Whether you have a roof terrace an itsy bitsy balcony or some 80-footer south facing garden having a bit of greenery soothes the soul. We work quite long hours here but at the end of the day in the summer nothing pleases me more than pottering around the garden watering the plants. I almost feel recharged, the fast crazy day melts quickly away and I get that instant sense of wellbeing! If you’re lucky enough to have a bit of an outdoor something or other  then here are some inspiring ideas to take city gardens to the next level.

Create a secluded little spot

Somewhere teeny tiny to retreat too is so appealing to me. My heart skips a beat just thinking about it.  I’ve got the terrace out back which I love its where we hang most summers but I’ve also got this private secluded little nook in the raised area right at the back. It’s super small, a couple of chairs sit under a great big old bay tree with heavily laden branches of the other trees , fig and lilac obstructing my view from everyone. Its where the bird family live (the 2 M’s are not so keen on the bird family), but this is where I feed them every morning , take my coffee in my pyjamas, breathe and begin to start processing my day. It’s so easy to emulate whether you stick a couple of plants that are super big in a pot and plonk a chair nearby or even stick a chair in amongst a whole load of planting creating  a secluded little spot is the best thing.

Simple planting

Low maintenance is key for me with a crazy work schedule. Plus I’m demanding  I want a lot from my garden. I want it to look cool all year round especially in winter, but that said I don’t want everything green way to boring. I want it to smell amazing throughout the whole summer, I want it to feel like a forest, so it tantalizes you as you can’t see that far in front and you don’t know what’s round the next corner. Here’s what I’ve done. An 80-foot long and super  tall hedge of jasmine, which stays green all year round and smells beyond beautiful in the summer runs down one side.  Pots of wisteria, honey suckle, bay (super scented), herbs and California lilac sit on the terrace. Opposite the jasmine is a wall of bamboo which I feed with seaweed so it grows manically (almost to the stars and shields us from prying eyes)  Then I’ve whacked in a bunch of mature trees like figs, olives, quince and  bay. Donezo! I should say it doesn’t matter  what size your outdoor space is, the biggest trick I’ve learnt is not to have everything skirting the perimeter. Plonk some stuff in the middle of your space otherwise you get that doctors waiting room type feel outdoors, assuming of course no one has it indoors and there are no sofa  backs butting onto walls!

Lighten Up

I say this all the time but the best thing we ever did was light the garden. Strategically placed under trees the lamps at  night highlight specific plants with their differing textures and heights. There is a lot of movement in this garden, which I happen to love so when its windy its super dramatic indoors, when its peaceful its tranquil and deeply calming.

Paint walls out

I know this sounds scary but if you paint any exterior wall or fence out in a dark hue it will look so much cooler. Doesn’t everything? It’s that contrast of the green foliage with dark paint that is so tantalising as opposed to pale paint, which just feels wrong to me. Try it, it sounds scary I know but if I learnt anything I learnt this– if you’re not scared you’re not doing it right. Life lesson right there!