Who doesn’t want a garden that looks beautiful all year round? Our gardens are an extension of our homes – a place that we can retire to when we crave relaxation, and a space that’s adaptable to meet the needs of our busy families. It’s little wonder, then, that so many of us are keen to find the solution for a stunning, year-round oasis. This feat is certainly achievable, but you may need to do a little research and forward planning before getting started.
Plan to plant for success
If you’re to keep your garden looking beautiful all year round, you’ll need to plan for success. Think carefully about the seasons, and the way that sunlight moves around your garden. What does the space look like at different times of the year, and how do its uses alter as the weather changes? What kind of soil, or patches of soil, do you have? What sort of plantlife and wildlife will your garden support at particular times of the year? If you’re to succeed in your aims, research is vital, as is drawing up a proper plan of action.
Keep on top of jobs
One of the simplest things you can do in order to enjoy a beautiful, year-round garden is to stay on top of those niggling jobs. Be mindful of rubbish that may be blown in by the wind, and routinely put fallen leaves into your compost bin so that you end up with nourishing, peat-free compost. You should also research deadheading and pruning your trees, shrubs, hedges and blooms to encourage healthy regrowth and long-lasting colour. However, avoid those times of the year when birds, insects, mammals and amphibians may well be nesting. Weeds can be removed quickly and painlessly, and without need for chemicals. However, consider the importance of leaving food for bees before stripping too much away.
Cater for all of the seasons
It’s very tempting to blindly sow seeds, plants and shrubs to increase the amount of colour in your garden, but not all blooms will survive all seasons. You may risk being left with a gloomy garden for two-thirds of the year if you don’t do a little research first. Lavender, daphne, box shrubs, camellia and mahonia are all wonderful evergreen shrubs that should keep your garden ticking over nicely when everything else has begun to die back. For the plants mentioned below, always check planting guidelines for the best results.
After you’ve cleared winter debris, it’s time to look forward to colour. Snowdrops, crocuses, alliums and daffodils tend to come back year after year, providing a low-maintenance burst of colour for your spring garden. These hardy bulbs will grow where they’re scattered, and take little to no maintenance after your initial effort. Tulip bulbs can be reused once they’ve flowered for the year too.
Remember to water your plants, using rainwater collected in a water butt or large barrel. Mulch or homemade compost will help to protect your soil, keeping plants and their roots cool, calm and collected as temperatures rise. Asters, verbena, anemones and echinacea flower throughout the summer, while honeysuckle and buddleia will keep the bees and butterflies busy.
Autumn is arguably the most colourful season. A blanket of red, orange, yellow and chocolate brown will coat your garden as spring and summer blooms begin to retreat. However, if you’d like to give your garden a helping hand, choose the autumn crocus, cotoneaster, nerine, crab apple or winter daffodil. Your summer aster should have some life left in it too.
Winter is an excellent time to plant trees, particularly between November and March. Saplings will begin to brighten your garden from the moment they’re introduced, and will eventually add structure to shield the rest of your space from the wind. Christmas box and wintersweet are dazzling flowering shrubs for this time of year.
Introduce a tree, or two
Trees can be a welcome addition to a garden, bringing shade, colour, texture and all manner of wildlife, as well as the possibility of fruits, blossom, and music as the wind whips through the branches. There are all kinds of trees that you could choose, suitable for different sizes of garden. Evergreens, such as cedar, holly and laurel, keep their beautiful green leaves all year. If you’re going to add a tree, it’s important to introduce yourself to a specialist. There are some really knowledgeable and reliable tree surgeons in London, who will help you to ensure that your trees remain in the very best condition. Your garden is well on its way to being beautiful all year round.
Encourage the local wildlife
What could be more beautiful than a garden that’s kept the way nature intended? Sometimes, the best results come with the least amount of effort, so consider leaving a patch of your garden to wildlife. Longer grass, native wildflowers, log piles and leaves will provide ample food and shelter for all kinds of creatures, while the introduction of a bee house or bug hotel will ensure that there’s always someone making use of the space. A pond, however big or small, can be beautiful all year round, and will help birds, animals, insects and amphibians to thrive. We’re often so intent on capturing beauty that we fail to see it before our eyes. A wild garden can be stunning all year round, and will encourage your little ones to take an active interest in the environment and world around them.
Pick the perfect patio accessories
Once you’ve picked the plants and catered for wildlife, you’ll need to think about the finishing touches. Consider the furniture that will look best. Will it be shabby chic wicker, or something in charcoal or monochrome? Do you plan on hosting large gatherings in your garden, or keeping things intimate? Depending upon the size of your garden, you could add a gazebo, patio heater or fire pit. Fairy lights, chunky candles and lanterns will illuminate your garden as the sun goes down.
Your garden is a playground, wildlife haven and calming refuge away from everyday life, as well as being a pantry and the perfect place to entertain guests. It’s a sensory oasis of your very own – your inspiration, and the one place where your imagination can really run riot. However you achieve your goal, remember that your garden is your space, and only you can define its beauty. We hope you have a lot of fun achieving the garden of your dreams.