See how a city garden was turned from jungle into an urban oasis with raised beds and mature trees

A neglected jungle of a city garden was transformed into a design that combines structure and functionality
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  • The owner of this city garden had left a fast paced job in central London to set up her own company (www.papr.com). Thee years later when the dust had settled and her business was thriving, she finally had the time and budget to do something with her large, previously unloved garden.

    It had fallen to the bottom of her list of home improvements because it was intimidatingly overgrown and she had no idea where to start.

    Check out our garden ideas for more garden makeovers

    ‘I had bifold glass doors fitted out to the garden and suddenly had an unencumbered view of a big, neglected jungle with lots of mature but unruly trees,’ says the homeowner. ‘It was time for it to be tamed! I just needed to meet the right person, who I could trust to tackle it.’

    Urban city garden with mature trees and raised beds

    Lizzie Orme / Future PLC

    Fortunately, she entrusted the team at TJG Gardens with the task. With a modest budget and a tight time frame – the owner was hosting a garden party for her best friend’s hen do, six weeks after the work started – she focused on the character and layout of the space first, then moved onto the planting.

    A first job was to think up garden path ideas. We love this gravel version that weaves its way through the greenery, in a crisp bright contrast.

    Characterful planting

    Urban city garden with mature trees and raised beds

    Lizzie Orme / Future PLC

    ‘Once I had someone with a great eye and vision telling me what was going to happen it made me really excited to finally tackle it and carve out the beautiful garden that was clearly always hidden underneath’ she says.

    Recycled whelk shells light up the ground underneath the Acer palmatum at the back of the garden. The owner wanted to make a feature of it, and to hide the dark soil beneath.

    Blurring architecture and nature

    Urban city garden with mature trees and raised beds

    Lizzie Orme / Future PLC

    With a taste for simplicity and calming colours in her interiors, the homeowner was up for doing something different and more adventurous outside. In terms of the space, she wanted a rear terrace to catch the evening light and provide an entertaining area.

    Laurel hedging planted alongside gave it an instant sense of privacy. The rear garden wall was imposing, so it was painted a natural green colour to blend in with the greens provided by nature.

    Gravel pathway

    Urban city garden with mature trees and raised beds

    Lizzie Orme / Future PLC

    A bright, winding path was installed from the front to the back of the garden. Covered with white gravel, it contrasts with the planting and greenery in the garden, while leading guests back to the alfresco entertaining area. A strategically placed mirror gives the garden an added sense of depth.

    Related: Garden path ideas – curved and straight walkway designs in gravel, brick and stone for every budget

    Outdoor seating

    Urban city garden with mature trees and raised beds

    Lizzie Orme / Future PLC

    ‘I love entertaining’ says the homeowner, ‘so whether I’m inside or out I wanted the garden to bring interest and atmosphere to my dinner parties.’

    But it’s also the times when she’s home alone during the working week that she gets to fully appreciate the relaxation and peace of mind that the garden brings. A small table and chairs just outside the kitchen doors is the perfect garden seating idea for this space. A place to unwind and drink in the last of the sunshine.

    Raised beds

    Urban city garden with mature trees and raised beds

    Lizzie Orme / Future PLC

    By raising the beds, the owner is able to enjoy the colour changes in the garden throughout the year from her house. She has a cinematic view of purple perennials and cinematic, lively grasses.

    Ready for another? Enjoy this multi-level garden makeover with clever planting and banquette seating

    ‘To see so much greenery interspersed with bursts of colour and flowers is very special,’ she says. ‘I love watching the light move down the garden throughout the day. By evening the back wall is speckled with evening sun against the climbing rose.’

    ‘My mum bought me a bird table for my birthday and I’ve loved watching all these small birds enjoying the new space as much as I have.’

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