Tips for the City Gardener

city gardener
Gardening in an urban setting

Tips for the frustrated City Gardener

If your garden space is located in a city, or urban, area it is more than likely that your space is bordered by walls or fencing of the adjacent homes. If so, then you will have some different challenges than gardens in more rural, or open, areas.

A Warmer Environment

For one, if they are close, the surrounding structures will have a significant effect on your garden’s climate. Hard surfaces reflect both heat and light which will raise the air temperature for your plants in both summer and winter.

To some degree, this effect can be reduced by introducing climbing vines onto the surrounding walls. If they aren’t yours, the same effect can be achieved by putting up a simple wood trellis in front of the wall and growing the vines there. Of course, any vine you use must be able to thrive in warmer temperatures. Many times Ivy is a good choice but care must be taken to ensure that it doesn’t invade your neighbor’s property.


A smaller space will also present challenges to the city gardener in both design and plant selection. In a larger area it is pretty easy to designate certain areas for certain plant groupings but a city garden requires a lot of forethought before you start planting.

In a small area it is important that your design be “clean” throughout and not jumbled. If you have enough room, installing a path with stone or gravel does a great job of adding interest, dimensionality, and depth in even a smaller area.

Choose The Right Plants

For the city gardener, plant choice is critical regardless of the garden size but even more so as the available space gets smaller. More care must be taken to choose plants that have similar water and space requirements. If you choose plants requiring a large space to grow it is easy to quickly run out of room before you get everything in.

Gardening is Fun!

Don’t allow these considerations to prevent you from trying a small city garden. After all, if you don’t like the look or results, changing it won’t be difficult. A large part of the fun in gardening is trying new plantings and plant groupings. Get out the paper and pencil and start on your new small garden design soon!