It’s normal to feel a little more pressure when spring arrives as there’s now not just the house to think about but also the garden. The days are longer, the sun’s out finally, and your excuses, just like that puddle, about why the garden’s looking untidy are drying up!
However, it’s ok to admit that even though you want to spruce things up you’re not quite sure where to start! What’s worse is that this time of year tends to be littered with ‘helpful’ gardening shows, books on making the most of a spring garden and a simple online search reveals there is now a thousand new techniques on how to plant a humble tulip.
Let’s take a step back, shall we? It’s fine if you’re not quite ready to go full Charlie Dimmock or Alan Titchmarsh on the rose bushes, most of us barely do any gardening over the winter months so finding ourselves dead heading dandelions all of a sudden can come as a bit of a shock.
Why not ease yourself in with a hassle-free DIY gardening project? The real beauty of these ideas is that they can all be accomplished in just two days, meaning they’re perfect for over spring break or a bank holiday weekend as well as letting you dip your green fingers into the backyard without feeling overwhelmed.
Create Paths And Patios
While not strictly gardening, laying paths or flagstones is a wonderful way to mix things up in the backyard and you could even create a spiral or winding path to a hidden bench or water fountain. Paths are relatively easy, but you’ll need to spend time thinking about the design, where you’d like the path to go and if you’re using gravel instead of slabs are you planning on edging it? Begin by removing old turf, and making sure the soil underneath is stable and in good condition, lay a thin layer of gravel, followed by one of sand and make sure these are firmly tamped into the ground before laying the pavement slab over the top.
These paths create unusual patterns amid your lawn, or gravel bed and are very functional so you can get to any flower beds or vegetable patches without having to trample over fresh grass. It’s a pretty easy project that’s good for beginners, although if you do have some experience with landscaping and garden design why not show off a little? Create hexagonal, maze and diamond shapes or create a monochrome zen garden inside circular paths.
Raise It Up
During the spring and summer, you’ll be very thankful if you take the time to raise up your flower beds. Firstly, you’re less likely to get a crick in your neck or pain in your back from bending over all the time. Secondly, it’s easier to plant daffodils if you can see what you’re doing without having to get up and stretch all the time or sit on an old, lumpy garden cushion. Luckily, plenty of garden centres have kits available, where all you need to do is join wooden slabs together, creating lovely boxes that are ready to be filled.
There’s no need to keep it simple either. More experienced or ambitious gardeners might like to design their own from kiln dried logs, arranging them in a rustic border or sanding them down to create a modern, minimalist box. You could also use logs or planks to improve the kerb, or driveway edging out the front. Buy some new hanging baskets for above the door, plant brightly colored flowers and don’t forget to DIY yourself some new trellises for broad beans, peas and sweetcorn as well as climbing frames for honeysuckle and jasmine vines.
Include Garden Features
Don’t forget to make your garden that little bit extra special by installing a sculpture, or matching set of statues, using uplighting to illuminate the rockery and flower beds at night time as well as transforming your entire fence into a vertical garden! These are unusual places to put veggies, fruit and climbing flowers like wisteria as well saving space on the ground for potatoes, carrots and cauliflowers.
Try to avoid buying freestanding trellises as a fully laden vertical garden can be quite heavy, it’s all too easy for a strong wind to blow an improperly secured fence over and then all the beautiful fruit like plums, pears and strawberries would be ruined. Spring’s also a brilliant time to think about water features, be they ponds, fountains or cascading rock waterfalls. They’re gorgeous focal points and are sure to catch any visitor’s eye, but make sure you take into account the size of the garden before installing one.
Why? Small gardens suit bubble fountains, or those that sit just above the ground while a large, sprawling garden might be crying out for an artificial stream, waterfall or water lily strewn pond. Many of us tend to think ponds are hard work, however once you’ve set it up the pond tends to look after itself if you’ve used the right materials.
Build A Greenhouse
Believe it or not, it is possible to put up a proper greenhouse from scratch as modern technology, and advanced materials have made them lighter, less complicated and easier to transport than ever. You may have to skip breakfast on Saturday, but you’ll have a finished shiny, new greenhouse come late Sunday evening. Day one consists of preparing the site, laying flooring and making sure it’s going to catch the most of the light. Day two is dedicated to the frame and panels, whether it’s traditional glass, smooth plastic or plexiglass. If you don’t want to buy one ready made you could also make your own.
Of course this will take a bit more time but you’ll be free to construct your own building using reclaimed materials. Some of the prettiest, unique greenhouses use stain glass windows, old front doors and repurposed skylights. Don’t forget the inside too, hang up pretty sheets, grab a small heater for in winter, pop a few chairs or an old sofa in there and twine white fairy lights through the steel beams to truly make it your own.
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