It’s been a long time now that we’ve been confined to our houses due to the pandemic. We’ve been staring at the same four walls for months and I’m sure many people are ready for an interior change. The same can be said for our gardens. We’ve been blessed with a few heatwaves this year, and if your garden wasn’t looking its best before, you’ll certainly be motivated to whip it into shape now for the remainder of summer!
With days and nights in the house set to be the norm for the foreseeable future, your garden should be a place you can relax, enjoy and now host a few guests (at a safe distance, of course!). Planting a few new plants can make a difference but sometimes it’s just not enough. Sometimes you have to look to the bones of the garden to make the right changes – also known as landscape gardening.
Where to start?
It can be hard to picture how your space needs to change. Pinterest is a great place for inspiration, but make sure you’re looking at spaces a similar size and shape to yours. For instance, rather than searching for ‘landscape gardening inspiration’, keep it specific and search ‘landscape gardening inspiration for small gardens’.
It’s also a good idea to make a note of how much sun your garden gets and which areas get the most sun. If you like the idea of a paved or decked living area for some garden furniture, you might want to target the sunniest spots.
Drawing up or making a digital version of your garden with measurements is also important. This way, you can work out what would fit best where, where the empty spaces will be and if you are planning on paving an area or turfing an area, it’s a starting point when working out how much materials you’ll need.
Speaking of materials…
Depending on the plans you have in mind for your garden, you’ll need to buy in the right materials – or get the professionals in to do it for you. If you are creating a living area in your garden, you might need timber and decking, paving stones and concrete, mortar and render. When it comes to laying the foundations of a paving area, it’s best to enlist the help of a professional concrete supplier because it needs to be laid correctly and be of good quality.
You might also need bricks, damp proof membrane and landscaping fabric for any gravelled or turfed areas and any exterior paints and finishes for painting/staining fences, decking and planters. And don’t forget about waste removal when undergoing your landscaping project – you might want to look into skip hire or if you’re using a contractor to carry out the work, check if this is something that they will deal with.
Ideas and inspiration
As I’ve mentioned a few times, a living area in your garden is so important. It bridges the gap between indoor and outdoor living. You will thank yourself every day for creating a comfortable spot outside for you to drink your morning coffee, eat your dinner or read a book in the evenings. Whether this is a dining set fit for the whole family, a soft sofa to recline on, or a cosy egg chair for one – find what works for your space and your lifestyle.
Could you dedicate a corner of the garden to the kids, if you haven’t already? With the parks out of bounds, bring the park to your home with a swing set or climbing frame. You can make the space as safe as possible by putting some soft, spongy grass down or woodchip. It’s a great place to set up a paddling pool or a sandpit too. Having a dedicated space for it means the rest of your garden is free to be clear and tidy.
There’s nothing more relaxing than a tinkering water feature. In fact, water features can actually have positive effects on your health as they are known to reduce blood pressure and stress levels to improve your physical and mental health – something we could all do with a bit of at the moment. It gives your space a sense of calm and tranquillity, whilst inviting wildlife into your garden. They’re particularly suitable for gardens near busy roads, as the right style of water feature (something with a bit more power such as a water blade) will help to mask any traffic noise. Plus, it’s probably a lot easier than you think to have a water feature installed. You can power them through your mains, solar power and by a battery.
Gardens more than ever have become a focal point in the home – plus a well-designed garden will add a lot of value to your home if and when you decide to sell it on. It’s certainly something worth investing in and now is the time to give it a makeover and fall in love with it.