An Inspiring Urban Garden

by Jane on February 18, 2014

Now is the time to start planning your garden, if you’ve not spent the winter poring over seed catalogues and design books.  I thought I’d put this post in as it is a fairly small urban garden that has masses of ideas  with which to inspire you!

It’s a garden in central Bristol belonging to a friend of mine, and last summer I spent happy hours exploring it and sitting in various places admiring the view.  It’s rectangular and slopes down from the house (you can’t have a plot in Bristol without a hill in it).

view from above of garden

There’s a patio near the house, and a large laburnum tree at the other end:

Looking up laburnum tree

as you can see, it was in glorious full flower when I visited in June.  A shed and some compost heaps are down this end, behind the tree.

Between these two points, my friend Jenny inherited not one pond but two, side by side, with large stone edging haphazardly surrounding them.  She has kept them but cleverly divided them with planting, so only one can be seen at a time:

bigger pond


middle pond Bishopston

Parallel to this is another path down to a swing seat, facing west, so you can come home from work and sit in the evening sun:

Swing seat

Note the contrast between the purple leaves to the right and the large lush green leaves of the rodgersia towards the back.

Looking across the garden from the seat, through a nicely pruned shrub, you can just see the middle pond:

view from seat with stone ball

After the seat is an archway through to the end of the garden, with a little patch of long grass with wild flowers in it.

Arch near seat

Going up towards the house from seat and ponds there is a major feature, both practical and a beautiful focal point: an arched pergola with fruit trees trained over it.

Fruit tree pergola

Going towards the house through the arches we reach the patio.

This is the upper level:

Upper patio

Note the banana plant – this end of the garden is ideal for tropicals as it catches the sun.

Lastly a view across the garden, from the lower patio through the herb bed.  Here you can sit at table with your breakfast and feel like you’re in the south of France.

Patio near herb bed

Throughout the garden, plants have been chosen to contrast in colour, texture and shape – see the grey curry plant against greenery in the herb bed, for example, or the giant rodgersia leaves near the arch at the bottom of the garden, standing out against the fine grasses behind it.  There are changing vistas everywhere, using different paths and features to keep your interest.  The garden has developed into a living sculpture you can admire from different angles, however, most importantly, you can relax and enjoy being in it.

Jenny’s garden will be opening for charity this year on June 8th,  along with 6 others nearby.  Let me know if you want more details.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Klara February 2, 2015 at 9:32 am

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