If you haven’t already started getting your garden in shape during lockdown, now is definitely the time. As the weather warms up and we start migrating outside more and more, you’ll want your garden looking tip-top. From weeding, lawn mowing and sprucing up the garden furniture to caring for your decking, outside fences and pathways, the list might seem endless, but it doesn’t all have to be hard work. Here are some inspiring tips, how-tos and shopping ideas to get you in the mood...
1. Paint some pots
Giving a lick of paint to a shed, wall or fence will instantly lift the look of your outdoor space. But just like decorating indoors, you will want to give some thought to the look you want to achieve. Think how you want to match or contrast with brickwork, flowers and planting, and experiment with tester pots to get the colour scheme that’s right for you.
2. Move a seating area somewhere unexpected
A garden is such a naturally romantic canvas so why not move the furniture out on to the lawn on a sunny day and create a whole new mood? If you are thinking of adding paving or decking somewhere during the lockdown, you could consider a part of your garden other than straight outside your dining area.
3. Re-pot and revive plants
Moving a tired-looking succulent or fern into a bigger container will make all the difference and also try replacing old soil with a high-quality potting mix to make sure they stay extra healthy.
4. Update your tableware for outside dining
Even if the sun doesn’t shine as much as we’d like we can still be prepared for a fun al fresco supper with friends and family by investing in some colourful new tableware, including table cloths, serving platters and dinnerware.
5. Create an outdoor room
Give your patio the feel that it’s an extension of your home with colourful container planting and weather-proof furniture that’s comfortable and inviting.
6. Fake it ’til you make it
Try imitation shrubs until the real ones grow in. Reproduction greenery and synthetic blooms are looking more and more real that ever, with fakes such as ivy, trailing roses, herbs, ferns and cacti all great ways to give an instant garden boost to a patio area.
7. Create a shady spot for lazing with a book
Whether you plan a shaded garden from seed, with tall bushes and overhanging trees, or want to put together a more immediate artful oasis with an awning or even a pergola, there’s no doubt that dappled sunlight is one of summer’s joys in the garden. Even if you dont have a patio, a new set of bistro chairs and a sheepie, as pictured creates a lovely nook. G+T optional.
8. Think about a greenhouse so you can grow plants from seed
If you love plants and love your garden, getting a potting shed can really turn your hobby into a full time passion. Think year-round salad, blemish-free tomatoes and strawberries for four months of the year, as well as a place to have a cuppa in the rain, and still be outside. Forage one from eBay or look to any big home store for what is currently on offer; greenhouses have become more affordable than ever before.
9. Try an outdoor rug
One of the easiest ways of nailing that effortless indoor-outdoor look is by adding interiors texture to an exterior space. A good outdoor sofa, chairs and coffee table will all help to create an indoors-outside feel. Add scatter cushions and candles and you've the perfect #stayhome atmosphere!
10. Create a fire pit.
Get the backyard campfires going either with a chiminea that you can buy or with a stone fire pit which you can either buy or build yourself. For a DIY stone fire pit, dig a hole to the size required, creating a bottom layer of gravel which you then cover with larger stones or bricks, making sure to have drainage. Create your top rim by making small cutouts in the dirt for your bricks or stones. Finally, dry stack your desired additional layers, or create a small wall using fire resistant adhesives or quick drying cement. Just leave enough room for seating - and the ‘Smores party is go!
11. Grow your own cocktails.
Why not create your own potted cocktail garden for summer, growing mint leaves for Mojitos and Pimms with herbs and flowers such as coriander, rosemary, lemon verbena and lavender for spritzers with gin and vodka. Bottoms up!
12. Put up a swing.
Whether a rocking patio chair, a garden hammock or a swing for the kids just for fun, there is something inherently laid-back and carefree about a garden swing - it’s the rhythm of summer.
13.Make a rustic firewood log wall
Create a rustic focal point and somewhere handy to dry and store your firewood by stacking your logs in full sight to sit flush against the wall. You could either buy or make a timber storage frame and paint the frame to blend in, or simply chop the wood so it is all similarly sized and pack it tightly together. You could also use joists or laths as a foundation underneath the woodpile or stack your wood on pallets for more support, and to stop the wood absorbing moisture from the ground.
14. Light it all up
When the sun goes down on your porch, patio or garden, stay illuminated with stylish weatherproof outdoor lighting. Solar-powered lamps in flower beds, trees or along paths will keep your garden in the spotlight and lanterns, festoon lights and fairy lights hung over outside tables create a lovely festive feel.
15. New season refresh
Scruffy topiary and overgrown lawns, begone! There’s no avoiding it. If you want to get that garden into shape its time to clip back trees and hedges, mow the lawn, mulch the flower beds and get busy with the trimmers. A well placed mirror will bounce light around a courtyard or patio space and can add new dimension to your flower beds too. If you have a garden that is big enough, or even a patch of weed-free soil, you can sow a meadow mix which will create a sea of blooms that the bees love.