The new year seemed to arrive quicker than usual this time around and before we know it, we will have to start thinking about spring planting for the garden, and how to get the most from our outdoor spaces in the summer.
People tend to put a lot of hard work into the interior spaces of their homes, with millions of pounds a year spent on home improvement and decoration, but not enough people go the extra step and take their design ideas outside, into their gardens.
Fortunately, we’ve put together this list of our ten top tips for making your garden a more stylish and contemporary place to be, so you can make sure your garden is up to date this summer!
Do Some ‘Up-Cycling’ in Your Garden – Give it a Rustic Look
If you are a keen gardener, then you will already know the importance of turning waste materials into something useful from composting.
The same principles can be applied to decorating and styling your garden by re-using and re-purposing items that may find their way to a rubbish tip without your intervention. Old paint tins for plant pots, wooden barrels for raised planters, anything and everything can be given a new lease on life in the garden. A collection of interesting old items can even be used to give you garden a theme.
A Garden is More Than Just Plants and Grass – Focus on Layout and Design
Good gardeners will often start planning for the next growing season well in advance, and will spend a lot of time researching plants and vegetables to make sure their garden blooms in the summer. Many forget to plan the layout and design of their garden too, though.
Make sure you plan your aesthetics as much as you do your planting. The visual appeal and beauty of your garden relies on your planning, design choices, and creativity. Think about the colours your plants will show when they bloom, and how they will complement one another in the height of the summer.
Add a New Dimension to Your Garden – Use Raised and Suspended Planters for Height
If you want to give your garden a new dimension, or maybe add extra plants to an already crowded space, then consider using raised planters or suspended planters.
Suspending plants from trees or walls can add a lot of colour and creates a much more interesting view than having all your plants level on the ground. You can save yourself some money by combining this with your ‘up-cycling’ efforts, and use reclaimed paint tins and spare ropes or chain to add these to the trees and walls of your garden.
Hide Unsightly Walls or Brickwork Behind Crawling Ivy or Vines
Many gardens can have a beautiful lawn and bordering plants, but be let down by an ugly wall or the brickwork of an old garage or outbuilding. You can use fast growing ivy plants or vines to cover up these spots, and add colour to your garden.
Russian Ivy, or Russian Vine, is a popular choice for this task. It is a hard-wearing plant, as it comes from Russia, and it thrives in just about any condition; continuing to grow in the winter. Some gardeners joke that this ivy is ‘Rushing’ rather Russian, as this is a very fast-growing plant that can cover a lot of space very quickly.
Give Your Garden Some Shelter and Shade with an Awning or Veranda
Garden awnings have become a very popular addition to homes and gardens up and down the country. These can give you shelter in a sudden downpour, shade if the sun gets too intense, and provide some cover for some al-fresco dining. At Nationwide awnings there is a wide selection of garden awnings, glass verandas and patio coverings that can suit any space, and in a variety of styles that will help give your garden that special something.
Illuminate Your Garden with Some Stylish Lighting
Summer evenings in the garden can become magical with the right lighting. Using candles in storm lamps or even old jam jars can give your garden a beautiful look on a late summer’s eve.
There are wonderful and inexpensive solar powered LED light for gardens that store solar energy through the day to light your garden at night, but you also have another ‘up-cycling’ opportunity. You can use old paint cans (again) as lamps by punching holes in them and lighting them from inside with a candle.
The Right Garden Furniture Can Be a Masterstroke of Style in the Garden
A sure-fire way to add some style and design touches to your garden is to add some quirky furniture. Don’t settle for the white plastic chairs that you see in every garden; choose a more stylish option or breathe new life into something tired and worn.
You can repair and re-paint old kitchen chairs; these look great placed in an unexpected spot in a garden. Place a raised planter next to it for some colour and somewhere to rest an arm or a cup of tea. Old tables are also a good addition; you can recover these with a material you are already using in the garden, like bamboo, to tie them in with the rest of your garden’s style.
Put a Tea Party in Your Garden for the Flowers – No, Really!
If you are looking for a conversation piece for your garden, and something quirky and artistic to take up an awkward space in your garden, then consider a ‘garden tea party’.
By revamping an old table and broken tea set (up-cycling again!) you can set up a tea party for the flowers. Plant small, but colourfully blooming plants in the teapot and cups with saucers, and arrange them on the table. For bonus points, try and make a plant grow through the spout of the teapot!
Style Your Pathways in Interesting Ways – Use Rocks or Recovered Bricks
Paving or recovering paths in your garden can be expensive, and will often leave you with a bland and uninteresting surface that doesn’t come with a lot of style.
You can easily and inexpensively restyle your existing paths, or make new ones, using reclaimed bricks or rocks. You can lay a brickwork path if you have enough bricks – why not paint your little brick road yellow? If you decide to use rocks, make sure you have settled them well into the ground so they are steady under your feet.
Turn a Wall into an Art Gallery by Painting a Mural
A beautiful garden can be let down by a bland, flat wall bordering all its colour and texture. Why not get the paints out and try and give yourself a new view by painting a mural?
If you don’t have enough artistic talent or confidence to approach it yourself, why not ask an artsy friend if they would like a new project? Or if you are feeling especially brave, let the kids do it!
Our gardens are an important part of our home that unfortunately often gets neglected. Even if you do take good care of your garden and put some hard work into it, you can still be left with a bland space with a well-manicured lawn but little else.
Hopefully this list of tips has given you some of the information and inspiration you need to take your garden to the next level and really make it stand out from the crowd!