14 inspiring city gardens to create an urban sanctuary

All you need to overhaul your outdoor space

Chloe Best

Outdoor space can be lacking when you live in a city, but even if you only have a small balcony or terrace to call your own, it is still possible to create your very own urban retreat. Take inspiration from these savvy garden ideas for a multi-functional green space for cooking, socialising and even growing your own food.

1) Invest in potted plants


Even if you're short on space, you can still transform your city garden into a colourful sanctuary with lots of potted plants. Invest in a ladder shelf to stock up various plants, or even grow your own herbs and spices. (Photo: IKEA)

2) Experiment with bright colours


Add a pop of colour to a small garden with multi-coloured chairs and a table, where you can while away summer days and evenings. Painting your fence will add further character to your outside space. (Photo: JD Williams Home)

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3) Bring the outdoors inside


Make the most of a small terrace or balcony by investing in a shelving unit lined with potted plants. A small bistro table and chairs can be folded away to free up space as and when needed. (Photo: IKEA)

4) Take inspiration from the countryside


Bring a touch of the countryside to the city with rustic wooden crates and an assortment of potted plants and trees. (Photo: National Trust)

5) Invest in a fold-down table


If you don't have enough space – or the need – for a large dining table, you could purchase a versatile fold-down table, which can be placed against the wall for two people or pulled out into the middle of the patio when you have guests. (Photo:

6) Transform your courtyard


Even if you only have a small courtyard or paved outdoor space, you can make it a stylish space for al fresco drinks and dinners by stringing up lights and buying colourful furniture that can easily be folded down and stored away when winter comes. (Photo: John Lewis)

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7) Grow climbing plants


Climbing plants like wisteria and clematis will transform your city garden and grow well in urban environments. (Photo: Cuckooland)

8) Cook al fresco


Who needs a BBQ? You can still cook al fresco without splashing out on an expensive and space-consuming barbeque. From delicious pizzas to roasted meats, you can prepare it all on Uuni's outdoor oven, and it's sure to go down a treat at your next gathering. (Photo: Cuckooland)

9) Create a rooftop retreat


Design the perfect urban retreat on your rooftop with comfy armchairs, cushions and potted plants. (Photo: Cuckooland)

10) Go artificial


Ensure your garden looks pristine all year round with minimal effort by using artificial grass. With no need for mowing or watering, it saves more time for enjoying your garden! (Photo: House of Bath)

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11) Make your furniture a focal point


Ideal for spending evenings outdoors, this futuristic light table is sure to be the focal point of any garden. You can even change the colour to suit your mood. (Photo:

12) Create different zones


Separate your garden into different zones for various functions. Pine decking creates a flow between the indoor and outdoor space, while gravel and limestone slabs offer a space to sit out and socialise. (Photo: Garden House Design)

13) Buy multi-functional furniture


Make use of your space by buying multi-functional furniture that can be used for both storage and seating. You can use this bench for storing away your essentials, while the shelves offer space for displaying plants and flowers. (Photo: IKEA)

14) Create an al fresco kitchen


You'll want to cook every meal outdoors with an al fresco kitchen as good as this! With everything you could possibly need to prepare and cook tasty barbecues and more, this is an urban garden that's bound to impress. (Photo: IKEA).