A great way to beat the ‘January Blues’ is to start planning the garden paradise you've always dreamt of! Last year taught us to appreciate what we have, and what better way to do that than to make the most of your outdoor space? Do you like entertaining? Outdoor dining? Or you might want to make an area for the kids to play in.
If you’re looking to transform your outdoor space ready for the Spring/ Summer, now is the perfect time to start planning exactly what you want out of your garden, and the features you’d like to add to it.
When considering your Dream Garden, ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want to use the garden for? Entertaining, planting, child-friendly play?
If you’re looking to use your garden to entertain your guests or just to eat outside on a sunny evening, popular features to add are Composite decking. As this decking is stain resistant, non-slip and very environmentally friendly, people feel confident when eating, drinking and inviting guests out onto this deck. It’s actually made up of plastic as opposed to wood, meaning it is guaranteed to last longer, it won’t cause splinters, it won’t discolour and it won’t warp or bend!
Another stunning and more unique feature is a patio. We sell a wide range of paving, including porcelain, sandstone and limestone, all of which come in a variety of different colours, sizes and finishes, so you can get the exact look you want. All of our paving achieves a minimum of R11 skid value, reassuring you that even when wet, it is still safe to walk on. Having a patio makes a solid ground for placing a table and chairs, outdoor furniture and BBQs, perfect for those al fresco meals!
If you want to venture out into the world of planting, consider which plants you want to grow and the growing conditions they need. We supply a wide range of high quality soils, compost and mulches to keep different plants thriving whatever the time of year. Consider how much these plants will need watering throughout the Summer and think about how you can make a compost area of your own to create nutrient-rich nourishment for your plants.
When thinking of how you can make your garden child-friendly, think about the current outdoor toys/ equipment they may already have. You might already have things like a trampoline, climbing frame or swings and slides, and be considering how you can create a soft flooring for any accidents that might happen! Placing artificial grass under play areas are a great way of ensuring a soft landing, giving you peace of mind when you’re busy. It also means children won’t face muddy grass to potentially walk through the house. We also sell British Standard Certified play chip which is a soft wood chipping used in domestically in play areas to absorb any impact.
What times of the day are you most likely to go out in your garden?
Maybe you do shift work or work in the evenings so have some time in the morning to spend relaxing in your garden; a lovely view to wake up to is different birds and wildlife. Think about including areas in your garden that will contain grub for different kinds of birds. Worms will appear in your garden on moist, fresh turf which will fee birds such as robins and thrushes. Adding seed-bearing flowers to flowerbeds will also attract birds. Choose perennial varieties for long-lasting growth and a stable food source year-after-year.
You might be lucky enough to enjoy the garden for the whole day or at least when it is at its sunniest! If this is the case, making the most of those sun rays is a must, so consider having an area in a sunny spot that can accommodate a comfy chair or sun lounger. This is another reason a patio or decking is popular, so you can step outside bear foot and enjoy the sun with a drink you can safely place on the floor. Don’t forget to consider sun cream in the Summer months though, and think about a parasol to get some shade during the day.
The evenings are a great time to enjoy your garden, especially in the Summer months where you can watch the sun set towards the night and still feel warm. If you work 9-5 during the week and have busy weekends, the evening might be the best time to enjoy your garden. Therefore, consider an area, such as decking or a patio, that can accommodate a table and chairs to eat dinner outside.
Other features that are best enjoyed in the evening are beautiful, twinkling lights; festoon lights are popular as they really transform your garden. Installing a power source in your garden for these lights is something a landscaper should be able to do.
Firepits are also a great addition to your garden in the evenings. This is a great way of lighting your garden naturally and staying warm when the sun goes down, plus it’s great for toasting marshmallows! You can buy these ready-made, or you can set the challenge of making it yourself! Read our article here to see how easy it is.
Which direction does your garden face, e.g: North, East, South or West?
The luckiest of people will have a South facing garden, which enjoys the most hours of sunlight, if within the Northern hemisphere. For those who have lots of time to spend in their garden, you might want to consider adding shade, especially if you have children. A parasol is a good way of doing this, or adding awning to the back of your house. Plants will also need to be considered in the Summer months, depending on the variety. Installing a water butt might be a good idea so you have a good supply of water to dip into to keep your plants hydrated.
Equally, if you have a North facing garden, it won’t get anywhere near as much sun as a South facing one. Some considerations of this would be the plants you buy, it will need to be a variety that don’t need a huge amount of sun. Also consider drainage, and use free-draining soils to prevent your garden getting boggy and water-logged with the lack of evaporation from the sun.
How much time will you have to maintain your garden?
Realistically, we all want to have time to keep our plants watered, check on any fruit/ veg most days and mow the grass regularly too. But some of us really don’t have the time. A garden with different varieties of plants and a large amount of turf will need attention, especially through Spring and Summer, so maybe consider adding garden maintenance to your diary to ensure you don’t forget.
Other high maintenance garden features include water features and ponds. Water features need cleaning and the water can go green if it isn’t filtered. If your pond has a pump fitted, the filters will also need cleaning. It can also get clogged or dirty from falling leaves, so will need checking on from time to time.
If you are considering a low maintenance garden, however, you may be thinking about a minimalist garden that doesn’t require a lot of attention. Artificial grass drains easily and requires very little maintenance while still looking great. Read more here on the benefits of artificial grass.
Do you want to add different levels to your garden?
This is an important factor. If you have a garden that has mounds or slopes down, you might want to either remove the mounds by digging them up and taking advantage of our Jumbo bag away or muck away service or you might want to incorporate different levels into your garden. If your garden slopes down, you could create different levels of decking or patio with steps in between, leading to a turfed area of garden. Our ledger stone walling is popular for creating two different levels as it creates a beautiful finish to any walling which is used for different levels (see photo below).
How to plan your garden
Measure your garden
This will give you a good idea of the space you’re working with and help you decide what features will be able to fit and how big they can be.
Plan each feature
This is the most important part. Each feature must be thought through carefully, taking into considerations things like drainage, any big trees you have in your garden that could shed in the Autumn and potentially mark paving or clog ponds. Also consider the sunnier parts of the garden and what you’d like to place in the shadier parts of the garden.
Contact a Landscaper
Once you’ve decided on the features you’d like to incorporate and have maybe created a basic sketch, contact a professional Landscaper to get a free quote and check their availability. We have many Landscapers that cover the South West which we supply to, and would be able to recommend them for you. As these Landscapers are so saught after, they get booked up very quickly, so make sure you call them as soon as you can to ensure the work can be carried out by the Spring/ Summer.
Buy the materials
A Landscaper would be happy to purchase the materials for you and invoice you the price, or you can purchase the materials online, over the phone or in-store. Visiting one of our stores at least once before the work is started on your garden is very important, as all of our products are on display at our Ferndown, Bournemouth and Dorchester stores, so you can view the products you’re looking to add to your garden.
Take a look through our website to get some ideas of different features you can include in your garden, we have a huge range of decorative stone, aggregates, paving, Composite decking, artificial grass and turf!
Sunbathing garden – <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/tree”>Tree photo created by pressfoto – www.freepik.com</a>
Garden bbq evening – <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/food”>Food photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com</a>
Woman reading book in sun – <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com</a>
Phone – <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by blossomstar – www.freepik.com</a>
If you have a narrow garden, consider layin your paving at a 45 degree angle - this makes the garden look longer