From the Garden of Eden to The Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the ancient courtyards of countless palaces, outdoor spaces have long played a significant part in the history and culture of humankind. Research has shown that spending time in the garden has a positive effect on mental health so, no matter how extensive your horticultural knowledge, having a garden to call your own is a luxury that should be enjoyed and appreciated.
But private gardens are gradually declining. Over the past 30 years, the average garden size in the UK has been decreasing. The traditional back garden is now nearly 3% smaller than it was three decades ago and by 2020 it is estimated that more than 10% of homes in Britain won’t have a garden at all. Despite this, gardens form a significant part of a property’s value and featured fourth in a survey of the most popular items on a buyer’s wishlist.
Whatever the size of your outdoor area, making the most of it matters. Here, Rex Nye, who owns online builders’ merchants NYEs Building Supplies, provides his top tips for making sure you’re getting the best from your garden.
Garden shelving is a clever way to keep plant pots off the ground and introduce height and volume to borders. Shelving can either be free standing or fixed to walls or fences. There is a variety of styles, finishes and materials to choose from, including metal and wood. Tiered lean-to ladder shelves are a good, maintenance-free option if you don’t fancy drilling holes or fiddling with fixings.
Keep it clutter free
Gardens that are overrun with weeds, fighting for space from fallen down fences or looking drab due to leaf-filled drains, aren’t great at the best of times. Smaller outdoor areas, if poorly maintained, will look even more cluttered and out of control so it’s wise to make sure you set aside time each year to give the garden a good going over. Spring is ideal for tackling a tidy up and will give you a chance to enjoy the garden when the warmer months arrive.
Install an outdoor mirror
Using mirrors in gardens is a highly effective way of creating the illusion of additional space. For maximum impact, opt for a minimalist, contemporary panel and fix it horizontally onto the back border wall – this will help increase light and trick the eye into believing the garden is a lot larger. Before choosing a mirror for your garden, make sure it’s suitable for outdoor use.
Use hanging baskets and window boxes
When ground space is limited, you can add additional colour and texture to your outdoor area by using a variety of hanging baskets and window box arrangements. If you’re a keen cook, planting herbs is a great way to create your very own mini kitchen garden and will release an array of aromas and scents to savour. Mint, rosemary, thyme, lavender and sage all work well for hanging baskets, plant pots and window boxes.
Invest in bold coloured furniture
Colour and visual impact outdoors aren’t just reliant on trees, plants and shrubs. Statement furniture will help enhance drab spaces and breathe life into your garden. Opt for simple-to-store, portable pieces in bold colours, such as stunning fuchsia pink, sunny yellow or bright orange. Add waterproof cushions and throws for comfort.