You may have read about last summer's prepping of the garden and my battle with the borders, but this year I am pleased to announce I have learnt from the past few years of mistakes. I am excited to share with you some of my top tips and tricks to help you make your garden look presentable for summer entertaining.
One of my Mum's favourite expressions is you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. This is true in with a garden. If your grass is waist high or you have weeds breeding in the pots no amount of tricks are going to help cover it up. Just make it presentable; cut the grass, get rid of any weeds and dead plants and generally spend an hour giving it a good clear out. If you find yourself knee deeps in garden rubbish head to the local tip or you can book a rubbish clearance collection to come and take it away for you. Trust me, after that hour the garden will already look so much better.
Plant hardy perennials
For years I have planted each season only to have empty pots and borders the following spring. I cottoned on last year to the power of perennial plants which die off each Winter but grow back in the Spring. Not only has this saved me a lot of shopping and planting time but it has also been easy on the wallet. Try to buy hardy plants which will cope with cold Winters and remember where you planted everything!
Distract the eye
We have a pretty basic lawn front garden with a border under the front window. Having to deal with two gardens is twice the effort so I have only planted some low maintenance evergreen shrubs in the front border but tricked people into thinking it is a stunning front garden by placing a very colourful plant right by our front door. Everyone comments on it as they walk in and it is super easy to look after. Bingo. If you struggle combining colours in your garden try using a colour wheel to help you match complimentary and contrasting tones.
Your garden isn't just floor level. Think of it as a 3D space, Hanging baskets can provide interest at eye level and are super easy to plant with a few inexpensive bedding plants. You can get some really fun hangers too - I bought this butterfly one from Tesco for about £2! You can also hang wind chimes and spinners from trees or add china decorations to your walls or fence. It all adds low maintenance detail. Just remember to pop them away in the shed or garage for safekeeping during the Winter in case we get some strong winds.
Protect your garden furniture
We learnt this lesson the hard way with our first ever set of garden furniture. Husband left it outside, uncovered one Winter and by the Spring it looked 50yrs old. No-one dared sit on a chair. So if you have the room bring your garden furniture inside for the Winter or at the very least invest in a good furniture cover which will protect it when outside. Then when Spring comes you can just take the cover off and you are ready to relax. Tesco have a great guide to looking after your garden furniture explaining how to treat different kinds of wood, metal and rattan furniture.
Go potty for pots!
I love pots because they are so much easier to look after than borders. An empty, boring corner can be transformed with a mixture of shrubs and flowering pots. They also hide a multitude of sins. Ugly drain cover? Pop a pot on it. Hole in the fence? Stick a pot in front of it. You can go for one design if you like uniformity or mix up lots of different styles and sizes like I do for a more eclectic effect.
Fairy lights aren't just for Christmas!
How many times have you had to move the party indoors because it gets too dark outside?! A few fairy lights and lanterns are a really quick fix that can turn your garden into a magical night time setting. We have solar fairy lights which require no maintenance and can give your garden a welcoming glow all year round. We have them front and back but we do avoid the twinkling settings outside of Christmas! If you fancy trying some more adventurous lighting designs you should consider some of these garden lighting effects.
This is a collaborative post