Top Tips On Redesigning Your Garden For The Summer

With the arrival of spring often comes people’s desire to get out in the garden and change it up in order to recreate garden magic in time for summer BBQs with friends. However, redesigning a garden isn’t always easy and it can also be quite expensive, which is a real pain if the British summer turns out to be a wash out.

 

Redesigning your garden doesn’t have to be so pricey and stressful, however, and below you will find a number of top tips that will help save you money in the long run and get your garden looking as good as you want it to.

1. Remember what happened last year!

One of the biggest things to keep in mind, upon deciding you want to give your garden a makeover, is to remember exactly what you did in the garden last year and the years preceding that. You will then be able to steer clear of doing anything that didn’t work. For example, did you plant a particular flower that didn’t bloom? Did you successfully grow a plant but hate the scent it gave off?

You need to learn from your mistakes and ensure you know everything about the plants you are planting, i.e. what soil types they prefer, climate, should they be in direct sunlight and so on. This forward planning will ensure your garden looks as perfect as you want it to.

2. Test the pH of your soil

Even if you believe your garden has good soil, it is still important to test it before trying to grow anything. Even more so if you are planning to grow any foodstuffs and have a vegetable patch. So many people just feed their soil with composts and nutrients before they know what their soil is lacking in. Do not do this.

Buy a pH soil test form your local garden centre and then you will be able to see exactly what is going on with your soil and adapt your soil feeding to suit its exact nutrient and mineral requirements. Soil planning is essential if you want your garden redesign to be a success, so do not ever miss out on this step. If you choose to forgo testing your soil, you will only end up wasting your money buying plants and seeds that will not grow and bloom to their full potential.

3. Make your garden smell beautiful

The majority of people, when redesigning their gardens, tend to only focus on the visual sense, however, this is a mistake. When planning what you’re going to plant and grow you should not only think about colours, height and spread but also smell. Some of the best gardens are a true sight to behold but have a greater impact because they smell heavenly too.

Take care when buying your plants and flowers because unfortunately, many will have very limited fragrance because unfortunately it has been lost over time as breeders have worked to ensure plants have longer blooming periods. For instance, there’s no harm in choosing flowers like roses for their visual beauty but their fragrance will now be rather limited. Therefore try to also plant many of the more old-fashioned plants like gardenias, nicotianas and dianthus as these will not only provide colour but are also still strong in perfume too.

4. Create a focal point

As with interior design, where you might make a fireplace or central wall a focal point in your living room, you should look to make a focal point within your garden. You will have a much wider choice of where to make your focal point in your garden as opposed to inside your house and can even vary it on a year by year basis if you so choose.

Many people buy water features and make them a focal point of the garden. They do this by installing a lovely garden path that leads right up to them or by setting them apart from the rest of the garden by setting up ornamental handrails around the feature. Focal points don’t have to be water features though; they can be anything from a distinctive plant to a garden patio.

5. Make sure you have the right tools

This should go without saying and if you are particularly green fingered, no doubt you will have a stock of useful garden tools in your shed. However, there are many people who start off redesigning their garden without many of the key tools they need, simply because they’ve not planned what they’re going to do to their garden in advance.

You don’t need to spend a fortune; however, it is definitely worth investing in some good quality tools, in order to make sure your garden redesign goes smoothly and looks professional once you have finished. At the very least you should have the following:

– Rake
– Shovel
– Pruners
– Garden knife
– Trowel
– Hard-wearing gloves
– Knee pad
– Water hose
– Watering can

Take good care of these tools and you will be able to use them for years. For instance, each time you use any of the metal based tools, rinse off any soil and grime thoroughly, dry them and then place them into a bucket with a sand and motor oil mixture. This will prevent rusting and ensure your tools stay sharp and shiny – perfect for helping you redesign your garden.

Attached Images:
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Laura writes for Seagull Balustrades. When not blogging about banister rails, she’s usually trying to wipe childrens’ fingerprints off hers.






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Tropical bloom

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I grow several tropical vines, mostly passion flower, that I have to bring indoors each fall as they can’t withstand our harsh winter temperatures here in Toronto.

One of the vines that I bring indoors I still haven’t identified. I think it might be some kind of trumpet flower, but still … I’m just not sure.

Do you recognize this flower? I grows on a vine with medium green oval / oblong leaves.What is it?

Tropical flower  - vine

When I brought this vine indoors in October I brought it upstairs to sit in a south facing window. Much to my surprise sometime near the end of November it produced two blooms. My vines almost never bloom indoors when I bring them in for the winter because the light is too low – even in a south facing window.

I’m happy to report that the three passion flower, the unknown vine, and my big jasmine are all doing well, yet I’m sure they are impatiently waiting for better weather so that they can get back outside!

Do you bring plants indoors during the winter? How do they fare indoors. Do they bloom, do they struggle to survive because of dry conditions in the house and low light levels?

Update – One of my Amaryllis is about to bloom. It developed a flower stalk about a week after I’d brought it up from the basement at the end of December and it will soon have some huge blooms! The other two haven’t developed flower spikes yet but I expect that they will soon. Oh and my two Orchids have flower stalks – one is flowering and the other is developing buds … plus I bought one more orchid and it’s blooming as well. So between the soon to flower Amaryllis, blooming orchids and my still blooming hibiscus I have lots of indoor flowers to tide me over until spring.

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Getting slammed by snow storm after snow storm

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We’re getting slammed with snow here in Toronto this weekend.

Friday we got about 15 cm of snow and today … well I don’t know how much we’ve had so far, it seems a little less than Friday but it’s not over yet. We spent yesterday just relaxing as we knew we’d be outside shoveling most of the day today. We have more snow coming on Tuesday. At least we get a days break between storms.

It’s a good workout, but it’s also freezing outside. I can think of other ways to burn calories that are much more fun!

On that note my flower of the week is the Maltese Cross. It’s a lovely perennial that grows to about four feet in height and it’s flowers bloom in clusters at the top of it’s stalks. Here’s a cluster of Maltese Cross flowers:

Maltese Cross flower

What’s your flower or plant of the week?

BTW did you know that it officially became Winter earlier today? Uh huh sigh …

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