Is your garden looking a little dull? Is it overgrown and desperately in need of some attention? Have you ever wondered how your friends and neighbours have such beautiful gardens? It's spring time and I'm just starting to work on my garden properly.. just yesterday I was outside pulling up plants that shouldn't be growing there! So follow my simple tips to create a beautiful outdoor space you’re proud of.
1. The Hard Work
This is the hard part. How bad is your garden? Is it a jungle or just a bit untidy after the winter? You need to tackle this first. As a general rule of thumb, the best place to start is to remove any rubbish and debris. This will clear the area and allow you to concentrate on the garden itself. Depending on the scale of the problem, you may want to hire a skip or you can just ferry the stuff to and from your local "refuse centre".
2. Clearing the Jungle
Once the rubbish is removed, you can get on with the task at hand. Work your way through the garden by cutting back any bushes, plants and shrubs. If your garden has been left for a while, you may want to enlist the help of a gardener. A second or third pair of hands will work through the area in the no time. Dispose of all waste in the green bin or on your compost heap!
3. Tackling the Lawn
You’re now ready to tackle the lawn. If the lawn is only a little overgrown, you can use your regular lawn mower. However, if it has been left for a while and the grass is tall, you’re going to have to do this in stages. First, use a tool such as a strimmer. These tools can be dangerous if you’re not familiar with them, so be careful. Then leave the lawn a week to recover.
You can now complete the second trim with your regular mower. It may look a little brown at this point, but it will recover over the next few weeks. Make sure you pay attention to the edges by going over them with shears or with a strimmer. For further information on cutting overgrown grass, read this article.
Once your garden is cut back and the lawn is mowed, you’re ready to move onto the flower beds. The aim here is to remove any weeds. The safest way to do this is by hand or with a trowel. This video has some useful weeding techniques. Remember it can be hard to know what is a weed and what is a plant.. essentially weeds are just plants you don't want! If in doubt have a look online, you might be throwing away a really pretty flower.
5. The Fun Part
Once the back breaking work is complete, you can move onto the fun part. This includes picking out flowers, establishing pots and containers and adding ornamental features. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s a good idea to draw a plan first. Decide what you’re going to add and where. Have fun visiting the garden centre and picking out plug plants and pots.
For an extra special touch, trail plants over contemporary pergolas or create feature pots with lots of different blooms. If you have space, water features create a beautiful focus and are pleasing to the ear as well as the eye.
6. Don’t Forget Patios
Don’t neglect patio areas or decking. Make sure these areas are swept and cleaned thoroughly. A jet wash is useful and provides a thorough clean.
If you have a yard with little or no green spaces, then focus on containers and pots. Select flowers for their scents as well as their colours, and remember structure is important! You want the big dominating plants towards the back, and the more delicate plants and flowers at the front so they don't get lost.
Gardening is hard work. It is time consuming, dirty and tiring. It is also strangely addictive. There’s nothing nicer on a summer evening than sitting in your beautiful garden, enjoying your surroundings. Try and adopt a ‘little and often’ approach, rather than ‘all or nothing’. Maintaining your garden throughout the year is much easier than tackling an untidy and unruly space!
As I said, I've just started working on my garden this year, and I've got such a long list of jobs I need to do. Starting with a hedge that runs between me and my neighbour, which they have essentially killed.. joy! Let me know a little bit about your garden, do you have any plans for it this year? Drop me a comment!
Stay safe, x