Practical Design for small urban garden

Hi, I wonder if anyone can help. I'm looking for books/websites etc that give inspiration for practical gardens. By that I mean designs that take into account washing lines, recycling storage, space for ladders etc. I'm in the process of changing my small urban backgarden into an area for growing veg and can't find anything that really looks at this type of design from a practical point of view. I have yet to see a garden design book that has a washing line in it for instance.

Can anyone offer me any pointers?

Many thanks



  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 4,607
    There was a competition on Gardeners World last year about the best use of space in small urban gardens.
    Maybe you'll get an idea..
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 3,081
    Some of those small gardens are stunning.

    Get creative and think of double uses and going up in height. Wall mounted washing lines are great if they are big enough for you. Things like ladders only get used a few times a year but can make great racks for hanging baskets or pots. Just makes sure whatever is attached is easily removable. I've been racking my brain on how to do a rotory washing line, I want one that can be cranked up in height so it goes above eye line. My last garden was long enough that we had one long line attached to the house and a tall pole with a crank handle to lift the washing above head height.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 54,510
    edited 4 February
    We have two retractable washing lines mounted on the house wall and they clip into a metal ring fixed to a fence post at the opposite side of the garden.  Those and two clothes props work for us.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 1,963
    jo.blake1 said:
     I have yet to see a garden design book that has a washing line in it for instance.
    That's pretty obvious. Washing lines don't exist in garden design literature  (although they may exist in real life). ;)
    Anyway, for a small space urban garden website, I can recommend
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,442
    This has some nice ideas, adapted a couple from here.
    With regard to washing lines, l remember going to GW Live when they were celebrating 50 years, and a couple of the show gardens actually had washing lines in them ! When we are being told to care for the environment l'm surprised that garden designers haven't picked up on the fact that washing lines are more environmentally friendly than tumble driers .
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 1,963
    You may even turn your washing line into an exhibition.

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,442
    Trust me Papi Jo, with my unmentionables hanging on the line,Tracy Emin doesn't stand a chance !  :)
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 2,181
    Pinterest is great for this sort of thing. As well as practical designs for small gardens, you could look at storage solutions for small flats for inspiration, tho would need to be built from weatherproof materials  - I’m thinking storage that doubles as seating, fold down tables, sets of steps with storage boxes built in that you could put potted plants on the steps. Bin storage units can have plants growing around to soften the edges and the top could have a sedum roof.
    A small painted shed can be an attractive feature in its own right as well as providing storage space, walls to grow climbers up and a space to hide ladders behind.
    We have a metal concertina washing line that folds flat against the wall its fixed to, but when extended gives enough space to dry a full load. I have a vague memory of a shade parasol that doubled as a clothes dryer, but can’t remember where I saw it.

  • NotyalcaNotyalca Posts: 119
    In regards to the washing line, I have 2 that are always there which are across the width of the garden.  I replaced the poles with long sticks, someone had saplings they didn’t want so we chopped them down and used them as the washing poles instead, I’ve staked  them in the ground so they don’t move and made a ridge in the top so the washing line stays put. 
    When in the garden you can barely notice them since it just looks natural.   So rather than trying to find room for them, for me it’s been more how to blend it in. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 16,795
    edited 8 February
    We never hung washing out in our last garden because, being in Belgium, it either got rained on or blown away by strong winds or "decorated" by the many birds attracted to our feeders and nesting spaces.   This new garden is a lot warmer and drier so we have a rotary thingy which we put out when needed and stash when not in use.   

    When growing up in Cheshire our washing line was left out permanently between the house and a handy tree and we had a clothes prop to hold it high when it was actually being used.   This all changed one day in the late 60s when Mum overheard the two rather posh secretaries in her department (one was Judith Chalmers' mother) describing another woman as "the sort who leaves her washing line out all the time".  Hilarious.

    There are permanent washing lines in this garden too but they are metal and tensioned in 3 rows between 3 concrete posts.   I have used them for drying doggy towels, hanging feeders and also garden lanterns.    They are destined to be covered in clematis and rambling roses, just as soon as we can get the man with the digger here to dig out the pit full of broken roof times from a demolished farm building that we have found just in front of them.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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