Faversham Open Gardens & Garden Market Day. There are vintage and second-hand garden items, specialist plants stalls and lots to eat and drink.
Entrance to the gardens is by guidebook only. £6 each or two for £10 (with one guidebook and one map). Available from the Faversham Society, 10-13 Preston St, Faversham ME13 8NS or from our Open Gardens stall in the Market Place on 24th June.
Do come and say hello if you’re visiting my garden, and if you have any good town garden ideas do leave them in the comments below. Thank you!
Three free tickets to the Woburn Abbey Garden Show
Also on the weekend of 23rd and 24th June isNow in its 9th year, the Woburn Abbey Garden Show, sometimes called the ‘Gardeners’ Garden Show’ is just over an hour from London in 42-acres of the Abbey’s beautifully landscaped gardens.
The award-winning exhibitors and nurseries have been handpicked by Woburn. The displays are complemented by an array of live entertainment, artisan foods, shopping, demonstrations, informative talks and gardening advice, tips and tours.
Show highlights include Talks and Q&A sessions with BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Adam Frost, BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time panellist Pippa Greenwood and Woburn Estates Gardens Manger and show organiser Martin Towsey.
To win your free tickets, let me know why you would like to win, either in the comments below, on Twitter (to @midsizegarden) or on the Middlesized Garden Facebook page.