With summer now well underway, there’s never been a better time to get your garden into good shape – and to keep it that way. With the help of some tried-and-tested techniques, some tidying and some simple accessories, it’s quite easy to transform even the most lacklustre garden into a place that you can happily unwind. In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways in which you might do so, and can get your garden ready for the season.
Maintaining the garden
Gardens are filled with living things which are constantly growing – sometimes in undesirable ways. The only thing separating a pleasant garden from a messy one is order; and so you’ll need to control some of this unwanted growth.
Let’s begin with the steps that make the biggest difference, for the least effort. First, you should mow your lawn. An overgrown, untidy lawn will be the first thing your guests notice when they come over for your summertime gatherings. Once you’ve gotten the grass down to a sensible level, be sure to devote some attention also to the edges. If the edges of your lawn aren’t entirely straight, this might be trickier – but special tools are available for the task.
Another, somewhat related task is pruning. This is where you selectively cut branches from your flowers, bushes and trees in order to remove dead and decaying wood, to encourage new and different sorts of growth, and to simply keep the place looking a little bit tidier. Pruning is an art that requires a little bit of expertise and experience to get the best from, as different plants will respond in different ways. Generally speaking, pruning is best done during winter, when your garden is dormant. Then, when spring finally comes around, the new growth will make up for the loss.
Once you’ve gotten things a little bit tidier in your garden, you’ll need to address a third problem: weeds. These unwanted plants can crop up anywhere – and removing them can be quite difficult. Chemical solutions are available – but these often have a hard time discriminating between the beautiful flowers you’d like to keep and the ugly weeds you’d like to be rid of. A better solution is therefore to go a little more hands-on. Get yourself a decent, thick pair of gardening gloves that’ll last the distance, and get weeding. Since you’re going to be spending a lot of time on your knees while doing this, you might also wish to secure yourself a kneeling cushion, which will allow you to spend hours at ground level without inflicting the slightest discomfort on your joints.
Naturally, these are just a few of the tools you’ll need to get the most from your garden. In order to carry all of those trowels, pruning shears and gardening gloves, you’ll want to invest in a decent gardening bag. If you’ve yet to acquire any such tools, then an all-in-one tool set might be called for.
As well as getting rid of the plants you don’t want, you’ll also need to ensure that your garden actually grows. This means providing a steady stream of water. For most of the year in Britain, we can expect the occasional shower to provide all the moisture that our flowers, trees and hedges need to grow – particularly if they’re planted in high-quality soil. But occasionally during summer there will be a dry spell – which must be staved off with a watering can or a mister.
Accessorising your garden
Naturally, a garden wouldn’t be a garden if it didn’t contain any plants. But that needn’t mean a gardenexclusively contain plants. With the help of a few accessories, you can lend your garden a touch of extra charm. These items needn’t be strictly decorative, either. A bird house will look the part, to be sure; but it’ll also encourage the local wildlife to pay your garden a visit. Similarly, a charming peg bag like this one will look great while hanging from your clothes line, and it’ll come in handy when it comes to the actual business of hanging out clothes.
Part of the fun of having a garden is that you’ve able to relax and unwind in it. And what better way could there be to unwind than by having a sit-down meal out in the open air? Summer barbeques have long been a tradition in Britain. But to get the best from them, you’ll need to invest in the right barbeque equipment. This means, obviously, a quality grill. When it comes to this sort of equipment, you generally get what you pay for – go for something that’s rugged and will last the distance, but not something so large and feature-rich that you don’t end up getting the fullest use from it.
In order to maximise the lifespan of your grill, you’ll need to regularly clean it, and keep it protected from the elements. This means coating it in oil in order to guard against rust, and covering it in a protective, waterproof sheet in order to guard against rainwater.
Of course, we’ve also cutlery to consider. If you’re going to be hosting large gatherings, then it might be wiser to invest in disposable cups, plates, knives and forks. This will reduce the risk of any of your more valuable items getting inadvertently dropped or otherwise damaged. This risk will be all the greater if alcohol is involved, so paper plates are recommended for booze-fuelled gatherings.
For everyday dining, however, there’s no reason not to bring your indoor crockery outdoors – perhaps for a spot of Sunday lunch. In order to make the most of this experience, a substantial outdoor table is a necessity.
With the right choice of helpful items, and a little bit of hard work, you can restore your garden to its former glory – and perhaps get it looking better than it ever has done. So what are you waiting for? Get to work!