Is there anything more glorious than being out in the garden? Sun shining, kids playing, pets having fun and friends popping over for a barbeque- absolute bliss. So if you’re looking out of your window and seeing nothing but wasted space, it’s time to get a move on as the warmest months are right around the corner and will be here before we know it. Here are some of the ways you can make the absolute most of your outside space.
Grow some crops
If you have space in your garden, one of the most productive things you can do with the space is to grow some of your own crops. You could get a greenhouse, or just create a veggie patch or herb garden. With your own edible fruits, veggies and herbs you can eat them throughout the harvest seasons and save yourself a ton of money, or you could look into canning and making jams, pickles and chutneys. You could grow flowers, perfect if you (or someone you know) is getting married as it can save a fortune on buying from a florist. Otherwise, you could grow them just to make your garden look pretty, or keep the vases in your home bursting with colour for months on end. Growing your own crops can be hard work but it will keep you fit, keeps you productive when you’re off work and it’s really satisfying too. If you’re new to growing, do some research and choose things that are easy to maintain. Make sure you check that what you plan on growing can survive in the climate you live in, if not you’ll need to use a greenhouse. A small greenhouse or lean- to could be purchased even for a small garden, but if you have the space it’s a good way to make use of it, perhaps at the bottom of the yard where it’s out of the way. That way you still have space for kids to play and to entertain without them being obstructive.
Create a play area for your children
Speaking of a space for children to play, this is another thing to consider when you’re remodelling your garden. Chances are, one of the main reasons you want a garden for your family is for your kids to be able to run around. You could have a bespoke treehouse built, or a wooden wendy house/ summer house that they could play in. If you or anyone you know has carpentry skills, it’s a great project to take on and could save you hundreds on buying from elsewhere. It provides shelter on a hot or drizzly day, and can also be used to store their outdoor toys over the winter to keep them protected. Even a simple lawn is a great space for kids to play, overseed it with a grass blend that germinates quickly and is known to be hardy. That way, you can sprinkle some down whenever it starts wearing thin and it will quickly sprout back up again. Another thing to be aware of when you have children or pets playing in the garden is to be careful what you’re planting. Some flowers and plants can be toxic, if they pick them and put their hands in their mouth it could be really dangerous. You’ll of course want to avoid tripping hazards and any sharp corners where possible to make it as safe as you can. If you want things like ponds and rock gardens, make sure they’re safely fenced off so that pets and little ones don’t hurt themselves.
Put together a seating/ eating area
A seating area is important for any garden, a space where you can sit and eat with your family in the sunshine or with guests if you’re hosting a party. This is likely to be your main patio area, if yours is looking a little worse for wear then decide what you can do about it. Slabs can usually be brought up to scratch with a jet hose and some weed killer applied between the cracks. Decking can be sanded and re-stained. In some cases, you might need to extend your patio area a little if it’s quite a small space. Invest in a good table and chairs, and ideally some additional foldaway chairs too. That way, if you have extra guests over there’s still space for them to sit. A good barbeque is a solid investment for most households too, go with a size that’s big enough to accommodate the amount of guests that you usually have. A large parasol is a good move too, you want to be shaded from the heat of the sun when you’re enjoying a mid summer garden party! If you live in a sunny climate, you could even go for a pull out shade which can be affixed to the side of the house and controlled with a remote.
Create an area to relax
There’s nothing nicer than sitting relaxing in the garden when the weather is warm. Whether it’s to read a book, drink a glass of wine or sit and have a chat with your partner after work as the sun goes down. Be sure to include some kind of area in your garden that’s just for relaxation. You could have a decked ‘stage’ area and put an outdoor sofa and coffee table on it at the bottom of the garden. You could set up a gazebo or an awning with a seating area underneath, or go down the sun loungers route if you’re lucky enough to have a pool or a sun trap in the garden. You could invest in a swing seat, or just a simple yet sturdy bench if your space is more limited. Strategically place some pots filled with pretty flowers around, and ideally give yourself the best view of the garden. A bit different to your main seating area, it’s more relaxed and possible something you’d use more in the evening time.
Make it pretty
One of the benefits to spending time outdoors is that you get to bask in nature, and so it makes sense that you’d want your garden to look pretty. This can be tricky if your current yard isn’t in the best state and you don’t have a huge remodelling budget, but there are things you can do. Jet wash patio slabs, and replace any that are cracked. Cover concrete with pea gravel or slate. Paint garden walls white, and string up solar lights and hang accessories like garden clocks and mirrors. One of the best ways to make the garden look pretty is with colour, and big planters or flower beds full of colourful blooms will be sure to detract from areas that don’t look as nice. Nice lighting, colourful flowers, freshly painted walls and accessories are all ways you can bring it up to scratch. If your fences need painting and shrubs need cutting back, these are also things you can do to improve the overall aesthetic.
Make it a wildlife haven
Your garden should be a place for you to enjoy, but also a way for you to help nature. Something all of us can do is provide food for birds, flowers for pollinators like bees and butterflies and a safe place for mammals like hedgehogs to nest. If you want to help nature, one thing you can do is keep some areas of your garden wild. Insects and animals like hiding out in long grasses and undisturbed areas. If you have a pond built, you provide wildlife a place to drink, and somewhere for frogs and other amphibians to lay their eggs. One thing to bear in mind when you’re trying to invite nature into your garden is that you should avoid pesticides that contain harsh chemicals, as these can be dangerous to other creatures too. Adopt a more natural form of pest control, for example, if you encourage the right kinds of insects into your garden with specific plants then these will naturally keep down pests. Think of the impact on the bigger environment too, for example rainwater tanks are ideal for watering your plants and lawn instead of using water from the tap. Water from the tap has been treated and processed (which uses fossil fuels) so that it’s safe to drink. A bit of a waste if it’s going to be put straight onto your garden.
If your garden is currently wasted and unused space, it’s time to do something about it- especially with the warmer weather on the way.
How do you use your garden space?