Carolyn Dunster trained in floristry with Jane Packer and now works as a florist and planting designer, running her business, Urban Flowers, from her home in north London. Today she offers her top tips for making the best of a small urban garden. 

Carolyn Dunster by Jason Ingram

Carolyn Dunster by Jason Ingram

Think clearly about your personal style.  Consider the way you dress and your interior décor. Your likes and dislikes will inform your exterior space so it is a reflection of you: minimalist, eclectic, shabby chic, contemporary etc.

Keep the design simple. Do not overcomplicate whatever style you go for. Choose the best quality and most durable landscaping materials in your price range as they should be a one-off purchase.  A single beautiful  statement pot looks more chic than lots of smaller containers.

Get professional help with the laying of hard materials if necessary. In a small space the detail is hugely important. The finish should be seamless and will be a permanent eyesore if it is anything less. 

Experiment with your planting schemes and have fun. Growing from seed is an inexpensive way of learning how to garden properly and will teach you humility and patience.

Invest in some small evergreen shrubs but make sure they fit the dimensions of your space before you purchase them. These will provide the background structure to your planting.

Fills the gaps inbetween with your favourite perennials (flowering plants that come back year after year) and have some annuals at the ready either grown from seed yourself or purchased as plug plants to weave in between.

Paint pictures with your plants using the hard landscaping as your backdrop. Place everything out beforehand to make sure you have the right balance and move things around if necessary  before you start digging.

Water container plants every day in warm weather. Keep a pair of secateurs by the door and remove dead heads and browning or diseased foliage as necessary. A little daily titivating is a great way of switching off and will keep your space looking neat and tidy at all times.

Choose a colour scheme in the same complementary tones – this works better in a small space and is more restful on the eye. Remember green is a colour and a tiny all green garden is far more calming than a riot of different hues.