How to design an urban oasis in your own backyard

Intimate walled courtyards of Paris or the sky gardens of Singapore with your own city sanctuary.

Holiday at home with an inviting urban retreat

Energising and exciting, cities hold an undeniable allure – an urban oasis seeks to capture this fabulousness and offer an unexpected pocket of tranquillity. 

Without leaving your backyard for the bright lights, you can create this mood at home by embracing the chic style and background bustle of the city, while simultaneously setting up your space for privacy and calm.

Create privacy

Blocking out prying eyes, from either a busy street or from surrounding homes and flats, is one of the biggest challenges of an urban garden. 

Privacy strategies, such as screens and hedges, are practical, but they can also be a positive design asset, creating a feeling of intimacy and seclusion as well as making a statement. 

Try planting a swaying border of clumping bamboo, a manicured hedge (faux or otherwise), installing decorative garden screens or extending existing fences with laser-cut fence toppers.

urban oasis

Indulge your senses

A city setting assails all the senses, so your urban oasis should deliver an antidote. Combat street sounds with soft surfaces such as hedges and green walls, then add your own soundtrack with a calming water feature. 

For plantings, sweet smelling flowers not only cancel out the less savoury smells of the city, but can also help engage you with the space and provide a sense of calm as you move through it. Consider citrus trees, fragrant flowers like jasmine or gardenia, and herbs like easy-to-grow rosemary and mint. 

urban oasis

Hard and soft

The city is full of hard surfaces and an urban backyard will both echo that and seek to soften the effect. 

Consider breaking up a hard floor surface with groundcover plants between the pavers; let garden beds spill over with a froth of trailing plants; and soften tall brick walls with ivy or vertical gardens. If your space is small, an eclectic cluster of pots can help form a green corner.

urban oasis

Fully furnished

An urban garden is a social space, designed for entertaining. As a gastronomic alternative to the bars and bistros of the city, set up your urban oasis as a gourmet destination, perhaps with a charcoal barbecue or a pizza oven. 

Include at least one seating area, positioned in a secluded corner of the garden (or courtyard, or rooftop) to be a little temple of solitude, when you need a break from the urban jungle: just you, a cup of tea and a good book. 

urban oasis

Create your own hideaway

Give your city garden extra privacy by installing a striking screen.

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our DIY videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member

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