Urban Landscaping Ideas: Tips On Creating Ornamental Urban Gardens

urban design
Image by DebraLeeWiseberg

By Teo Spengler

As our nation becomes increasingly urban, city dwellers no longer have spacious yards to turn into areas of natural beauty. Many homeowners dream of creating ornamental urban gardens to fill the gap, but are not sure about urban garden design. However, the basic concepts are easy and you can choose among many ornamental plants for urban gardens.

Urban Landscaping Ideas

Creating ornamental urban gardens is a matter of integrating hardware and hardscaping with plants. You’ll want to select urban ornamental plants and trees that tolerate city pollution but do not require an enormous amount of space.


While in the past, urban garden design included complex plant arrangements, modern city gardens are simpler. Gardeners create a focal feature in the yard around which to place plantings. Focus is created by using placement, contrast and surprise.

The backyard focus can be a tree or dramatic plant – consider a weeping cherry or laceleaf Japanese maple – but it might also be an element of hardscaping such as an outdoor fireplace or a fountain. Water elements add serenity to any garden.

Urban Garden Design

When you are tackling urban garden design, think containers. Consider including a series of large containers in natural materials, like stone. You can select orderly plants or cascading plants to put in the containers, depending on your urban landscaping ideas.

Urban life, with neighbors so close, often dictates that a gardener consider privacy when mapping out his or her urban garden design. Solid walls or wooden fences do the trick, but plants can also be used to create privacy screens and hedges. Read on for more information about these urban ornamental plants and trees.

Urban Ornamental Plants and Trees

Small trees or large shrubs can create an effective visual barrier between you and the neighboring yard while beautifying your own. Select those that grow well in your hardiness zone but will not rapidly outgrow the space available.

You might try hornbeam, lime tree, or holly. Once these urban-tolerant plants are in place, use soft outdoor lighting to call attention to them at night.

Mix attractive edibles with ornamental flowers in your plantings. Some vegetables are lovely to behold as they are growing, and blend readily into the garden. Think cherry tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and leafy greens that can be tucked in almost anywhere. Many flowers, like nasturtiums and pansies, are also edible.

For small spaces, plant vertically. Run vines up the walls of your home or your property-line walls, or plant flowers in pallets positioned against fences.

Using these ideas, you can begin to design and create your own ornamental urban garden. As long as the result pleases you, your garden is a success.

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