Urban Gardens_Capitol Hill_Renaissance Development Washington DC

Thinking Ahead: Planning for an Urban Garden This Spring

2/23/23 8:30 AM Christina Wilson

As we settle into winter and its most difficult months, your thoughts may be consumed with snow removal and preventing slips and falls on icy surfaces. When you are cooped up in between those winter chores, your thoughts might turn towards spring and new ways to beautify your home. No matter what size property you own, there are excellent ways to add greenery and hardscaping to create a relaxing garden space. So, as you're sitting by the fire dreaming of warmer weather, it really is an ideal time to start thinking ahead and planning for an urban garden this spring.

Start Smart—Book Your Contractor Several Months Ahead

Once the grass starts to grow and the trees show the first signs of leaves, the best contractors start getting called for spring projects and their calendars tend to fill up quickly. Booking your contractor ahead of time enables them to provide a timeframe that works with your schedule, making it easier to envision the end result and create a budget for your urban garden planning.

In addition to ensuring your project will be ready when you want it, working with a good contractor several months ahead makes sense. Their expertise will be invaluable as you sort through the specific requirements for the project: city permits, project placement, and the right materials for the job. Even if you have space limitations on your property you can still have a beautiful urban garden with walkways, steps, and raised garden beds. The contractor can help you create a peaceful place to relax in your yard, utilizing carefully designed retaining walls that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. You can plant a variety of flowers and shrubs within your urban garden, and perhaps if space permits, you might want to add a small patio from which you can enjoy it all. 

Consult a Historic Brick Specialist

While your contractor is a strong resource, you’ll want to consult a specialist when you have a historic brick home. Outdoor projects such as front steps, walkways, new railings, and foundation plantings need special treatment to ensure they last a long time, maintain the structural integrity of your building, and are installed correctly.

Historic brick specialists can offer additional assistance with the planning of urban gardens by helping you select materials that will harmonize with your existing brick and by offering appropriate options and alternate ideas that you can share with your contractor.

Expand Your Living Space with Hardscaping

Even though there are some limitations when working with historic brick, there is still nearly unlimited potential with the right installation. Adding large hardscaping projects like a new brick or stone porch to enjoy the warm summer nights can be shifted from functional to eye-catching by utilizing beautiful planters spilling over with delightful greenery. Add a few stylish chairs that work with your home’s exterior, and you have a gorgeous addition that creates curb appeal and boosts your home’s value.

Urban Gardens for Food and Pleasure

With hardscaping in place, there will be new space for planting. Urban gardens take many forms, and one is sure to be right for you. Growing your own food is one option, and with easy techniques for small spaces, like the Square Foot Gardening method, you can harvest a bounty for the entire season! 

New patios offer multiple planting options. If there is enough open space beside the patio, perennial plants provide beautiful urban garden displays year after year. If you're not a fan of garden maintenance, you can fill planters with annuals, adding bursts of color without requiring too much effort. Varying the planter heights adds visual interest, and tall planters of annual grasses can provide living privacy screens.

For private spaces, garden walls can be canvases for stunning murals that set off your urban garden’s beauty and create an oasis in your backyard. Colorful vegetables, annuals, and butterfly gardens can be combined for high impact, or neutral palettes of greens can create a calm and peaceful space.

With early planning and creative design choices for your urban garden, you can elevate your historic brick home to a new level this spring.

Renaissance Development, a leader in brick restoration and historic preservation, specializes in the restoration of a historic brick building’s mortar joints using traditional methods (tuckpointing) and materials. Contact us for a free site visit and project quote

Categories: Inspiration, Curb appeal, Retaining walls, Patio design, Hardscaping, Landscape design, hardscape, Urban Garden

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