It is already mid summer and most of us are thinking about the coming months spent outside. Whether you have a large garden, urban courtyard, balcony or terrace, now is the time to spruce up your outside space.
With some clever tricks you could be lounging in your garden, sipping a cocktail or two with friends and family next weekend.
Hot news in gardening this year is to create an outdoor ‘room’, providing a natural flow from house to garden. Blurring the boundaries with clever planting and the use of raw materials.
This year’s top trend is ‘urban’ – concrete used on the walls, pots and flooring, with sheds and fences painted in matt black, all softened with green planting. This look can be easily achieved with little or no cost at all.
When planning your garden design, try thinking about how you plan to use it. Will you be growing vegetables, using it as an entertaining space, workshop or perhaps an outside office?
Once all of these key factors have been thought about then clear the decks – literally get rid of anything that is broken, old or no longer working for you.
Broken pots can be discarded, old bikes can be given to charity and anything else that you cannot bare to part with, but might not have the space for, can be put into storage. A great answer to the old problem of us hoarders! I’m one of them.
Now, with a blank canvas, you can start to play with your space. Paint old fences in this year’s gardening trend – black. A tired fence or old brick wall can be transformed with a pot of paint. So can old pieces of furniture, tables and chairs can be painted or spray painted in all manner of colours to suit your style.
One of the great summer pleasures is to eat in the garden, be it a lavish BBQ or a simple picnic. Really think about how you will use the space, is there room for a permanent table and chairs, if so what size? Can you incorporate a permanent outside kitchen or perhaps a space for a portable BBQ?
Once the ‘bones’ of the garden has been completed, next turn to the planting. Whether you are green fingered or not, there are plants for everyone.
Simple evergreens will look great all year round, such as box balls or bay trees. Or if you can afford it, a large olive tree looks incredible in a huge terracotta pot. Depending on your own personal taste you could go for minimal plants or create a green oasis, the choice is yours!
Remember, someone has to water all those plants so perhaps don’t get too carried away!
Personally, I have to have scented plants in my small urban courtyard. Old English roses, tall foxgloves spikes and honeysuckle climbing the fence.
I also love to introduce a small amount of edible plants too. I always have herbs growing in an old tin bath, climbing cucumbers up the sunny south facing wall and cherry tomatoes in a pot by the back door. There is nothing like freshly picked tomatoes in the summer.
And when summer is over, why not put your furniture into storage for the winter, to protect it from the frost and cold, and whilst you are at it, put the BBQ and parasol in there too until next year.
Littlegreenshed is a lifestyle & travel blog written by Lou Archell, a writer, photographer and mum-of-two. Littlegreenshed features travel & adventure both near and far, botanical inspiration and practical advice on simple living.