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How To Garden When You Rent

RHS How to Garden When You Rent by Matthew Pottage – book review

An enjoyable guide to gardening in rented spaces by the youngest-ever curator of RHS Garden Wisley, also known as the gardener for generation rent. Reviewer Jack Wallington is a garden designer and author.

Our review

How to Garden When You Rent is a succinct introduction for renters who want to make the most of their outdoor space.

Dorling Kindersley Ltd, £14.99 ISBN 978-0241459744


One of the biggest barriers to growing in rented properties is the feeling that you are only there temporarily and a garden is, surely, a more permanent investment in time, money and emotion.

Author Matthew Pottage, who has rented the same flat in London for more than seven years (which is shown throughout the book) convincingly buries this assumption with useful guidance and step-by-step projects for instant results.

The book is split into six main chapters, with the first half covering the realities of rented gardens, explaining how to make a garden plan and quick fixes for instant wow factor. Topics cover everything from growing annuals from seed to choosing furniture, lighting and creative pot displays, including a clematis tripod, for height.

The second half covers longer-term planting such as perennials, bulbs, ponds, vegetables, small trees, colourful green walls and climbers. Pottage carefully explains how to also take these with you to the next garden by growing in pots or by taking a small division of plants in the ground. While the garden may be temporary, your plants don’t have to be.

Maintenance is the secret to the best-looking gardens, and Pottage encouragingly places the power in the hands of the tenant with fast DIY, from staining fences and maintaining hard surfaces to repairing patchy lawns.

There are tips to keep your landlord on your side with garden changes, alongside plenty of practical advice for composting in small spaces, weeding and alternative plants for a grass-free lawn.

How to Garden When You Rent is a succinct introduction for renters who want to make the most of their outdoor space, with an abundance of ideas shown in clear photos and illustrations. Landlord jaws will be heard dropping as their neglected jungles transform into beautiful oases.


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