Skip to main content

Home improvements Chapter 6: City gardens

Green spaces are charismatic for they provide visual stimuli day to day and from season to season. They give joy -- simple as that.

View of a posh outdoor setup with bbq and dining area

However, not everyone has a big space outdoors or the time allocation required to maintain such a space. Therefore, inspirational creativity must come into play. Think "out of the box" and turn any "odd" space you have available (balcony, terrace, yard etc.) in a green space.

It is all about ingenuity. First, think of a theme i.e. Mexican patio (Frida Kahlo always comes to my mind) or an Italian terrace and renaissance (emphasis on Mediterranean plants) or a Japanese garden (repeating patterns and running water).

View of a Japanese garden with a stream running down

Think of the mood your green space must project.

Another example of a backyard garden with a round table and two chairs.

Next, plan your space by doing some research on the appropriate plantation. Go for low maintenance plants if time is an issue. If you're already a keen gardener then, this might be as easy as choosing which T-shirt to wear in the morning. It is a crucial step and the one step the majority of people will need a specialists' help for tips and suggestions.

It is important to decide what the main function of this green space will be. The vast majority of "city people" want an outdoor space to dine in style.

A backyard with a dining area setup and green spaces on either side of it.

Then, use the necessary accessories to create this mood i.e. colorful planters, racks, shelves, wreaths, furniture, pillows etc. A color scheme is an excellent way to emphasize the theme.

A beautiful huge roof garden with an amazing view of the city. There is a lot of landscaping and outdoor setups for lounging and dining.

Finally, the lighting is crucial for any green space. It helps to set the "mood" you're after.

Another example of a backyard lit at night with lots of greenery.

When you use more light then the effect of an extra "room" is created when looking outside.

View of a green space (vertical wall) from indoors through windows that are floor to ceiling high.

Vertical gardens are also a trend that is becoming more popular. Their advantage is that the "horizontal" space is no longer an issue because plants are placed along a wall's height.

A backyard with two lounge chairs and a vertical wall with rows and columns of small planters.

Personally, I like a green space that is stylish in an informal way, low maintenance yet, soothing, easy-going with a high degree of flexibility. Think of a "SUV" but in terms of a garden. It is not necessarily the best looking but its multi-functionality and vibrant personality make up for it. We put together such a space this summer on our driveway ramp! Oh yes we did and the result was not all that bad as it sounds. As a matter of fact this space has a great advantage; it has a great sense of privacy, its cozy and versatile. 

So, we created a conversation pit floor using a forged concrete finish at a muted terracotta hue, to create a "soft on the eye visual boundary" of this green space. We then turned a window into a door thus, giving direct access from the inside of the house to this new outdoor space. We also used old steel railings that we modified to create shelves and racks fixed against the boundary wall. The raised flower beds did the rest. We now have a space that we can cook alfresco, dine, chill out, socialize with our friends, play with our children and even watch projected movies. Note that we're still working out the best plant scheme, because we keep this space shaded; but by the time spring comes round again, it'll be settled.

Our private green space consisting of a dining area, a bbq resting in a corner and two white lounge chairs in front of our version of a green vertical wall.
Our private green space!
Image taken from outside looking in. There are two window doors one leading to the living room and the other to the bedroom. The floor is made of concrete in a muted terracotta color.
Looking from outside in

View of the outdoor dining area with the bbq in the background.
Even the bbq has its own rest area

Our private green space with a vertical green wall on the one side and a synthesis of racks with hanging planters on the either. There two white lounge chairs and a dining table.
A synthesis of racks and shelves "dress up" the wall behind these staircase

Looking from inside out at the lounge chairs with the hanging planters behind them.
Looking from inside out.  It feels like there is an extra "room" out there.

View of an olive tree in a tall planter. The green vertical wall in the background and sight of the gutter that separates the driveway from the patio.
The gutter "separates" the driveway from the patio

Basically, there are no rules if you let your imagination run. So, just go for it!

Till next time,



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Follow Te Esse on Facebook Follow Te Esse on TwitterFollow Te Esse on Pinterest Follow Te Esse on InstagramFollow Te Esse on Google+