Down the sheer endless steps from Nottingham Contemporary, a little oasis is hidden between Nottingham College and the entrance to the Caves: Nottingham’s first ‘Parklet’.

The modular green space was installed for Earth Day last year and now serves as a 2-in-1: whilst providing a public garden to sit in and breathe fresh air, it also supplies the Fletcher Restaurant in Nottingham College with fresh produce.

But why the unusual design of the green space?

Modular designs are considered the future of urban landscaping, and parklets or ‘pocket parks’ repurpose even the smallest empty spaces. Neighbourhoods can use parklets to grow their own produce, give people shade on hot days and encourage bike travel by providing parking for bikes.

Thanks to their dark colour, the planters are able to retain heat and ensure the produce has ideal growing conditions even on cooler days.

The community garden on Sussex Street grows fresh produce for the Nottingham College restaurant.

What grows best in a parklet?

Due to the limited space a parklet offers, it makes sense to grow versatile, quickly-reproducing foods in it.

For instance, salad can be harvested all year round over and over again after being planted in early spring. Just beware of snails!

May is the perfect time to start planting summer squashes, pumpkins and zucchinis – ready for harvest in early autumn.

Beetroot and sweetcorn are also among the most popular seeds to plant in late spring – they are durable and guaranteed to bring in produce to use for the colder months.

Installing your own parklet

Why not install a parklet in your neighbourhood and help contribute to a greener life and fresh produce for everyone?

The process is not as difficult as one may think: all it takes is some wooden boxes to start off with, imitating the concept of a raised garden. Painting them black or dark blue will help trap warmth in them.

These should be set up with space between them, allowing pedestrians to pass through.

Adding trees and benches will help create a shaded seating space for hot summer days, with bicycle racks providing the opportunity to visit the space by eco-friendly means of transport.