Long nights, drawing late into the evening, are one of summer’s many perks. It’d be a crying shame to not take full advantage of them, especially if you have a garden…
Whether it’s a small, but perfectly formed concrete plot or a hedge-lined affair, a neglected garden is a wasted opportunity. You needn’t be Alan Titchmarsh with oodles of time and money to whip it into shape. Pay attention. Here’s how to get yours ready for garden parties with friends, family barbecues, or an evening alone unwinding with vino in the sun.
Give Your Fence a Facelift
A lick of paint will protect your wooden fences from the elements, but don’t reach for any old colour. Dip your brush into pots of vivid purple or blue for a pleasing contrast with the plant life in your garden. Or go for a bright pink or red for a brighter in-your-face statement.
If that sounds too much, you can always go with understated natural tones, from Earthy hues of chocolatey brown to deep greens. Just step away from white, pastel and light shades, which will quickly get grubby.
Those aforementioned fences shouldn’t stay bare, and nor should your walls. Pop trellis up, and convince a mishmash of climbing plants, from ivy to Hydrangeas to grow up them and inject some much needed colour. If your back garden sits in shade for most of the day, opt for ferns, geraniums, or tiarellas.
Light up the Sky
Strings of solar fairy lights spun around a tree, solar lanterns or pathfinders twinkling on your turf, and ornamental tea-lights on your table will take your garden from day to night in spectacular fashion. You don’t need them on all the time, but they can make occasions that bit more special. Not only are they inexpensive, available in a host of colours and styles, but they’re often eco-friendly.
Take a Pew
From four seat furniture sets, strewn with cushions, to natural-looking oak benches, cozy wicker sofas and rattan chairs, comfortable alfresco dining is easy to master. Patio furniture such as dining-tables and chairs, must feel as good as they look, so try before you buy. Multi-functional ottoman furniture can help you to get more out of your back yard.
Fertilize the Grass
A basic chore that can make the world of difference. To maximise your efforts, if you have the time, do a little weeding, mowing or jet-wash your patio.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Any style, shape or size, as few or as many as you fancy. Hanging mirrors on your fence or garden walls can make your backyard feel bigger than it really is. It’s a neat trick for those of you with smaller spaces and can brighten the place up, by bouncing natural light.
Even small gardens can typically accommodate a young crab tree, maple or cherry tree, so don’t feel restricted by the space you have. Lots of little plants will make the space feel more enclosed.
That said, don’t fight nature. Take a look at what your neighbours are growing, and plant things suited to your soil type and sunlight. Summer is the perfect time for perennials, like yellow Jacob’s rod, Bear’s Breaches and flowering chives.
If you’re reluctant to plant directly into the ground, or even into terracotta pots make novel hanging baskets from whatever you can get your hands on, from tins, to glass lanterns, and colanders. It’s a matter of preference and style.