How To Make Your Garden Truly Stand Out

Our garden space has a unique place in our lives. For many it becomes the one space they can truly unwind, escape the pressures of an always-on, digital world and rediscover the very elemental joy of growing things and reconnecting with the natural environment.

From a small balcony lovingly tended with flower boxes and potted plants, to a small backyard with potential, making the most of your outdoor space can be a real life enhancer in many ways. Sometimes knowing where to start is the hardest part – but if the recent RHS Chelsea Flower Show has you inspired to get a little more green fingered, these botanical ideas could pep up your garden space in time for the rest of the summer.

english country garden gate

Try Installing A Living Fence

If you need to section off an area or screen something unsightly that you can’t get rid of, considering softening things with a ‘living fence’. This involves installing a framework of trellising or woven material like willow, and training climbing plants to grow up it. The variants best suited to this are super pretty and also happen to smell fantastic – wisteria, jasmine, honeysuckle,  passionflower. They can add an ambience to a disused corner and make it the most beautiful spot to sit and have coffee. If you plant wildflowers, you can also attract bees and butterflies, introducing more eco-diversity. Modern vertical irrigation systems can help in challenging corners – almost anything can be masked with a bit of careful planning.

Mix Up Traditional Planting Schemes

Traditionally, we’re taught to keep our vegetables as well segregated as possible from our flower beds, but re-wilding calls for a much more haphazard approach. There are many positive benefits to flora and fauna when you mix and match, as it makes your garden prime territory for pollinators. With more of a succession of flowering periods, pollen and nectar are available to insects throughout the entire growing season, not just within a small window. Flowers complement herbs too, so mix in lavender with sage, chives and mint and the odd curveball such as artichoke that’s been left to flower. It’s a piecemeal process of discovery, but that’s precisely what’s so wonderful about it.

Invite The Wildlife In

Making your garden attractive to local wildlife is a beautiful thing to do – it can help redress the urban sprawl which has unbalanced the natural environment a little and add a whole new dimension. Even the smallest of outdoor spaces offers a big variety of habitats for wildlife to flourish. Borders, fuelled with flowering plants and shrubs produce nectar which can nourish butterflies and bees as well as cover for birds and small animals. If you’re into bird baths, they can make a beautiful feature and attract feathered friends. Natural roosting and nesting sites are becoming increasingly hard for birds to find, so your garden could supply an ongoing safe haven, as well as being filled with the beautiful sound of bird song.

Enhance Your Outdoor Dining

As most gatherings revolve around food, think outside the box when it comes to providing for your guests. Rather than simply wheeling the barbecue out, what could you do that’s more inventive? Pizza ovens are gaining in popularity, and with such a wide range of models from moveable stainless steel ones that wouldn’t look out of place in a restaurant kitchen to clay and brick tabletop ovens that are less intrusive, your friends and family could soon be enjoying this tasty, customisable, easy to throw together treat. If you use your garden for al fresco dining a lot, you could also consider an outdoor kitchen, with a full weatherproof setup, or a repurposed armoire to hold plates and cutlery.

garden planters hanging on a blue wall

Think About Surfaces

When creating a social space, there are lots of ways to add dimension. Adding in a multi-level patio can combine flexible seating with an inviting situation to sit and drink a glass of wine or two, while raised decking from a set of patio or bi-fold doors can help to bring the indoors outside and create a seamless transition between the inner and outer space of your home. Also, take the opportunity to make sure that your lawn is in tip-top condition. Using a professional maintenance firm makes sense if you have a large grassed area that needs maintaining or a yearly check to keep it in the best condition.

Add Some Statement Planters

If you really want to add a talking point into your garden space, look out for unusual items to repurpose as planters. You can really create some amazing displays if you think outside the box. From old enamel bathtubs overflowing with lavender plants to brightly painted discarded tyres stacked up, it’s a chance to recycle and add impact to your outdoor space. Even a quirky collection of old teapots, or simple potted plants displayed on a wooden step ladder can look amazing. Get onto Pinterest for garden planter inspiration to get you started.

Revamp Your Seating

Where people sit is an essential element in how comfortable they will be, so pay attention to all the different kinds of seating you can add to your garden for different experiences. A rustic table under a beautiful pergola thick with climbers like wisteria, honeysuckle or passionflower is served well by long benches that don’t restrict the number of guests you can invite. A waterside deck may suit reclining wooden lawn chairs for relaxing in on a sunny day. A bistro set can be placed in a little sun trap area outside the back door where you can sit for coffee in the morning. If you want your guests to be truly comfortable shaded circular daybeds are all the range and provide ample opportunity for a leisurely chat.

From small additions to grand new designs, making your garden a truly beautiful and unique place is as complex a task as you make it. Whether it’s just a few small additions or a complete revamp, adding a spark of creativity can reconnect you to the great outdoors and give a whole new dimension to your home.

Coping with a massive home renovation

For some, its renovation season. After all, the weather is improving, and it’s time to get your home ready for the summer. But for others, this is just the latest in a long, seemingly never-ending process of renovating the house from top to bottom. If you are considering making massive renovations, it’s not just about the home, but it’s about making sure your sanity is intact too! It’s a very stressful thing, especially when you’re making massive changes. And what can we do to ensure that we’re coping with these massive changes?

man renovating a room

Do Your Best To Stick To The Plan

Things come up that throw your plans way off course. Maybe there’s a supply problem with some of the material, or the weather has changed yet again. Stick to the plan, but also have contingency plans so you can at least continue to chip away at the whole thing. Sometimes we can feel like we’re in limbo, but rather than sitting there, stressing about the fact that it’s not going according to plan, we can make little changes in the household that don’t necessarily need the builders. This way, we’re being productive.

Learn To Keep Calm

It can send our OCD into overdrive if we see dust and rubble scattered around the place! And if our personal possessions are running the risk of being forever tainted with dirt, we’ve got to learn how to keep calm. It also makes sense to have a personal self storage facility nearby just so your prized possessions aren’t covered in dirt, but also think about the long game. Financially speaking, it’s very stressful, and this can always loom at the back of your mind. But if you don’t have the tactics to cope with it, it’s going to be month after month of feeling in limbo.

It’s Not Going To Be Forever

The thing that keeps a lot of people going during a stressful time like this is the end product. We need to tell ourselves that it’s not going to be forever. If we feel that we’re constantly in the eye of the storm, even if the building works been going on for 6 months, it’s not going to do us any good in the long run. If you really are feeling that it’s all getting on top of you, then get away for a bit. And even if this is not feasible, find small opportunities to give yourself an outlet. Go stay with a friend or a family member, and just get away from the problem. Sometimes this is all we need, and when we think about the fact that a renovation isn’t just about making changes to our home, it’s the culmination of our visions of the perfect home. As such, perfection can get in the way of reality. It’s difficult now, but it’s not going to be forever.

Relationships are tested when a home undergoes a major renovation, not just between you and your partner, but you and the neighbours. And if you are in the middle of a long renovation, you’ve got to learn how to cope better with it.

4 wonderful benefits of eating home grown & organic

We’re all told that we should eat more fruit and vegetables. We’re constantly reminded that we need to cut back on processed and prepackaged foods (and for the sake of budgeting it’s probably a good idea to cut down on the takeaways too). Yet while this is ostensibly good advice, it overlooks a fundamental truth. A lot of the veggies and fruits we see on the supermarket shelves are not as nutritious as they could be. Thankfully under EU regulations genetically modified (GMO) crops are largely kept off British plates although meat eaters may eat animals that have been raised on GMO crops like corn or soybeans. What’s more, this regulation may change after Brexit and result in an influx of genetically modified veggies.

home grown carrots

Nonetheless, the fact remains that many of the fruits and vegetables we see on supermarket shelves are grown for their marketable appearance rather than their nutritional content. They can be treated with harmful pesticides or grown with harsh chemical fertilisers and all these things can have a range of implications for your health. When you switch to home grown and organic veggies, you benefit in a number of big ways…

It can save you money in the long term

Growing your own veggies and fruits may require some initial outlay but even if you don’t have a garden you can still self grow. A window box is enough to grow herbs and some vegetables and if you feel like trying your hand at hydroponic vegetable growing visit Essex Hydro Gardens. A modest setup can see you grow all kinds of veggies for years, thereby saving you money in the long term.

It’s potentially more nutritious

Home grown and organic veggies have the potential to be way more nutritious than their counterparts which are bred for appearance over nutrition. Grown in contaminant free soil and without harmful pesticides, your home grown and organic food will provide much more nutritional content than supermarket produce, saving you money on vitamin supplements which simply aren’t necessary when you eat organic.

What’s more, the longer produce sits on the supermarket shelf, the more its nutritional content starts to dwindle. Growing your own produce allows you to pick it and serve it straight away for maximum freshness and nutritional value.

It’s way better for the environment

Growing your own produce or buying produce from organic farms that use sustainable methods is a more sustainable and responsible consumer choice. It’s a choice that takes money out of the coffers of industrialised farming and votes with your wallet for a more sustainable future. What’s more, growing your own produce is one of the most eco-friendly ways of feeding yourself there is.

It just tastes better

Finally, organic and home grown produce just tastes better. It’s the sensory equivalent of watching a film in 4K UHD as opposed to an old VHS with wonky tracking. Organic foods taste fresher and more vivid whether you eat them raw or use them in recipes. It’s the difference between eating your food and enjoying your food!