Upgrade your garden in 10 simple steps

Upgrade your garden in 10 simple steps

Here are our top ten simple steps to give your garden a mini facelift. Getting your garden into the best possible shape it can be is a great starting point for any big changes you may want to make and really assists with the design process.

1. Keep it clean

It seems simple, but giving your patio or decking a thorough clean can give an instant lift to your garden. If you really want to go to town, consider re-treating your decking. For hardwood, use a decking oil and for softwood consider a coloured stain. In both cases, if it is badly weathered sand it first to give a sound, bare surface. For paving use a pressure washer to clean off as much inground dirt and algae as you can. If it is badly soiled you may need to use a heavy duty stone cleaner, such as Lithofin Algex or Intensive Cleaner. Once cleaned you can keep it looking good for longer by sealing the surface. The type of sealant you use will depend on your paving type, so be sure to do a little research online before purchasing. Whatever sealant you choose to transform your garden, make sure the paving (and weather forecast) is completely dry before applying and be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

2. Remove broken slabs

If the odd slab is damaged or impossible to get clean, try removing it (and any sub-base) and replace with soil. You can then install ground cover plants to create an attractive feature in your patio. Good plants for this are:

  • Camomile
  • Creeping thyme
  • Sedum

3. Scale it Up

Adding a huge planter can really transform your garden and add structure and focal point. It draws the eye and adds drama to any space. Trees can be planted in big containers. Give it a go. You will be amazed at the results.

Scaling it up with oversized planters adds excitement

Add structure to define a pathway or area

4. Around the edge

Treat your boundaries to an overhaul. If they look tired, they will detract from whatever else you do to the garden. Consider them as living walls by growing evergreen climbers.  paint fences in a dark, neutral colour (dark grey or green always works well) to make the planting stand out and add a dose of designer elegance.

Add contrasting textures will creates instant interest. Mix up plant textures to create contrast – rough with smooth, shiny and matt, soft and hard, Plant grasses amongst existing shrubs. Simple but effective.

Make your favourite plant/s stand out more by planting around them with others that would naturally grow well with them. if possible use plants that contrast in shape , size and even colour <click here for planting advice>

5. Texturise

Add contrasting textures will creates instant interest. Mix up plant textures to create contrast – rough with smooth, shiny and matt, soft and hard, Plant grasses amongst existing shrubs. Simple but effective.

6. Accessorise away

Dress your space. If you have a garden chair or bench, add cushions and a throw. Light the garden with storm lanterns or groups of jam jars and tea lights. There are some fabulous outdoor rugs on the market at the moment or even use artificial grass.

If you can, use the same style of container or pots in different sizes to add extra interest using plants that provide seasonal colour and scent when you use the space.

7. Review your planting

Take a good look at your plants and decide whether they are a good asset for your garden. If they are overgrown or ragged looking, see if you can prune, feed and generally bring them back to former glory. If not, then they may need to be replaced. Plants can be expensive though, so go for a few good quality specimens rather than a load of cheap bedding from your local DIY store. Make sure you concentrate on leaf shape, colour and texture.

8. Enhance

Make your favourite plant/s stand out more by planting around them with others that would naturally grow well with them. if possible use plants that contrast in shape, size and even colour <click here for planting advice>

9. Screening with plants

Our number one tip for most gardens. Natural screens create intimacy by dividing space and keeping your attention inside your garden by hiding what’s going on outside it. They can quickly alter the shape and the journey through the space. They will also do you a massive favour if you need to hide or disguise things. Used well, screens are a designer’s secret weapon.

10. Colour it in

Colour is transformative. Paint your fences in dark hues to make planting pop and give it a glamourous trendy look. Paint tired furniture to revive it and give it a new lease of life. Use colour wisely and it will pay in spades. Don’t be tempted to go for bright colours on sheds and fences unless they need to be attention grabbing. Go for darks and neutrals to make the space seem bigger and let the plants and features take centre stage.