Transform Your Small Garden with These Great Ideas

Small garden.

You have a small garden, but you have some big dreams. We have news for you – you don’t have to up sticks and move to a bigger place. Instead, just take a look at our ideas below. We have put together some great ideas as to how you can transform you small, average garden into a truly amazing space. Read on for some serious inspiration!

Paper Lanterns for a Party

Honestly though, paper lanterns are the new craze. They are really hot at the minute, so it’s time you jumped on board! Sure, they are great indoors, but they’re so much cooler when you take them out into the great outdoors (aka your garden).

Take them out, hang them up in clusters over your dining or seating area or your patio, and hey presto – instant party time. Just uh… make sure it’s not going to rain.

Take Minimalism to the Max

Minimalism seems like it will always be popular, which is particularly good for us, as it’s one of the easiest things to do and get right and looking good! The main thing you need to do is to make sure everything looks clean and simple, with plenty of sharp angles. Two colours max – keep it looking simple.

Once that’s all sorted, it’s time to accessorise. Grab a couple of nice statues or centrepieces and put them in the right places… then you’re done! It’s an amazing look, and it’s totally scalable.

Trellis Island

If you have a small patio area and you’re really not sure how to work it, here’s something great you can do, and it doesn’t take a huge amount of effort – bonus!

In the centre, place an elegant bird bath or plinth, stone is good, and find a nice seat to nestle in at the back. Dot a few potted plants around the area to add some pretty little touches of interest, and top it all off with a beautiful trellis, just next to the seat. It will look beautiful.

Top Deck

If you want your little space to look real smart and sophisticated, there is nothing simpler than to put down a bit of wooden decking, surrounded by a nice little rock garden.

Get some nice steel furniture in the middle of the decking – somewhere you could imagine have breakfast on a summer’s day – and surround your little dining area with some pretty box hedges. Now look at that: you’ve got yourself a winner.

Put Your Walls Up

Got a brick wall out there in the garden? Good for you! Now let’s spruce it up a bit and make it a real talking piece.

The easiest way of making it look really fabulous is simply covering it in wisteria. It’s a quick growing vine, so it won’t take long until you have an amazing looking wall that will act as the centrepiece of your garden, really tying it all together.

Quick and Easy Gardening Tips for Green Thumbs

garden toolsGardening is a very pleasant and rewarding activity, one that really does give out more, the more you put into it. Yes, it can be hard work – backbreaking at times, especially if you are just starting out from scratch – but all that spent effort will not be wasted: you will have a beautiful garden which you can be proud of at the end of it.

And although the work is never going to be particularly easy, there are some things you can do in order to lighten the load somewhat. Here are some of our favourite quick tips; have a quick read through and learn how to make your life that little bit easier.

Green Thumbs, Clean Fingers

One of the most commonly hated issues about gardening is the way that you will end up with a load of dirt and mud stuck under your fingernails. If you don’t want it to accumulate like that, then we have a very simply solution for you.

All you need to do is to rake your fingernails across a damp bar of soap. This will cause a build-up of soap underneath your nails, essentially sealing them against the dirt. Then, once you have finished your gardening for the day, just use a nailbrush to clean it out again. Hey presto – beautifully clean nails!

Stop the Strimmer Stalling

We’ve all encountered this annoying problem, and it can be a real pain in the nick to sort it out at times. There is a really easy way to prevent this annoyance from ever occurring: you simply make sure to treat the line with a few sprays of vegetable oil before you pop it into the strimmer. Nice and easy!

Measure for Measure

Sometimes, you really need a measuring tool to hand. Frustratingly, this always seems to be at the most awkward of times – such as when you are trying to plant flowers and you need your hands free for your spade.

Here’s our expert trick for this situation: you turn your garden tools into ersatz measurers! The next time you have a few minutes to spare, grab a few of your tools and lay them on the ground. Then you can use a measuring tape and a permanent marker to turn the handle into a measuring tool. So simple!

Keep Your Markers Natural

Instead of sticking bits of plastic into the soil to help you tell which shoot is which, why not try this lovely, all-natural alternative: write the names of each plant on a flat face of a stone, before placing them in front of the relevant plant. Not only is it great for the environment, but it looks nice to boot!

Car-Dry Your Herbs

Okay, so we just invented that term. But it’s a good one, no? The quickest and easiest way to dry your herbs is to grab a sheet of newspaper and pop it on the back seat of your car, lay the herbs on top with no overlaps, then shut the doors and leave it for a while. Bonus: fantastic-smelling car.

Summer Gardening Tips

English garden in summer

We all want to make the most of the Great British weather in the summer months and make sure our garden looks in tip-top condition for when we’re enjoying a glass of wine in the yard after work, dining alfresco or hosting a BBQ. From mowing the lawn to getting rid of pests, we’ve rounded up the best summer gardening tips to make sure your garden is always ready to impress.

Know when to water

We all know that watering our lawn and plants regularly is important when the weather heats up, but how often should you be giving your greenery a drink? Generally you should be watering the entire garden once or twice a week whilst hanging baskets can require watering up to two times a day. Hedges can be watered with a trickle hose and larger shrubs and trees should be left with a hosepipe at the base for around an hour.

Make sure you’re prepared for unexpected weather – it is Britain after all – and keep plants susceptible to frost covered up if a cold night is forecast.

Watch out for pests

You won’t be the only one enjoying your garden this summer – pests such as aphids and caterpillars will be out in force and can transmit viruses. Catch them early on and they can be dealt with by hand.

Birds need water too

We all look out for birds in the winter, but hot and dry weather can also make the ground hard meaning birds struggle to find food. Leaving some seeds out for them not only supplements their diet through the summer but helps them build up a reserve for the winter too. The dry summer months also make it more difficult for birds to access water, so also consider investing in a bird bath so they can have a drink and splash around.

Remove dead flowers

Getting rid of the flowers that are past their best not only improves the aesthetic of your garden, it supports new growth too. Without the wilted flowers the plant can then concentrate on the fresh flower instead. It also discourages pests and fungi – wilted flowers are a breeding ground for them! You’ll also find that certain summer shrubs such as larkspur can re-flower in the autumn if they are cut back once the summer flowering is over.

Plant winter seeds

By the time August rolls around the gardening season will be almost over, so don’t forget to plant seeds for your winter vegetables. In your vacant patches try sowing seeds for vegetables like lettuce, spinach, winter onions and radishes.

Cut your hedges

To maintain strong and healthy hedges that grow densely and evenly it’s important to cut them several times a year. Though this should be avoided during the bird mating season between March and July, after this time has passed you can start to cut them again.

Clean up the decking

During the rainy winter months, leaves and squashed berries can not only leave your patio and decking looking grubby, but they can be pose a slippery threat. It’s easy to clean them up – simply blast away the dirt and stains with a pressure washer – no chemicals required!

How To Get Your Children Helping In The Garden

Two cute little children planting flwores in front or back yard, woman gardening in the backgroung

Cultivating an interest in gardening from a young age is a wonderful way to promote a healthier lifestyle for your children. It also gives them the knowledge and skills for later in life, so they can tend their own garden effectively. Furthermore, it’s an excuse for outdoor play, exercise, and fresh air. Let’s take a look at how you can get your kids helping out in the garden.

Inspire Them With Stories

A great way to get kids interested in most things is to read them a story about that subject, or show them a cool film that will appeal to their tastes. Once you’ve sparked their interest in gardening, it’s easy to encourage them to come help you. The Secret Garden is a lovely film that just might help them get their green fingers, about a girl who moves to the Northern British wilderness, after spending her childhood in India. That’s just one example out of many!

Get Them Their Own Equipment

Whether for their birthday, Christmas, or just as a random surprise, buying them their own gardening equipment (mini versions, of course) will mean that they can do more in the garden, and they will also be excited to have their own tools.

Give Them Their Own Space

Everyone loves a little space to call their own. Allow your kids to have their own creative freedom over a patch in the garden and grow whatever they like. Encourage them to have full responsibility over this area, including going out to water the plants during the week.

Record Your Process

Keep a garden scrap book. Press flowers. Draw pictures of what you’re planting and what has grown in the garden, or what’s ready to harvest. This is a lovely way to follow your progress over time, and to have an excuse to do some crafts.

Make It Into A Learning Experience

Gardening is such a fun way to learn, and not just about planting itself, but about wildlife and flowers. It may sound clichéd, but learning really can be fun. Think about working in something new and interesting into each gardening session, so your child keeps learning.

Harvest As A Family

The fun bit is almost always reaping what you sow…literally. Harvesting is a great reward for all of your efforts. Get the whole family involved and make a delicious meal from all of the food that you pull from the soil. It always trumps the supermarket-bought stuff.

Show Off Your Produce

Take pictures to show your friends, or share what you’ve grown with family members. A great way to truly appreciate the bounty that you’ve received is to encourage your children to give it to others. Invite your kids’ friends over for strawberries and cream, with the strawberries that you’ve grown in your own garden. It will give your kids a chance to show off what they’ve done, which is another surprisingly good way to get them interested in helping.

What To Do In Your Garden This Weekend

garden

Are you wondering what you can do in your garden this weekend? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with an itinerary of different activities. Here are just a few things to add to your to-do list on Saturday morning.

Bulb Planting

If you haven’t started laying down bulbs in your garden, now is the time to do so. You can have flourishing flowers, ready for Christmas (Hyacinth) or spring (Daffodils, Snowdrops, Bluebells). Bring a little colour to your garden, after some of the barest winter days. It’s nice to start planting things now, in anticipation for fresh blooms later.

Look After Your Hanging Baskets

Although some hanging baskets start to decline now, others will last until the first frost, as long as you keep feeding, watering, and dead-heading them. Keep your blooms going until the weather really takes a turn for the worst. You may be surprised at how long they keep, as long as you give them a little TLC.

Tree Planning

Trees that are planted now, while the weather is wet, but the ground is still warm, will do well when they sprout up the following year. Get them established now, before the frosts come along, and give them a good start.

Keep Deadheading Your Roses

Keep deadheading your roses, to encourage further flowering, before the winter cut back. If you have any climbing roses, prune them, unless they are repeat-flowering. Many roses will last it out during colder weather.

Keep Harvesting Your Crops

Now is a great time to keep harvesting your vegetable garden. Soon, you’ll be lacking a number of crops, so make the most of yours, and freeze off anything that you’ll want to dip into later – it will still be as fresh as the day that it was picked! You could also try pickling or drying your produce. Experiment with new preservative measures!

Pumpkins

To make sure that you have plenty of pumpkins, ready for Halloween, remove any leaves that are covering the fruit. This will help them ripen, ready for October 31st. If you see any pumpkins touching the ground, it’s often worth laying a wooden board or slate underneath them to help prevent rot.

Pimp Up Your Garden

Start to think about composting and collecting water, if you haven’t already. Creating your own compost station and water butt is a great way to enhance your garden, be more environmentally-friendly, and drastically reduce your bills. When you start to have less to do around your garden, it’s a fantastic idea to get these projects underway, especially with the autumn leaves coming (awesome for leaf mulch).

Plan For Next Year

Nope, it’s really not too early to plan next year’s garden. In fact, now is the perfect time to draw up what you’re going to plant and where. This way, you can get everything in the ground at the perfect time, and it will give you an opportunity to ensure that something is always flowering in your beds, and that you have a great supply of veggies throughout the year.

Indoor Gardening Tips

Although you have the element of cover and warmth on your side when raising plants indoors rather than outdoors, it can also work against you: because your plants are indoors, you forget to look after them. You forget that the sun can still parch ’em, even though they’re not in direct sunlight. You forget that the elements can still wreak havoc. Here, we share our top indoor gardening tips so that your plants can flourish, whatever the weather.

orchid

  • Sunshine: if the plant needs direct sunlight, it needs 6 or more hours of head-on sunshine a day. Moderate sunlight means around 4 hours a day, and indirect sunlight means it should be kept a few feet away from direct sunlight, otherwise, the leaves will likely burn. Low light? It’ll be perfectly happy in a room that receives little sunshine.
  • If the tag tells you to water the plant steadily, you should water it every time the soil’s surface gets dry to the touch. If it tells you to water it moderately, water it when the top two inches of soil have dried out. Instructions that tell you to water once every week or two weeks should be largely ignored as it depends entirely upon how warm or cold your house is and how much sunlight the plant needs.
  • Buy healthy plants, with firm, bright leaves and an established root system. Buy pots that are around the same size as the pot that the plant came in, and consider resin or fibreglass materials as they hold more moisture than terracotta. Pop a saucer under the pot, and make sure the pot has drainage holes so that the soil doesn’t get water-logged.
  • To re-pot plants, pop a broken shard of terracotta or a stone over the drainage hole of the new pot, then pour in a half inch to an inch of potting mix. Put the plant on top, then pour potting mix around the sides, making sure to centre the plant so that it doesn’t end up wonky.
  • Always pay attention to what the label tells you – don’t just buy a plant in a shop because you think it’ll suit a certain room, because it might not fit a certain room or may not be suitable for that room. Before you go to the garden centre, make a note of the amount of sunlight each room gets to make sure that you’re not buying blind.

Source: Real  Simple

Top Tips for Getting the Most From Your Small Garden

Teeny tiny gardens don’t have to be small, impenetrable spaces that are useless for entertaining. With a little bit of clever planning, some creative planting and the use of height as well as colour, a garden with even the smallest possible amount of square footage can be transformed into a haven of tranquility. For extra help, take a look at our gardening and landscaping tools, or call in a professional.

smallishgarden

 

  • Add height. Use the walls, fences and the side of the garage to add interest to the sides of the garden, rather than to the floor. You can use plant frames to grow climbing flowers, potted trees and ornamental grasses to cover up ugly brickwork or flaky paint and decorative hanging baskets with long-trailing plants to pretty up doors and windows. Think of the sides of your house and the walls as a canvas – how can you paint it?
  • Create hidden areas or use dividers, like a decorative arch or hedgerows to divide p the space. Because you can’t see everything in the garden all at once, it’ll make the overall space feel larger.
  • When using paving or decking, don’t lay the flat edges so that they sit flush with the edge of the door. Instead, lay them on a diagonal to give the illusion of a larger space.
  • Cool colours and sandy hues are generally your best bet for a smaller garden, as they recede your vision which makes the garden feel much larger. Steer clear of things bold, warm colours like red and orange as they are often used to make the space feel more intimate, which is exactly the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Another alternative is to embrace the size of the garden by using tall, canopy trees with large leaves. They’ll help to shelter the garden from high winds and will create a “snug” effect.
  • Another way to make the garden feel more homely – and more like another room in the house – is to use sound and movement within the garden (in the same way that you use lamps and the TV indoors). For example, use solar powered path lights, a fire pit, garden heaters and things like water features and accessories such as tealight holders and weatherproof cushions will really jazz up any space. Water features can fit into even the smallest of spaces, and they’ll add a calming, tranquil feel.
  • Attract wildlife to your garden so that it doesn’t feel isolated – plant pretty and fragrant flowers, herbs, and set up bird-feeding stations and bug hotels to attract birds and helpful garden bugs.

Source: David Demoney

What You Need to Know About Growing Herbs

Herbs are one of our favourite plants. They’re often really pretty, they smell fantastic and they taste delicious. Many herbs also make great natural remedies and have long been used in supplemental medicine, which is why it’s important to learn a bit about the herbs that you want to plant before you go shopping for them, just to make sure that you know how to use them properly. Another thing to remember is that for the most part, herbs are pretty hardy. Most are happy in full sunlight and some need a bit of shade and sun – but generally, they will grow pretty well in most spots as long as they have enough light and water. Learn everything you need to know about growing herbs and click here for gardening and landscaping tools to help you on your way.

herbs

  • Remember that herbs used to be wild plants – so they’d grow easily and ferociously virtually anywhere that they had enough room and sunlight. They’re hardier than you think, for the most part, and are actually a bit prone to taking over your garden – especially herbs like mint and rosemary. If you know that you’re not going to be spending that much time in the garden, plant them into pots so that they don’t end up overrunning everything else.
  • A common myth about herbs is that they need full sunlight. Although most herbs love the sun, many also appreciate a bit of shade when the sun is at its hottest – so do your research before you plant out as to the direction of the sun and where the garden will be shaded and at what times of the day. With particularly hardy herbs, like sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme, you can leave them in full sunlight as long as they’re fed and watered often enough. Slightly softer herbs like rocket, mustard and parsley will need a bit of shade, too. Just remember – hardy = sunlight and soft = shade.
  • If you want to plant herbs in window boxes, on the sunnier side of the house – the side that gets more sunlight than all of the others throughout the day, try chives, lemon thyme or oregano. On the shady side? Use salad herbs, like rocket, chervil, mustard and parsley. Grow them in compost and water them in the morning so that they don’t wilter and become limp in the heat of a glorious summer’s day and feed them at least once a week to keep leaves fresh and crisp and the stalks and stems strong and sturdy. Trim back excess growth regularly.

Source: BBC Gardens

How to Grow Raspberries, Strawberries and Currants

Soft fruits are easier to grow than you might think. Sweet yet tart and perfect picked fresh from your garden, they’re a real treat through the summer and through the autumn, depending on which varieties you buy. The most popular soft fruits are easy to grow in most gardens as long as you give them a bit of love and enough shelter to make sure that the elements – and the garden pests – don’t ruin them. Follow our tips and learn how to grow raspberries, strawberries and currants and take a look at this link for gardening and landscaping tools to get started.

Raspberries

raspberries

There are two raspberry types: summer fruiting, whereby the plants can be harvested in the summer, and autumn fruiting, whereby the plants can be harvested from late summer right through to early autumn and the first frost. Summer raspberries give you a huge crop, while autumn berries grow a little more slowly but are equally as delicious. Pop them in a sunny yet shady spot with nutrient-rich soil that has plenty of drainage.

Plant the dormant raspberry canes when it’s colder – autumn and winter – and cut down so that they’re only about 15cm in height. In the first year, the canes will establish a healthy root system, and then the following year you’ll be rewarded with lots of lovely fruit. Ensure that there’s a support system in place so that you can tie them as they grow and in the spring add a layer of mulch and manure.

Strawberries

Strawberries should be re-planted every three years – new plants should be put in and you should shift the strawberries to a different spot in the garden. They rot quite easily and need perfect growing conditions, so it’s really important that you don’t just let the fruits languish on old plants. Plant them in the late summer to the early autumn for a bumper crop the following year. They need to be in a sunny spot, with well-drained soil that isn’t chalky, ideally. Water frequently, pop protective mats underneath the plants as they grow and pick off runners – baby plants – as they appear.

Currants

All currants – white, red and black fruit in the middle of the summer. They need just a little bit of shade but they also need to be protected from the wind. Blackcurrants need protection from frost and plants need neutral soil to grow well. Use nutrient-soil and plant out in late autumn, leaving a good 4-5 feet in between each plant. Prune really well and keep on top of it frequently to increase fruit yield. When spring comes, add a fertiliser that contains nitrogen and potassium and use plenty of organic mulch to improve soil quality. If the bushes are mature, prune them back by a third each year and get rid of a lot of the old wood so that new, strong stems can flourish.

Source: BBC Gardens

Top Tips for Growing Unusual Veggies

Ever been to a restaurant and wondered just where they buy their purple carrots from? Or those delicious heirloom tomatoes? Chances are, they dug them up from the kitchen garden. Growing your own produce means that you’ll have far more choice than you’d get in the supermarket and with our hotter climate, many plants that once required a greenhouse can now grow quite happily outside in your garden. Take a look at our top tips for growing unusual veggies and this link for gardening tools to help you get started.

kitchengarden

Sort Out the Soil

Before you put anything into the ground or even go shopping for seeds, it’s important to sort out the soil so that it’s healthy and nutrient-rich, providing the perfect environment for your veggies to flourish. Get rid of perennial weeds using natural methods, if possible, so that the soil doesn’t end up rich in weedkiller and incorporate plenty of compost. Ensure that there is adequate drainage, if necessary, and that the planting area has enough sunlight and shade for the veggies that you’re planning on growing. Once the soil is up to scratch, look after it – make sure that it’s just moist enough and if it’s particularly wet, do not tread on it as it’ll damage the structure of the soil.

  • Plan your planting well – especially if you’re growing veggies for the first time. Plot rotations work well as they add different nutrients to the soil each time a new plant is put in. Leaving the same plants in the same spot season after season will do nothing for the quality of the soil.
  • Don’t plant seedlings straight into the ground. Grow them in little pots or modules in your greenhouse to give them a chance to become a little bit stronger and more resistant to garden pests – plus, you’ll have more control over the quantity of plants that go into the ground, too. Plant them out into the garden when the weather conditions turn a little more favourable, keeping in mind how large the plant will be once fully grown so that you leave enough space in between the seedlings.
  • Don’t plant out seedlings when it’s still cold or wet – especially if the soil is saturated. They’ll just drown.
  • With unusual veggies, you need to give them a little bit of extra love. Don’t just plant them out into the garden and expect them to grow nicely – follow care instructions to the letter, watering and feeding them only when needed and make sure they get enough sun and shade.
  • Think about using fine netting or companion planting to discourage pests from picking off your precious new plants.
  • Experiment with new varieties – pop them into small containers, let them grow until you’re able to harvest, then have a taste. If you like ’em, plant out into the garden – if not, no biggie. It’s worth trying a few seeds before you invest time and plot space in a plant you don’t really like.

Source: BBC Gardens