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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Seven Beginners Tips For Growing Delicious Tomatoes

Thanks to the delicious and simple nature of home grown tomatoes, they are a popular choice for those attempting to grow vegetables for the first time. Though the activity isn’t particularly complicated, it does require care and patience. And if you’ve never grown vegetables before, it also requires that you educate yourself on a few tomato growing basics. Here are seven beginners tips for successful tomato growing.

Choose the Right Tomatoes

The first step towards growing delicious tomatoes is of course planting the right seeds. Don’t blindly head into your local garden store looking for tomato seeds, do your research on the different types available. Different tomatoes not only have different tastes, they also require different conditions to flourish.

Leave Ample Space

One of the most common beginners mistakes when it comes to growing tomatoes is failing to provide sufficient space. If you plan on growing your tomatoes upright, you should aim to leave approximately two feet between each plant. If you plan on growing your tomatoes along the ground however, four feet between each plant is more suitable.

Provide Ample Sunlight

Another absolute requirement of successful tomato growing is sunlight. Tomato plants require a minimum of seven hours direct sunlight each day. If you attempt to grow tomatoes in an area that doesn’t meet this requirement, you’re going to be left with lots of foliage but very little fruit. The production of fruit is an energy intensive process for plants and that energy comes from the sun.

Don’t Plant More Than You Need

Don’t underestimate just how many tomatoes can be harvested from a single tree. If you plant more than one tree for each person in your family, you can expect a lot of waste. And that figure includes a few free tomato flavoured gifts for your neighbours. It’s also worth noting that the more tomatoes you plant, the more maintenance your tomato patch is going to require.

Use Fertilizer, in Moderation

If you want fast results, fertilizer is very much recommended but it must be used in moderation. If you use more than the recommended amount, your tomatoes might grow faster but in turn, they’ll be far more prone to disease. It’s also important to choose your fertilizer carefully. You should limit your search to those which have been specifically designed for use on tomato plants.

Keep an Eye on Water Levels

Even more important than fertilizer is ample water. If rain has been a little scarce of late, you need to get the hose out. Tomatoes need calcium to grow and they get that calcium by absorbing water from the ground. A lack of water therefore leads to a lack of calcium and a corresponding lack of tasty tomatoes.

Don’t Pick Too Soon 

Finally, a common trait among tomato growing beginners is a distinct lack of patience. If you want to enjoy beautiful home grown tomatoes you can’t pick them too early. Tomatoes are generally ready to enjoy between sixty and eighty five days after planting. Ripeness is indicated by both an even, all round colour and a slight tenderness. If your tomatoes are hard to the touch, you need to keep waiting.

Jamie Kirk is a writer, and occasionally writes on cheap conservatory across UK. He recommends comparing stunning conservatory prices by clicking on the mentioned link.

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Growing Monkshood

It’s amazing how many plants are coming up in my garden. Every time I either look outside or go outside to look at the garden I notice how much the plants have grown or new green shoots coming up in areas that were barren the day before.

The monkshood is already making an appearance:

monkshoodshoots

This is Monkshood Aconitum Arendsii Azure Blue.

The new leaves are coming up amid the old stalks that I still have to remove! Usually I tidy up the garden beds in the fall, but I didn’t really do that last year. Even when I clean up the garden in the autumn I’ll often still leave a few plant stalks or a leaf or two so that come spring I can remember where the plant is planted.

I do have plant markers in the garden, but most have been there for four or five years now and they are barely legible or they’ve snapped in the cold so there’s only half of the plants name.

I grow another kind of Monkshood at the back of the garden near the holly shrub. It’s a bicolor Monkshood and I’ve forgotten it’s full name.

Now I know I have several photos of the Azure Blue Monkshood but I can’t find any of them right now. Odd. I do have a photo of the BiColor Monkshood as it’s beginning to bloom though.

Monkshood Aconitum

The bicolor Monkshood usually blooms twice a season. Often once in July and then in Mid to Late September. The Azure Blue only blooms once in late August through into September.

Monkshood is very easy to grow, but you must remember that it’s a poisonous plant. I’m a little nervous about growing it now that we have a Labrador Retriever puppy, but I don’t think she’ll be allowed in the backyard very often and certainly not unsupervised.

Monkshood can be grown in shade or bright sunlight. It does best with at least 6 hours of bright sunlight each day. Depending on the species it grow from 30 inches to approx. 36 inches in height.

This plant does best in rich, moist, humusy soil. It doesn’t like being disturbed once it’s established but it can be propagated through division.

There are several species and hybrids of Monkshood. Some will rebloom if the flowers are removed shortly after they’ve finished blooming as with my bicolor monkshood and others are of the fall blooming variety.

Monkshood is a beautiful plant that adds a lovely touch of color to the garden bed. Even it’s foliage is attractive. Just remember that all parts of the plant are poisonous!

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