It’s that time of year again when we start to look forward to spending as many hours as possible out in the garden. If your outdoor space is lacking imagination or you’re desperate to create something that looks Instagram-worthy, you’ve come to the right place. With these simple tips, you can transform your backyard from drab to fab in no time.
Preparation is key
Before you start buying oversized lanterns or planters, you need to do some groundwork. If you haven’t tended to the garden in a while, it’s likely that you’ll need to get the lawnmower, hedge trimmers and strimmer out and tidy up the lawns and flower beds. You may also need to clear away any rubbish, sort out the shed, and jet wash the patio. On your travels, note down any jobs that need doing. Does the decking need staining or are there boards or planks missing? Have you got gates hanging off their hinges or garage doors that need painting? It’s best to get these basic maintenance jobs out of the way first. When you’ve made your way through the to-do list, you can start enjoying the fun stuff.
It’s exciting to be spontaneous, but with garden design and landscaping, it’s beneficial to have rough plans in place before you begin. Look for ideas and inspiration online and read some magazines. Create a mood board using images and cuttings you like and try and envision the end result. If you want to change the layout of the garden or you’re interested in adding a pool, an entertaining area or split levels, you should consult a landscape gardener. They can run through some ideas with you, and you can also get an idea of how much the project would cost.
Have a think about the colors you want to use and the style of your garden. You don’t have to opt for just one theme. If you want a modern seating area, for example, the rest of the garden doesn’t have to reflect the same contemporary style. You can create different zones within the yard to give you more versatility. There’s nothing to say you can’t have a dreamy retreat in the corner with a hammock, wildflowers and a vintage wooden gate as well as a chic covered patio adorned with modern furniture. Mix and match to suit your individual style and create a space that works for you.
Seating and entertaining
If you love to spend hours chilling out in the garden or you’re a fan of entertaining in the summer months, it’s essential to have a seating area. There are so many different types of furniture out there, and you can choose from sofa sets, tables and chairs or more casual set-ups like benches, egg chairs, and sunken seating. Add lanterns, fire pits, floor cushions, and bean bags to create a chilled-out vacation vibe or keep things smart and stylish with metal and glass side tables, potted trees and low-level lighting.
The location of your entertainment area will depend heavily on the size of the yard, and whether you want a covered space. If you’re keen to create something similar to a garden room, keep this zone close to the house. You could add a retractable roof or an awning and some patio heaters to enable you to use the space for longer. If you want an open area, you can create a new patio or lay down composite decking to take full advantage of a sun trap and give you more space away from the house. If you have a pool, you may wish to make a terrace, which is suitable for lounging and lazing around in the sun, as well as eating, drinking, and socializing. All you need is some sun loungers, a mini pool house, which could provide a covered space for the barbecue, and a bar if you’re serious about entertaining.
Lighting is important if you’re having people over or you like to party. It can set the tone and create ambiance. Use LED candles or glass lanterns for a sophisticated drinks party or hang fairy lights or industrial-style bulbs with exposed filaments.
Lawn maintenance and planting tips
If you have a garden with lawns and you want to add some color with flowers and shrubs, the world is your oyster. There are so many different types of plant out there, and a huge range of options when it comes to displaying them. You can go from a country cottage inspired wildflower meadow to a boutique hotel garden with shaped bushes and ornamental planters. Think about the level of work you want to put in, and choose plants accordingly. If you want a low maintenance yard, stick to planters and small beds. If you’re a green-fingered maestro, you can be a little more adventurous. If you have space to fill and you want to create more privacy, trees and hedges are a great idea. When you’re planting, always follow the instructions, so you know how deep to plant bulbs or seeds and how much space to leave between plants. Water your beds on a regular basis and wait for a dry day to mow the lawn. When you’re mowing, try not to scalp the grass, as this can prevent regrowth.