Ula Maria's book Green

Green: Simple Ideas for Small Outdoor Spaces by Ula Maria, book review

Ula Maria's Green is a must for apprehensive city gardeners and for anyone wanting to make the most out of their outdoor space, no matter how small it might be

Green: Simple Ideas for Small Outdoor Spaces
by Ula Maria
Mitchell Beazley
£20
ISBN 978-1784726010

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Garden designer and landscape architect, Ula Maria, grew up in the rural Lithuanian countryside, spending her time as a child watering tomatoes, collecting berries and swimming in the local river. It wasn’t until she moved to a flat in London that she realised quite how lucky she had been. It is perhaps this nostalgic connection to nature that has contributed to her string of garden design awards since being named RHS Young Designer of the Year in 2017.

Iris siberica 'So Van Gogh'
© Dianna Jazwinski

Now with her own established garden design practice, Ula has set about making outdoor spaces as wild and nourishing as the garden of her childhood. Not even cramped city courtyards, balconies and roof terraces can quell Ula’s positive approach to gardening. There is no problem too big, or too small, shall we say? In fact, throughout Green, Ula proposes the positives of smaller gardens over sprawling spaces; they’re easier to manage, more economical to maintain and achievable by all. Even a view from a window can count. She encourages us to think of windows as picture frames; filling the view with blooming flowers or luscious foliage for a green fix even from indoors.

Small garden case studies make up most of the book, with contributions from other young designers, such as Jack Wallington and Adolfo Harrison, as well as Ula herself. There’s a recurring theme in the gardens; often they spill into the home and vice versa, creating an extra room and an all-encompassing natural space. There are also handy style pointers throughout, such as colour schemes, and how to make a small space feel bigger (surprisingly, a large statement piece of furniture will do the trick), as well as a guide at the back to plants that work well in small spaces.

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Flicking through it feels almost as enjoyable and relaxing as sitting in the garden, and no matter how small that garden is Ula will help you see its bright side.