If you are lucky enough to have a garden then it is one of the most important parts of your home. It might not be inside the house, but that doesn’t mean it can’t play an important part in your family’s life and be treated like an extension of the house. When the weather is good you'll spend a lot of time outdoors, or hopefully you will if you make it a beautiful place to want to spend time in!
The weather might not be great right now, but if you want your garden to be ready for the summer months, you need to start thinking about which changes to make right now. If you don't want to spend time outdoors then it's just wasted space. Don't let that happen! In this blog post I'll explore how to ensure your garden gets used and not forgotten about with some simple garden makeovers.
Your garden doesn’t need to go to waste for a moment. You can actually have a lot of fun when making over your garden and it might even add some extra value to your home. So, what should you do to make the most of your garden? The tips below should give you some ideas. You don’t have to make use of them all, but you will definitely find some of them useful and applicable to your garden.
Firstly, have a big clear out
First things first. If your garden has turned into a dumping ground and resembles more of a junk yard than a useable outdoor living space, then before you get any grand ideas about buying new furniture or installing a pergola, you'll need to declutter. This task can seem quite mammoth and overwhelming, but it has to be done. It can also be very therapeutic to tidy and clear the mess and all you need to do is simply get started. Stop letting your garden go to waste and crack on with a clean up. If there's too much waste for you to tackle on your own or with car trips to the local tip, then you may need to look into dumpster rental, which naturally includes reasonable service pricing. Being able to afford these services is just as important as using them. Many dumpster or skip rentals will offer a flat rate so you know exactly how much you'll pay.
Other tips for your clear out are:
- Upcycling - turn your old furniture into something new by sanding back and applying a new coat of varnish or even a new colour of paint
- Donating - donate any usable items to local charity shops or furniture recycling projects
- Selling - make some money towards your garden project by selling any items you no longer need that are in a saleable condition (Facebook Marketplace is great for quick sales to local people)
- Be ruthless - only keep what you really need or will be able to use in your new garden design and let everything else go or you'll be back to square one!
Once you can see your garden again and the junk is gone, then it's time to cut back overgrown hedges, trees, plants and do a spot of weeding. Pressure wash any patios to make them like new and repaint your fences if they're calling for it.
When your garden is uncluttered and tidied up then it's time to start turning it into your haven!
Next, add something water-related
All good gardens need to have some kind of water or water feature in them. It adds something completely different to everything else that is going on in the garden. It could be a pond, a stand-alone fountain or something else. Even a well-designed bird bath can add something new to the garden. But if it’s tranquility that you’re looking for, then you should add some form of running water, which is what you get from a fountain. These are fantastic to have on those long summer nights. There is something about the sound of running water that relaxes you.
Then, attract some wildlife
You should do what you can to make your garden into a haven for all kinds of wildlife too. You don’t want to make your garden feel too stifled or artificial. That’s what can happen when you don’t have bugs and insects in there. You need flowers that attract bees and bird feeders and water to attract birds too. It will add something to your garden and make it feel more like a natural space that you can relax in. There are all kinds of tricks out there that you can employ when you’re looking to turn your garden into a natural retreat. Just keep in mind how each thing you do will have an impact on wildlife.
Do something creative with the lighting
Lighting is another important issue that many people forget about when they are creating a new look for their garden. If you are going to be eating out there in the evenings, you will need lighting. Those long evenings can drag on for hours. And sitting outside and enjoying the summer night can be the perfect way to spend that time if you’re with others. But that’s only possible if you have the right lighting in place. You can’t host a social get-together if you’re all sitting there in the pitch black of night. There are so many garden lighting options out there, so get creative with them.
Add seats and tables to make the garden usable
You should definitely aim to make your garden a more usable kind of place if you can. One way to do this is to add some new seats and tables. This will give you somewhere to kick back and relax when you want to spend some time outdoors. There are lots of seating options out there. Aim to buy furniture options that are functional, while also offering some level of comfort to you. If they are not comfortable, then they will be of no use to you and you probably won't be tempted into the garden, which defeats the object of this whole project. Consider buying weatherproof furniture and a cover to protect them from the elements on rainy days or in the winter.
Make it a little more private
Making your garden a little more private than it currently is could be a fantastic way of helping you to get more use out of it. Many people don’t like to relax in their garden because they are too exposed and other people can see in. You can add wooden structures that obscure the view and give you some more privacy. Planting taller hedges might also help you to relax more in your garden because the garden will be shut off from what’s around it. It’s easy to do and it could have a big impact.
Create easy access from the house
There should be a simple and clear movement through your house and into the garden. The better the link is between the home and the garden, the more use you will be able to get out of your garden. If you want to spend some money, you could install some patio doors or even better, some bi-fold doors to really link the inside with the outside. This will make it easier for you to move between the home and garden. You can then put your garden furniture on the patio near the doors, and spend more time eating and socialising in this space.
Look after the lawn all year round
Your lawn is one of the most important aspects of the garden. If you don’t pay enough attention to it, you will never be able to create the kind of garden that you want to spend time in. A patchy lawn that is clearly not being cared for can ruin the appearance of the entire garden. The solution to this is to look after it all year round. If, right now, the lawn is in terrible shape, you might want to consider pulling it up and starting again. When you do that, you can be sure that the new lawn you put in its place will look great. Or, if that's too drastic, simply sprinkle grass seed all over the place, water it each day and you'll be surprised at how quickly it grows through and transforms your lawn. A patio or artificial grass is an idea if you don't have time to take care of real grass.
Do new things with the boundaries of the garden
The boundaries of your garden should definitely be given some thought. When you look at your garden, your eye is often drawn to the edges, so they need to look good. If they don’t, it will not look as great as you want it to. If the fence is old and falling apart, it will make the whole space look uncared for and untidy. That’s probably not the kind of effect you want to create. Hedges can cover up an unattractive fence or a lick of paint could work wonders. add some climbing plants if you like. The options are endless, but don’t just let the garden’s boundaries rot and decay. Having safe boundaries that enclose your garden is also a great way to ensure your garden is childproof if you have children.
Don’t clutter the garden
If you cram too much into your garden, it will start to look messy. These days, a minimalist kind of aesthetic is more popular, and it can have a much better impact in the long-term. Add clean edges to the garden. A landscaper should be able to take care of this for you. And when you are choosing plants, don’t add too many. You can easily lose control over the garden if you’re not careful. Clutter will only make it more difficult to deal with, and that’s when many people simply give up. You don't want that to happen again, so keep things simple and manageable.
Choose bold plants that add colour and vibrancy
When your garden is filled with bright colours and beautiful plants and flowers, it will become the kind of space you will want to spend time in. No one wants to spend time in an ugly garden that has nothing attractive about it at all. The flowers you choose will achieve an attractive space to give your garden all the life and vibrancy it needs. Stick to a colour scheme if you want it to really look good.
Grow food in your garden
Another thing you can do to get more use out of your garden is use it to grow food. There are all kinds of ways you can do this from a vegetable patch in the ground, to raised beds or trugs and even pots on the patio or fruit trees. What foods do you most like to eat that you could grow in the garden? You could plant some rhubarb or an apple tree. Growing your own food is always satisfying and fun, so you should give it a try.
Once you realise the potential of your garden there will be no stopping you! Make your garden into the usable living space you deserve and you'll also benefit from the many health effects of being outdoors in fresh air surrounded by nature.