The new year is a time when many homeowners make changes, large and small, to their properties.
From a splash of paint or a new throw to the full remodels, home improvements are as popular as ever.
But it’s important to remember that your garden could also use some TLC to turn it into something special.
Since we’ve been under lockdown conditions for almost a full year, the value of outdoor space has become increasingly clear.
A well designed and thoughtfully laid out garden can be a relaxing haven, a place to spend some energy digging and planting, and a place to (safely) socialize with loved ones.
There are plenty of large projects and small touches that can make your outdoor space into a cherished part of your home, just in time for the weather to become warmer.
Here are some tips:
The back yard’s traditional centerpiece, your lawn should be a source of pride and a feature in itself.
In fact, many garden designers use the lawn to set the tone for the rest of the space.
Neaten things up with great edging – black-painted aluminum or steelwork best and look the most elegant.
Don’t assume that your grass should be square or rectangular – a circular or oblong lawn can also work well, and leave some space for light-colored gravel to separate grass from your flower beds. To keep your lawn looking lush and verdant, you must water properly.
Whether you have a hose or you’ve got a sophisticated irrigation system, the principles of watering remain the same – do it in the early morning before the sun is strongest, as less will evaporate.
The key here is integration with the rest of your garden and a strong layout. Use a combination of structural plants with decorative flowers in between.
Shrubs can be placed to punctuate the beds, giving a kind of visual rhythm to your flowers. Remember to plant smaller flowers at the front with the larger plants behind.
You can use narrow beds to delineate your garden zones – we’ll talk more about zones later.
Vary species so that you can have color all (or most) of the year – ask at your garden center for suggestions for your area’s climate.
If space is at a premium, you may want to invest in some pots and hanging baskets – remember, you can have climbing plants on the walls or fences as well.
At night a garden can be transformed into a deeply atmospheric place with the use of lighting.
And if you’re on a tight budget, don’t worry – creating a unique lighting concept is easier and more affordable than ever.
Many designers try to create continuity from the house’s interior with the garden, so take inspiration from within!
There are many types of lights – floodlights for tonal wall washes, spike lights to dot around on the lawn or flower beds for atmosphere, and fairy lights for a fun touch.
Besides decorative lighting, there is also safety to think about – bollard lights to illuminate pathways or wall lights for steps and passages.
We use our gardens for many different things. So why not divide your outdoor space into zones to enjoy different activities?
A zone for sunbathing, zones for eating / entertaining, games, reading, or meditation.
If space allows, the zones can be divided into hedges, trees, fencing, or trellises, and it means that you can try out different garden design concepts in different areas.
What garden furniture you choose depends on what kind of space you’re dealing with. For smaller gardens, there are ranges of foldable chairs and benches that slide away when not in use.
L shaped sofas/benches can be surprisingly compact. For larger gardens, there are more options such as swing seats or hanging chairs – these look stunning in white painted metal or wicker.
If you’re going to invest in a full seating set, make sure you avoid those naff white plastic chairs and tables – metal or treated wood is much more elegant.
Changing your garden into a relaxing and invigorating outdoor space is a great project to start planning this month – by the time the warmer weather rolls around, you’ll have a garden to savor.