For many of us, having an outdoor space is one of life’s little luxuries.
A spot to breathe in the fresh air just outside your door is always welcome when the days are longer, and the nights are warmer. But if your own garden has been neglected or you haven’t bothered to make it an extension of your home, you could be missing a trick. Not only does a well-kept garden add value, it creates an area for entertaining, relaxing or simply enjoying the great outdoors.
Here are just a few ways to create a garden you’ll want to enjoy throughout the warmest months of the year.
The first thing you’ll want to do is assess the space you have. Think about how and when you would want to use your garden and plan accordingly. Are there spots that catch the sun first thing in the morning or an area that’s perfect for escaping the rays on the hottest days?
You might want to zone an area for children’s play with a separate area for enjoying a barbecue with friends. Areas of grass, reclining chairs or raised veggie beds will all require different types of ground cover and you can use these variations to zone out each area according to use.
When zoning, keep in mind that any areas you may wish to have garden furniture will need a harder surface to sit on rather than being placed directly onto grassy areas. Whether you decide on easy-to-care-for tiles, simple paving slabs or areas of wood decking is up to you, as each will have its own practicalities to consider.
A small patio or deck are fairly easy jobs for a competent DIYer but if aren’t keen on taking on the work yourself, consider the services of a landscape gardening firm to assist you.
Large shady trees are always a welcome respite in the heat of summer and also provide some visual height and privacy in a garden space. If your garden doesn’t have large trees, then a pergola will help to create that height and interest.
You can train climbing and trailing plants to grow up and around it, creating a natural focal point in the garden, as well as providing shady spot to enjoy.
Whether you love the softness of long grasses, prefer the colour of flowering plants, or want greenery all year long, a variety of plant species will ensure your garden looks great through each season. Consider some simple edible plants which don’t require any expertise to grow and encourage wildlife and bees by choosing pollen or nectar-rich flowers or plants which produce edible fruit.
Light it up
As the sun goes down, does the party end too? Encourage those gatherings to last well into the evening by bringing in garden lighting. You’ll want lighting at three heights – from above, along surfaces and on the ground for a layered effect.
Consider adding lights to areas where there are steps or paths to make navigating in low light easier, strings of festoon or fairy lights above entertaining areas for ambiance and then finish off with lanterns and candles added to tables to create a welcoming atmosphere and encouraging conversation.
Finally, entertaining in your garden can be hampered when you are constantly running to and from the kitchen inside the house. We all love a good barbecue but if you have the space, consider taking it up a notch with an outdoor pizza oven or a full-blown outdoor kitchen.
A fire pit is another way to keep guests warm on chillier evenings. Remember to pull in some additional comfort with throw blankets and cushions that can be brought out from inside to create a cosy space you’ll love.