As winter rolls around and the nights draw in the time spent outdoors greatly decreases and instead more and more time is spent within the confines of your fours walls. That doesn’t have to be the case, however. If you have an outdoor space then there is nothing stopping you from enjoying it all year round. Here are some ways in which you can make the most out of your garden month after month.
Make it comfortable
Comfort is king. If you want to sit and enjoy a space wherever that space may be you want it to be comfortable. Fortunately, the days of white plastic garden furniture are long gone and outdoor seating has been replaced with rattan, cushions and loungers. On a hot summers day sit back and relax on your sun lounger and in the winter bring out the thick blankets and snuggle up on your large comfortable rattan furniture.
Add a shelter
Shelters are a great addition to any garden for every season. They provide shade in the summer, warmth in the winter and somewhere to hide from the rain in between. You could opt for a pergola covered with a natural shelter of foliage and flowers or an awning or outhouse. Shelters come in many shapes and sizes and for all budgets, whether you choose temporary fold up gazebos or oak frame kits to create the look and feel you want; investing in a shelter is one of the best ways to ensure you can use your garden all year round.
Light it up
It’s well known that with the winter comes darker nights and if you want to enjoy your garden on a winters evening then chances are you will be sitting in the dark. The right garden lighting can transform the environment and experience so ensuring there is ample and adequate lighting all year round is a must. Just because you are outside doesn’t mean you need bright and harsh lights, instead, keep it soft and serene with warm low lighting to subtly illuminate the outdoor space.
Think about the season, and accessorise accordingly
Enjoying your garden all year round brings with it a number of seasonal considerations you will need to make. In the summer you may want to ensure you have mosquito-repelling candles or burners, together with ample amounts of suncream and potentially anti-histamine. In the darker and colder winter months then outdoor heaters and blankets are a must.
Make it social
As with anything getting more people involved and creating a social event is a great way to enjoy a space, whatever the weather. Use your garden as an extra room to socialise in, have a fire pit party and toast smores and enjoy sparklers with the family. Hang fairy lights from your pergola, fire up the pizza oven and invite guests around for an outdoor pizza feast. If you have decent seating, appropriate shelter and good lighting you can enjoy a social event in your garden all year round.
Gardens are fast becoming the heart of the home as we are being told to take our socialising outdoors but when you are a family compromised of adults and children, creating the perfect space for everyone is no mean feat. That’s not to say it’s impossible. Gardens up and down the country have been undergoing makeovers and transformations as we seek to spend more time in our back garden than ever before. Here are a few simple ways you can make your garden more family-friendly.
Bring inside outside
Whilst the summer sun can be glorious, it can also be dangerous, especially for young skin. Having space in a garden where young and old can take some time to cool down and get out of the summer sun without going inside is key for making any garden family-friendly. Investing in a veranda gives your garden an extra space that can be fully protected from the suns rays but still giving you that fresh air. Whether you use it for an outdoor seating area, dining area or even play area, verandas are available with customisable sunshading allowing you to choose as and when you want to keep the sun out.
Factoring in children’s play equipment is unavoidable when creating the ultimate family-friendly garden, but you can enhance the aesthetics. Opting to have the trampoline at ground level, is an excellent way of avoiding the eyesore that above-ground trampolines can be. Oh and you won’t have to keep moving it around the garden to protect the grass.
Another great idea is to introduce zoning for this play equipment. Instead of having swings, slides and football nets all over the garden, where you can, fence off a zone or section of the garden dedicated to the children’s play equipment. Think of it as an outdoor playroom that will not only give them a sense of ownership and personal space but help keep clutter down and the garden tidy.
Maintaining or improving a garden can be laborious but the results are aesthetic and practical. Keeping the grass short will make it softer for small knees to fall on. Long grass can be itchy and uncomfortable, especially for hayfever or allergy sufferers. Well kept grass also makes a garden look fresher and more inviting. Keeping hedges trimmed, especially those with thorns and prickles, will help keep little arms from scratches. Pulling weeds will prevent tiny feet from standing on uncomfortable spikes, and hanging trees need to be cut back. Don’t forget all of these jobs require tools, often dangerous ones at that so be sure to keep them locked away safely to ensure your garden remains family-friendly.
If maintenance isn’t really your thing, consider laying some turf. It is low maintenance and hard wearing. It is also perfect for outdoor use year round as it won’t get muddy in heavy rainfall. Ideal for playing ball sports out in the garden after a night of heavy rain.
Seating for all
Finally don’t forget outdoor seating comes in all shapes and sizes. Adding outdoor seating for the whole family, whether it be beanbags, loungers or mini camping chairs is a great low-cost way to include every member of the family.
Preparing our garden for summer – Top tips
Preparing our garden for summer can be enjoyable for some but for others it can seem quite a chore. With spring fastly approaching now is the time to start planning and getting our garden ready for the summer. For the past few months we have looked out at our garden and seen cold, wet, frosty wintry days so now it is time to turn our garden into somewhere we can sit and enjoy a lovely summers day.
Of course, in order to do so means lots of prep work following the winter months.
Here are our top ten ways to get our garden summer ready:
- Repair work. Winter storms may have damaged/weakened fences so checks are done to see if we think they will last or need changing. Our shed is also checked.
- Clearing out the guttering, a horrid job but it needs doing. Clearing out all leaves and moss. Whilst there we also do a check on the guttering and drain pipes, checking for any damage – this is done to prevent water damage caused by broken/blocked pipes.
- Checks are then done on garden tools to make sure they are in good enough condition to last another summer. Some may just need a little TLC.
- A rubbish clearance in then done of the garden, clearing up any leaves, litter and unwanted items from the garden.
- A quick check on our pot plants/baskets to see if they survived the winter. Some may need emptying and preparing for new plants.
- One thing we recently done was install a water-butt. Much better for watering our plants. Helps the environment and saves £s on the water bill.
- The big wash then takes place of all garden furniture, ornaments, patio and even the BBQ.
- Checks are done on lighting. In the summer months we sit outside until late into the evening so lighting is a must have. Especially mood lighting.
- Garden furniture is then checked and placed in position – although since last summer we have had a garden makeover so this year will be easier once we have purchased a new set.
- Once dry enough to do so – mow the lawn and treat/paint the fences.
Once all this is done and the warmer weather is in here we then start making up hanging baskets, planting and looking forward to some homegrown fruit and veg!
Here are some of last years fruit and vegetables.
Last year saw us doing some upcycling and turning unwanted goods into something useful in the garden.
(click on the photo to see the full post on how we made them)
An old wooden crate into a herb garden.
Old camping saucepans into bird feeder
Do you enjoy spending time in the garden?
Leaf It alone! how to keep unwanted pests out of your garden
For many people, their garden is their pride and joy. It’s just as much of a part of their home as any room and is an opportunity to express their personality and creativity. It’s also a great outlet for a lot of people to spend a little time on themselves without having to worry about all of the stress and pressures of daily life. Not only that but there are few things more enjoyable than looking out with pride at a garden that you worked hard to make beautiful. Of course, there is one thing that can take all of that enjoyment and satisfaction and ruin it in an instant: pests! Unwanted pests in your garden can make life a lot more difficult than it needs to be and do a lot of damage to your garden. Because of this, here are some of the things that you can do when pests appear in your garden.
There are two basic types of prevention when it comes to keeping pests away from your plants: natural methods and chemical methods. When it comes to natural methods, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish between old wives tales and the stuff that actually works. You might have heard the classic technique from your parents about egg shells and snails, but you might be surprised to learn that it actually does work! Scattering broken egg shells around your plants is a pretty effective way to keeping slugs and snails away from them. Of course, this isn’t really going to work for your entire garden unless you happen to have access to hundreds of eggs! Of course, you can also find plenty of different brands of slug and snail repellent on the market if you’re more interested in being able to cover your entire garden more easily. Just be careful to choose carefully since you don’t want it having an impact on your plants.
Sometimes you end up with pests on your plants, even with all of the preventative methods in the world. Of course, pesticides are the traditional method of choice, but they can be both expensive and a little dangerous. Fortunately, there are also plenty of natural ways to deal with pests in your garden. For one thing, you can introduce predators into your garden. If your plants are covered in greenfly then introducing ladybirds can deal with that problem surprisingly quickly. There are also the classic techniques of salt to deal with slugs as well as simply picking them up and getting rid of them by hand!
The methods that you choose to use when dealing with pests are going to depend on your garden as well as your personal feelings on the matter. Whatever you choose, make sure that you take care to protect your plants not only from pests but from your solutions as well. The last thing that you want is to spend a lot of time dealing with pests in your garden only to end up killing your beloved plants in the process.
Top tips to save money and still have a great garden
Gardening is fast becoming a popular hobby for many people, and there is no shortage of reasons why. You get to spend time outside in the fresh air, which is incredibly good for you, and being outside can give you a sense of freedom. Plus it’s great for the whole family. However, some people can be put off from spending time in the garden thinking it can be an expensive hobby to maintain. Think constant flower buying and expensive BBQ’s. But there are many ways you can save money with your garden, and I wanted to share some of the top tips to help you do that.
Shop smart when it comes to the big investments
There are costly items when it comes to your garden. Furniture and a BBQ are some of the bigger purchases that spring to mind. However, if you shop smart, you can buy these items fairly frugally. You could consider shopping online in a garden furniture sale or perhaps hunting out discount and voucher codes for some of the leading shops. Offering discounts periodically, helping to bring the cost down on some of the more pricey items. There are plenty of ways you can get fantastic items cheaper. You just need to hunt out those bargains and have the patience to wait for the right time to buy.
Spend your time not your money
When it comes to your garden it’s more worthy of investing your time than your hard earned cash, this is because your garden needs your attention. From mowing the lawn and treating the grass to ensuring that you rid your flower beds of pesky weeds that can crop up. Spending your time can really make a huge difference.
Really consider how you want to use your garden
Knowing exactly what you want from your garden can save you a lot of time and effort. Do you want to entertain in your garden? Spend time with your family or friends? Enjoy food or just have a place to relax? All of these things can be taken into account before any money is spent.
Grow your own vegetables
Why not consider using your garden, to save you money in other areas of your life? For example, your food shopping bill. Growing your own vegetables and fruit is fast becoming a trend many people are embracing, and it could shave off a few pounds on your grocery bill. There are plenty of tutorials online with a step by step guide on how to get started. It could be something you really enjoy doing.
Look after your garden tools
Finally, garden tools like a lawn mower or some of your manual tools can be quite expensive. But if you regularly keep them clean and maintain them then they should last you a long time. Saving you more investment in the future. Simple things like cleaning them after use and keeping them dry can make all the difference.
I hope these top tips help you save money while still getting a great garden you can enjoy.