Unless you’re under 35 or over 65 you might not have noticed that there’s been an explosion in city living. London apartment developments have been popping up all over the capital fed by a growing need for neat single living units and a desire to be where the action is, and at the most within a night bus home.
In the UK some 50% of new homes are apartments, a trend that’s found worldwide, and this has led to some unusual trends in garden design and gardening. In particular it has led to gardens on a tiny scale with a new trend in micro gardening including vertical green walls and grow your own. Community gardening in these new neighbourhoods is a big trend that we’re hearing about. But one trend that has gone under the radar is the rise of slick independent male apartment living – old style bachelor pads with a new twist. They want a garden to match their stylish new homes.
The rise of these new bachelor pad gardens is led by a few different influences. First of all there is a new sophistication for staying home and if you are entertaining your date then what better than taking them out into your stylish outdoor space, sitting around a fireplace at night time whatever the season. Second climate change in city centres has led to more exotic gardening, if you have a warm micro climate in your London garden then you can grow exotic plants like luxurious tree ferns and sexy jungle plants like canna lilies.
The other big influence is technology, serious boys toys for the garden. New LED lighting technology gives a great atmosphere year round and even when it snows what better view than a snow lit landscape. But of course night time garden lighting allows busy city boys to relax in the garden when they get home, have a beer from their slick stainless steel cooling drawer and chill out. Add in a great sound system linked into the internal computerised music feed and an outdoor TV and you’ve got an extension to your small apartment for year round entertainment.
A challenge for every small city garden is seclusion, especially if you’re a bachelor entertaining his latest girl or boyfriend. It doesn’t have to be the usual timber fence and the contemporary horizontal trellis that has sprung up in suburban gardens isn’t enough when your home displays your tastes to people you want to impress.
And plants are just as important to create that secluded atmosphere. In small gardens every plant counts and it’s important to choose wisely. For the gardener he might sacrifice seating space for planting but for many it’s about low maintenance garden design that means occasional gardening whilst enjoying great simple planting schemes with a peak of interest for the summertime. For the minimalist bachelor pad it might mean a single great Japanese Maple but the clear white branches of multi-stem birches and black bamboo are a popular choice. For the single male interested in emanating Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver there’s also an interest in planting more unusual exotic edibles like Szechuan pepper or Cocktail Kiwis that thrive in the warmth of the city.
Whatever their taste for planting and gardening there seems to be a cool modern garden for every bachelor, whether it’s the city banker with his rooftop space for entertaining or the newly independent divorcee retiring into the city rather than out to the country and wanting a city garden to enjoy for gardening and relaxing in. So next time your London garden is looking a bit tired check out the garden of the single male living next door and get a few tips for a fab garden design.