Ideas for an Urban Garden

Hello people!

Welcome to my blog, today I have a new project to show you all.

A couple of friends asked me for some garden design advice, as they share a terrace with their floor-neighbors, they wanted to make it “greener” and yet, enjoyable for everybody, without leaving behind their personal touch and style.

One of the many, many “pros” of plants, is that they can be used to achieve (almost) any decoration goals, like making a place feel cozy and fresh at the same time.
In this project, plants will be used to gently “divide” the terrace. As I said before, this is a shared terrace and the idea is to use resistant and drought tolerant plants, with soft shapes so that the terrace still looks open and fresh, while creating a “private” space for my clients.


The Project

 

The apartment is on the first floor with full sun exposure. It is a big area that my friends and their neighbors use a lot when the weather is nice, so there is space to create something new, without interfering with others peoples ideas.

My friends’ living room faces the terrace with a big window, sometimes used to access the terrace. They manage to enjoy the views from the window, wether is summer or winter so I wanted to help them have a greener space during the year.

 

Plant Selection


Acer palmatum f. ‘Atropurpureum’: deciduous small tree (its leaves fall in winter), slow growing, it has dark red and bright foliage in autumn, it is very resistant to cold and can also be placed in a full sun area (depending on the zone you’re living, this terrace is in Northern Italy), protected from strong drafts. It needs moist but well-drained soil to grow perfectly.

Left: Acer palmatum ‘Shigitatsu Sawa’. Right: Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’


Pinus mugo
: it is an evergreen (its leaves don’t fall down in winter) dwarf conifer. Slow-growing, it likes well-drained soil. It also grows well in a sheltered full sun with exposure and likes any type of soil. The needles turn yellow in winter.


Rudbeckia fulgida
: it’s a rhizomatous perennial with “hairy” leaves and branching stems, they carry flowers with deep-brown centers and bright yellow florets in mid to late summer and early autumn. It is deciduous which means the aerial part will dry completely, and grow again in spring. It loves full sun exposure in a sheltered area, it grows well in any type of soil. It can grow 1 m tall.


Salvia x sylvestris ‘Tänzerin’
: it’s a bushy perennial with lance-shaped leaves and, dense racemes of small violet flowers in early summer. They grow well in full sun exposure and like moist but well-drained soil.


Sesleria autumnalis
: it’s a perennial grass that grows up to 60cm tall, linear leaves, with a narrow, silvery-white panicle to 10cm in length in late summer. It grows well in full sun or part shade and it likes moist but well-drained soil.

 

As I said, this terrace gets a lot of sunlight during the day, so they needed plants that thrive in the sun but also that look great in winter time.

The mix of colors will be perfect for summer, the heights will help them get a bit more privacy and in winter they will still have nice shapes that can be combined with fall/winter bulbs or other annual plants.

Annual plants:

  • Bulbs: crocus, spider lilies, irises, etc.
  • Hellebores
  • Cyclamen

Other details to make your terrace a perfect place:

  • Getting an exteriors carpet: will help the area look brighter and more organized.
  • Candle holders in different shapes and heights will make the eye focus on different points and have a warm sensation during the nights.
  • Containers are very important too, they will define the “style” of the terrace. For example, clay containers have a vintage and “used” style (which I love); Tall plastic containers in black or white, define a more elegant terrace, and so on, and again, select different heights, even if the plants have different dimensions, playing with containers will set the difference.
  • Lights are sometimes better than candles so you can use your Christmas lights to decorate the walls, rails or even the floor, just play with it and you’ll find the perfect spot for them.

Hope you like this project and if you have any ideas for your own garden. If you’re looking for someone to help you, let me know, I will be happy to help!

Garden tips & plants for rainy areas

Hello people, it is Project Time!.

I’m always excited about projects and I hope you are too, here you’ll find tips and ideas to apply to your own garden or terrace. Remember you can find me on Fresh Lemonade Gardens. Send me your gardening plans or questions!.

Ok, now, I bit info about the clients:

A family of three (mom, dad and baby girl) recently moved into a new and bigger house in northern France, with a lot of green space to work on, they want to start by renewing their entrance area, where they have a garage and a secondary access to their house, but, it’s the access they see every single day, because it’s the garage access.

The problem

They just rented a house that was inhabited for a long time, they have a bunch of old and dead plants that cover all the space. The garage area has also dead plants and they would like to cover it all with beautiful plants.

Northern France has a wet weather, so they have grey days most of the time.

They need a space where they can feel safe and bring to life their new home.

First impression of the area
What they want/need

They need an organized space (that gives them a “welcome home” effect) with low-maintenance shrubs. As the area is not attached to their house and they have to walk a few meters to actually enter the house, it is convenient to have small shrubs that leaves them a clear view, to see everything around.

The garage has already a define flowerbed space and they want some evergreen (plants that maintain their leaves in cold weather) to cover it, like a Lavender mix (Lavandula angustifolia, L. stoechas, L. officinalis, L. dentanta) and a climbing rose at the back.

Lavender & pink roses

They would like to have an ornamental tree that provides color and fun to grey winters.

The project

We are starting by cleaning the area to understand what we have over there and, let us have a clear vision of what we want. It’s a bit heavy work, but it’s important and worth doing it, trust me, you’ll feel much better after you see that clean and open space, sometimes you’ll feel it look bigger than you thought, and that’s so good, more space for plants! right?.

Notice they have stairs that divide the “planting” area, we are going to use that “highness” to simulate different shrub dimensions.

How it will look 🙂
Plant selection

They need low-maintenance plants for a wet zone (northern France) so this is the list of plants for this specific area

Plant selection and distribution
  • Edgeworthia chrysantha or paperbush: an ornamental tree is very resistant and can easily grow on container too, the Paperbush is a good option for this kind of climates. It likes partial-shades and with the right draining soil, it will grow and give you all the satisfaction you need in cold winters. It will thrive during winter with early blooms, in summer, it has a leafy and globe shape with big oval leaves.
Chinese paperbush
  • Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’: is a perennial bush, with succulent stems and leaves and pink blooms from August to November. It attracts butterflies. They like full sun or partial shades, it’s a low-maintenance plant and it thrives between ornamental grasses.
Sedum spectabile & Stachys
  • Alchemilla mollis or lady’s mantle: is an herbaceous perennial, it loves partial-shades and blooms from July to August with small, bright yellow flowers in large sprays just above the foliage.
Alchemilla mollis in Vancouver
  • Euonymus ‘Silver Queen’: evergreen shrub with dark green leaves and white edges. It grows well in full-sun or partial-shades. It will make your garden stand out in winter.
Euonymus fortunei ‘Silver Queen’
  • Juniperus communis ‘Depressa Aurea’: it’s a dwarf conifer, evergreen with nice bronze foliage colors during autumn. It grows well in any type of soil and loves temperate climates.

  • Carex brunnea: ornamental grass with clear cream/yellow leaves. It likes partial-shades and it’ll bloom in summer and it’s perfect to plant with other flowering plants to create a green “separation” in between.

  • Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’: another perennial shrub, with heart-shaped silver leaves and blue little blooms in spring. It loves partial shades and it goes well around ornamental grasses like carex.
Brunnera foliage & blooms
Alchemilla mollis & Brunnera
  • Tiarella cordifolia: this is a small perennial evergreen, it can become a groundcover if you leave it the space to grow. Interesting autumn foliage and blooms from April to June.
Tiarella cordifolia & Carex pensylvanica
  • Bulbs: I recommended a mix of irises, tulips and garlic bulbs, to plant next to the stairs and between small shrubs. 
    Yellow tulips between blue and pink blooms, they will stand up around all the green colors in the garden

    This garden was designed to have blooms through all seasons. You can always plant them in containers and give them try. You’ll see that the “right” perennial plants are the solution to all your problems and will bring you joy with really low maintenance.
    The idea of having a garden is to have fun too, try it and let me know all about it!