Garden with daylily – Hemerocallis flowers.

How to Create a Contemporary Urban Mix in Your Garden

You don’t need to rule out vegetables and herbs just because you live in the city. Here, the designer has created a stylish modern look with a mix of edibles and ornamental flowers in this chic urban garden. The boxwood and cherry tree provide permanent structure to the ever-changing crops and flowers.

When to plant: Autumn to early spring.

At their best: Summer.

Time to complete: 2-3 days.

You will need: Topsoil or soil-based potting mix, well-rotted organic matter, all-purpose granular fertilizer.

Selection of plants to use: Fig. Ficus carica, Boxwood – Buxus sempervirens, sweet basil, chili peppers, and lettuces, pot marjoram, parsley, daylily – Hemerocallis, Rosa ‘Rose of Picardy’, wild cherry – Prunus avium, outdoor tomatoes

Prepare to plant

You can adapt this design to suit your own garden by creating four rectangular beds that fit your plot. The herbs, fig, vegetables, and rose prefer an open, sunny site, while the parsley and daylilies will be happy in the dappled shade beneath the tree. Enrich the soil with well-rotted organic matter, and on clay soils dig in grit too because all the plants used here like moist but well-drained conditions.

Plant the bed

First, in early autumn, plant the boxwood, rose, and tree, which form the structural backbone of the design. Also plant the fig close to the house wall in early spring. Clip the boxwood into cube shapes. In late spring, plant the herbs, lettuces, and tomatoes in neat rows in the sunny areas, and the parsley and daylilies just beyond the tree canopy. They have been planted closer to the tree here than is recommended because this is a show garden.


Water the tree regularly for the first two years after planting, and keep the area directly beneath it free from weeds. The tomatoes require staking and tying in. Water all the plants frequently in dry spells and throughout the summer. In autumn, buy plug plants of winter and early spring-cropping cabbages, kale, broccoli, and leeks, to replace the summer tomatoes, chilies, peppers, and sweet basil.