5 steps to upgrading your garden before Spring
At this moment in time we doubt very much that you want to go and spend any time out in your garden but, time flies, and Spring will be just around the corner before you know it. You may have been able to ignore the dying pot plants and overgrown weeds for the last couple of months but now is the time to get ahead of the game and start the process in organising, decluttering and upgrading your garden in just a few simple steps.
The first question you need to ask yourself is what do you want your garden to achieve? Are you an al fresco entertainer looking for a dining extension? Does it need to be a tranquil and relaxing escape? Do you want to activate your children’s imaginations, somewhere they can play and explore? Or are you looking for somewhere to snuggle down with a hot chocolate after a long day? We suggest jotting down your garden goals and starting from there.
Upgrading an outdoor area to be a place you want to spend time in can be a daunting task so, as always, we are on hand to aid in any queries you have, be they design related, structural or technical. Prior to undertaking any work be sure that you aren’t breaching any planning laws.
1. “Declutter and Organise”
The thought of organising your garden after a winter off can seem like one long, monotonous journey before you even start, but every great journey starts with one small step. We believe that small, crucial, step is getting your outside space decluttered and organised. Be ruthless and follow the mantra ‘less is more’ – at least to begin with. Those dead pot plants? Throw them away (but recycle the soil if it’s still in good shape). Purge your potting shed of unnecessary tools and broken pots. The garden can be (and more often than not, is) a breeding ground for old tools, materials, pots and plants, so bin or recycle the ones that aren’t essential, and start afresh.
2. “Incorporate Levels and Divides”
Easier said than done, we know, but even the slightest change in levels by adding a step or two can add interest in gardens, particularly small ones where everything seems to be on show. A change in level draws attention and focus to a particular area; think a sunken lounge area with a fire pit, a raised lawn or a focal dining area. If you have the space then go crazy and add multiple areas, or outdoor ‘rooms.’
Go small or go big; for that intrinsic, ‘secret garden’ feel consider using small, delicate steps that seem to disappear into the foliage. Go broad and sleek if you want to create the illusion of space.
An additional way to divide areas of your garden is using trellis or panel screens; we suggest embedding them in some beautiful planters and allowing climbing plants to work their magic. Not only will you have multiple outside nooks and ‘rooms’ to design as you wish, children will have endless hours of fun exploring, playing hide and seek and using their imagination in these secret gardens.
3. “Do Not Ignore The Floor”
There are an abundance of exterior floor coverings available; natural stones, pavers, brick, gravel, decking etc. so rather than choosing one material and covering your entire garden with it, get creative and consider blending and combining. Not only will this liven up your outside space, it helps to bring attention and focus to certain areas, such as an al fresco dining area. It will take careful planning to get right, so consider getting an expert to take a look, but combinations we find attractive are brick and natural stone, natural stone and gravel, or brick and decking. For large, monotonous spaces, even changing the direction of the stone or pavers can help break it up.
Also consider the furniture you already have and, if it was lucky enough to escape your initial purge, where its new home is going to be. This should play an important role in your floor covering(s). Bring attention to that large round dining table with a circular brick pattern, or use a different material to create a hot tub zone.
This is one trend that arrived on the scene in 2016 and isn’t going anywhere soon. It encompasses all things comfort and cosy, and is really making its mark in our gardens. Despite our unpredictable British weather, people adore the idea of making our outside spaces mirror our interiors, in particular the living room. Stock up on comfortable chairs and outdoor sofas, all weather rugs and blankets, outdoor fire pits and fireplaces, and outdoor stoves or cooking appliances. Even a small, intimate nook or a converted hut will work. Incorporate some subtle mood lighting and your cosy outdoor lounge will be the place people never want to leave.
5. “Embrace the Space”
It is tempting, particularly in smaller gardens, to overfill with furniture, plants, flowers and garden ornaments. This crowded look can have the opposite effect, and actually make your outdoor space appear smaller. Enjoy having room to move and breathe. Pick your furniture wisely and don’t be afraid to go big and bold on key pieces. A cleverly designed garden doesn’t need mountains of ‘things’ to show it off – it shines in itself.
We find the most exciting outdoor spaces give the original and organic features, such as crumbling old stone walls and existing focal trees, a space to shine.
The information in this Coffee Break article is intended for guidance only. The authors cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage which may result from the use of this article.