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.

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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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Small Space Gardening 101

Attention, all gardening enthusiasts! Just because you have limited space does not mean you cannot have a garden to call your own. Know that having a small space is never a reason to not have plants in your home. You can make do with the limited area that you have thanks to container gardening. As long as you have a windowsill, balcony or patio, you can have the garden you want—and even enjoy some edibles.

Windowsill Gardening

When it comes to container gardening, the first thing that comes to mind are pots. However, you should also think about boxes—specifically, window boxes. Anybody who lives in an apartment can make use of window boxes to have their own gardens, either to display colorful flowers or grow edibles and herbs.

To have a garden by the window, make sure you have a window box that measures at least two feet long so that you will have enough space for a small batch of salad greens. The size is also perfect for growing at least four to six large herbs. Herbs are ideal for window boxes because they are low maintenance plants; all you need are shears, a watering can and some fertilizer. Oregano and rosemary are good choices, but purple basil and chives are better, only because these give a pop of color and make for an interesting display.

Regardless if you decide on herbs or some other plants, make sure to choose flora that are of different colors and shapes. Doing so will make your garden more attractive. Also, do not forget to have a theme: combine together plants that are similar (salad greens, edible flowers, herbs, etc).

Patio and Balcony Gardening

If you have a postage-stamp yard, utilize the space provided by your patio and/or balcony. As long as you have enough room for pots, you are all set. However, ensure the spaces you choose for your container garden receive enough sunlight, or else your plants will not thrive. A water source is also important—the plants should be located near a faucet or hose.

So what should you plant in the pots? Container favorites include petunia, impatiens, pansy, geraniums and licorice vine. If you wish to grow your own vegetables, you can do this too. Food crops can do well even in containers, provided they get the water and care they need.

When planting vegetables in pots, you have to consider both the kind of plant and the size of the pot. Naturally, bigger plants need bigger pots. This means that the likes of tomatoes and cucumbers should be planted in pots with a diameter of two feet or more. Meanwhile, the likes of herbs, greens and peppers are ideal for smaller pots. You can even tuck these between or under larger plants.

It is important for you to know that while you cannot increase the size of the pots, you can maximize space. You can do this by staking, either with wooden sticks or metal cages (like in the case of tomatoes). Staking not also keeps the plant upright, but also prevents sunscald and rotting.

This article was written by Ericka in behalf of McIntyre Masonry, the company that has the best stonemasons in Ayrshire. Ericka has written articles on various topics, but counts those about home and gardening as her favorites.

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Winterising your Patio

When we think of the patio, we often think of the long days of summer, the BBQ and the idea of deckchairs, sunshine and heat comes to our mind. However, a patio can also be used during the colder months of winter too, meaning you don’t have to retreat inside when the cold comes. Here’s how to winterise your patio.

Patio Blinds

These are seldom seen but an excellent addition to those that want to be sheltered from the rain during the winter. The patio blind allows for the area to be used comfortably and are easily rolled up and down, and can even be automated if possible. These shelter you from the impending rain and also in addition to gas patio heaters can make a very comfortable outdoor area with many of the benefits of the indoors.

These patio blinds come in a range of fabrics and can be purchased in clear and tinted PVC, making them ideal for days there is a glare too. They are also available in tough material like fabrics, if you wish to give your patio a different feel. These can complement some of the other heating options wonderfully.

Turn Up the Heat

Of course, the most obvious problem with the patio in the winter months is the cold and so having outdoor heating is vital. Fortunately, there are a number of options here, ensuring you can enjoy your patio in the depths of the winter.

Gas patio heaters are increasingly common and increasingly affordable, as are the likes of outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and also chimneas. These are just some of the choices at hand to create a cosy feel, outdoors. One of the biggest benefits of the patio heater above all others is that they can be moved, look aesthetically attractive and can be positioned where they are required most.

A Little Splash of Colour

The winter is a drab time and that’s why adding a little bit of colour can make all the difference to the patio area. Depending on where you live, there are whole arrays of options that can be added to brighten up the area for winter. From colourful patio plant pots, to rugs made from numerous materials; the patio area can be greatly brightened up with a few pieces of colour here and there. This can really lift your mood and turn the patio into the perfect outdoor retreat for those cooler days.

Winter plants also can add to the area and the likes of heather, cabbages and others can be attractive during the winter – making for an appealing natural spectacle. Ask at your local garden centre to see what they thing fits in with the climate.

Winterising your patio area is a great idea and gives you a warm and cosy outdoor retreat when the rest of the neighbourhood is stuck between the four walls.

Cormac Reynolds writes for UK company Patio Heather Hire and loves his patio all year round.

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