Beautifying Your Urban Outdoor Space

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Do you have pinterest boards filled with lush, tropical-inspired backyards, chairs placed beside an infinity pool, with a view of a beach in the distance? For many of us, like our dream house, our perfect backyard is far from the reality. This is especially true if you live in a city. For all its benefits, city living is usually not for those who relish large lots and lush lawns.

Does your current backyard resemble more of a concrete jungle than a tropical one? Or worse, is your outdoor space not a yard at all, but only a small deck, porch, or balcony? Never fear: The Fence Authority is here with suggestions on how to make it a beautiful, relaxing oasis.

Work with what you have, but think outside the box

Create a calming space on your front steps!So perhaps your backyard is more like a parking pad, but the street spaces (or lack of them) in your neighborhood mean you want to keep it that way. A front porch, or just some front steps with a landing, can become your new hangout spot. The benefit of relaxing in the front of your house is an opportunity for plenty of community interaction, including talking to your neighbors, taking the mail directly from your mail carrier, and petting any friendly-looking dog that walks by (with the owner’s permission).

Or what about a roof deck? Aside from offering a place to grill and relax, a roof deck can create a very private space with a view that can’t be beat by any kind of ground-level garden. Depending on your home’s size, it can also give you a more spacious area than you might get out back, without having to sacrifice other things, such as parking. An additional benefit is that the decking and greenery of a roof deck absorbs fewer of the sun’s rays than a dark-shingled roof, saving air conditioning costs. “Green” roofs in cities can even keep the surrounding temperature cooler, which is probably not news to anyone who has compared the temperature of a sidewalk on a summer day with a nice, lush lawn!

Plants, plants, plants

Climbing plants are great for small spacesThe first step to making the outdoors look like a lush oasis is to actually include plants! Depending on your goals, there are many ways to make plants thrive in a small, urban environment. Do you want to grow herbs and vegetables to supplement your cooking efforts in an inexpensive, organic way? Container gardening might be right for you! Simply create groupings of flower pots or planters and go to town. Your pots can be monochromatic, a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, or good old terra cotta. You can create a variety of looks with container gardening, and the best part is that it’s never permanent. Change your garden’s location or shape on a whim. Container gardening is perfect for those who lack a true dirt yard or garden space, since it’s best for hard, flat surfaces, like concrete pads or iron balconies. You can also have as many or as few containers as you want and need, so it work in virtually any outdoor space.

Looking to add some privacy, color, or texture to your space? Bright blooms, like hydrangea and honeysuckle, could work for you. Consider flowering bushes, likeget your fence guide rhododendron, or even small trees, depending on your space. Hanging baskets of peonies or mums can also add pops of color and more visual interest to your outdoor oasis.


Is your yard narrow? Does it lack light because of nearby building shadows or weird angles? A wall
garden may be right for you. Installing a trellis on an outdoor wall is an easy and inexpensive way to create a lush, green space when the ground is at a premium, or simply not right for growing plants. Choose plants that can be coaxed to grow on a trellis and make sure your wall or fence is sturdy enough to handle climbing plants.

Don’t forget the seating

A unique space deserves – and perhaps requires – unique seating options! Your traditional big-box patio furniture choices may not cut it when you’re looking for options for tight outdoor spaces. Of course, a benefit to having a yard space in the first place is being able to eat, read, talk, and relax outside during the best parts of the year. Even if you can’t fit outdoor couches or six-person tables in your space, you can still offer a variety of seats that are so comfortable, you’re liable to fall asleep in the sun (watch out for sunburn!).

For those tight on space, built-in benches or seats can work great. Never worry about not having enough room to walk: your seating space and walking space are static, and exact in measurement. Built-in seating can also better blend into the setting. One of the best benefits of built-in seating, though, is that it can also contain built-in storage if you plan for it!

When planning seating for your urban outdoor space, make it as unique as your yard. Colorful paint and funky cushion fabric can really make your furniture stand out – or even blend into the surroundings, depending on your style.

Need fences or decks? We’ve got you covered.

If any part of your plan requires fences or decks, call The Fence Authority! No job is too small. Many customers in city locations want a fence that will match their neighbor’s to create a seamless look, large gates to allow a car to be secured on a rear parking pad, or custom multi-story decks, second story decks, or roof decks. We can build your project out of cedar, which we source ourselves, or choose from our ActiveYards branded aluminum or vinyl fencing, or several varieties of composite deck.

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