The time when the frosts are over and the rain has stopped falling is fast approaching and our thoughts turn once again to our gardens. They will have been pretty much neglected over the last few months and will be in need of some serious sprucing up. Apart from the general clean up, trimming and clipping, you may be considering a brand new look in the garden this year and the end of winter is the perfect time to do it.
It doesn't have to cost a fortune, just a bit of hard work and the willingness to try a few new things.
- Consider laying a new lawn in a curve rather than sticking to the usual rectangle. Simply cut around the borders creating interesting curves and spaces for plants. Put down some new turf and already everything will be looking better.
- The parts of the garden where grass doesn't grow very well could benefit from either some decking, gravel or a water feature. There is nothing more disheartening then putting down some new grass for it to die off very quickly. This is usually due to a lack of sun, or inadequate drainage. Sometimes it is better to create a seating area in the dappled shade for those long hot summer days rather than battle with the lawn.
- Perk up your fence with some fence stain or paint. Choose a colour you may not have previously thought of. Greens and blues work well in most gardens and can give a Mediterranean look. Paint sheds in the same way and clean the shed windows.
- Fill in those newly created borders with lots of colourful flowering plants and some interesting larger specimens for a bit of drama. If you can't afford to buy lots of plants, then put in some which will multiply over the months and years to come.
- Dedicate part of your garden to a small vegetable patch. Not only will it make you feel virtuous but vegetables are fast growing, easy to look after and the colour of the tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins will look great.
- Take a look at the parts of your garden where things are getting a bit thin on the ground. Gravel always needs topping up at least once every few years – where all those stones go is anyone's guess! Paving slabs might need cleaning or re-positioning. Use reclaimed bricks to make pathways, this is cheap and easy to do and will prevent the grass being worn away.
- Buy some glazed pots for flowers, herbs and even vegetables. These can be used year after year and the content replaced as often as you like. Plus you can move them whenever you want and even take them with you if you move house. Ditto hanging baskets.
- Finally add in some water. Watching water is known to be very relaxing and it can be a haven for small animals and birds on the look out for refreshing drink in the summer. A small pond or water feature placed in the corner of a garden can add something special and a wonderful surprise when exploring.
So, without spending very much money at all, a dreary wintry garden can become a place you'll be looking forward to sitting all summer long. Just keep your fingers crossed for good weather.