Recently, we’ve spent a lot more time in the garden and have started to transform it on a budget. I’ve never been much of a gardener, I always found it a little overwhelming and wanted a minimalist look (probably more due to the fact that it always looked like hard work!) I just didn’t know where to start when it came to planting flowers and pruning trees so left it well alone! We mowed our lawn and stuck a few plants in some pots and hoped for the best, only to find that most plants had died over the winter and the lawn looked like someone had given it a comb over!
But every year I’ve upped my game a little and this year is no exception. As we are facing the very possibility of not being able to leave our homes for the foreseeable future and the return of some glorious weather, we have spent the last week out in the garden digging, pruning and thinking of ways to improve our garden space and thought I’d share some ideas with you all!
Clean your patio or decking
Start by pulling up any plants or weeds that have grown in between the patio slabs and sweeping away the debris with a stiff brush. Using the same brush, you can then use soapy water to scrub the patio or decking or use a pressure washer to remove the stubborn dirt and stains.
Spruce up a tired patio or decking by painting it!
We had new decking put down about 3 years ago and it did not fair well after a few winters. I looked at many different ways of how to tidy it up and decided to paint a mosaic pattern on it using Dizzy Duck Designs stencils and Cuprinol paint and was thrilled with the results.
I wrote a blog post on how to stencil your decking last summer and there have been some wonderful creative decking and patio designs since. You don’t even have to attempt to stencil your space, just a lick of paint will instantly freshen it up!
Tidy up flower beds and weeds and add some colour
Probably the simplest and easiest way to spruce up your garden! Try to pull weeds up from the roots so that they don’t grow back and if you want to stop weeds or grass from growing in your flower beds, give them a border with something simple like bricks, sleepers or concrete blocks
Add colour by painting your fence or shed
Another quick and easy way to add impact and colour to your garden is to paint your garden shed or fence. No longer are the shelves stocked with just brown, light brown or a different shade of brown, you can find anything from Iris blue to bright pink! We painted our fence dark blue last summer and I haven’t regretted since, it’s a beautiful shade and really makes the plants and trees pop against it. B&Q and Cuprinol amongst others are still delivering garden paints.
Repair and Paint pots
Paint or decorate tired plant pots and repair ones that have not made it through the winter. I love terracotta plant pots, but you can paint tired pots bright colours to add interest to the garden. We are trying to move away from plastic pots in our garden, you can create pots out of many things including welly boots, pots or pans and hanging baskets out of sieves!
Last year, adding lighting to our garden was an absolute revelation and completely transformed our outdoor living. Not only does it look wonderful at night, by adding wicker and glass lanterns, oversized candles, hurricane lamps and fairy and festoon lights to your seating space or just wrapped around the tree, it can also provide a wonderful decorative feel during the day.
There is an abundance of solar panelled lighting online these days so you don’t have to worry about your electric bill, with some of my favourites being the solar festoon lights from Wilko and battery powered outdoor fairy lights from Lights4fun.
Add mirrors or decorative features
Mirrors are not just for the home! You can now get a great range of outdoor mirrors online which you can hang up in your garden. This helps bounce the light around if you have a particularly shady or dark spot in your garden and can make the space appear bigger, as in the home. You can also buy items like multi-coloured lanterns and ornamental wooden or rustic stars to hang from the trees or fence.
Paint your garden furniture
Is your garden furniture looking a little sorry for itself after 8 months of heavy winter rain? I know ours certainly was. A bit like your fence or shed, there are so many fabulous paint products out there these days, you can paint your furniture an array of magnificent colours.
Maybe paint a small garden planter a bright pop of pink to add colour to your garden, or give your bench or dining set a new lease of life by choosing one of the fab colours on offer from Cuprinol, Ronseal and Rust-oleum. It doesn’t even have to be expensive garden furniture, the popularity for using old wooden pallets to create seating and garden tables is on the rise and you could paint these to freshen them up.
Cosy up your seating area
Once you’ve spruced up your garden furniture, you can make it a completely cosy outdoor space by adding lots of soft furnishings to your seating area like throws and cushions and perhaps an outdoor rug! This really has become a big trend in recent years with brands such as Wayfair, La Redoute and Maisons du Monde all selling outdoor rugs.
Divide the garden into zones.
And finally, if you are like me and find gardening a bit overwhelming and don’t know where to start, divide your garden into zones and tackle each area one at a time. Start with a seating area so you can make the most of your garden and make sure it is somewhere you want to sit (not like us when we spent a fortune having new decking created in a permanently shaded area)!
Create a divide from the seating area to the lawn with lots of potted plants, bamboo screens or ornamental grasses. With a seating area created, you can then sit there with a G&T and admire all your hard work in the garden!
So, what area are you going to tackle first? We are in the middle of creating a new seating zone in our garden and I can’t wait to enjoy it this summer.