With the chillier months looming on the horizon, now is the ideal time to start planning your winter garden. However, coming up with interesting ideas to give that outdoor space a bit of spark and personality can be pretty tough.
Consider growing vegetables
As far as your humble scribe is concerned, there’s no garden feature quite as under-rated as a good vegetable patch, even one built on a smaller scale. As well as the practical benefits – fresh fruit and veg isn’t cheap to buy in shops! – the vines, brambles and climbers that make up a vegetable patch can add a real sense of character to almost any garden. This is especially ideal if you’ve got a larger garden that you’re struggling to fill: even dedicating one wall to fruit and veg will help give those bigger spaces a sense of purpose (not to mention a bit more colour). Veg such as broad beans, asparagus, peas, onions and winter lettuce will all grow over the festive season as long as you get them in the ground before the air gets too cold. (If you’ve got a lot of mess left over after setting up the beds, incidentally, you can collect and divide your lawn debris with the help of a grass bagger)
Recycling old items
One of the most effective ways to create new and exciting garden centrepieces on a limited budget (and whilst battling uncooperative weather) is to recycle some unused or old items from around the house. It’s amazing, for instance, what you can achieve using something like an old colander. All you need is a couple of small chains and a bracket, and you can convert it into a gorgeous hanging feature. Another popular recycling technique is to use old bathtubs to create small flowerbeds or herb gardens. Even old wheelbarrows can be converted into planter boxes!
Raise your garden beds
If you’ve got an area of soil or dry earth sitting there, doing nothing except being an eyesore, then a raised garden bed is a great way to make good use of it. Oh, and it doesn’t involve having to dig! Essentially, all you need is a few pieces of flat, thin wood (like the sort you’d get in a flat pack chest of drawers) which you can then stick together in whatever shape you prefer. This shape functions as the walls of the flowerbed. Then, you simply pour soil into the area until it’s reached the height required, and add whichever plants and flowers to the soil you fancy. If you’ve got the wood, it’s no more than a couple of hours work.
A place called vertical
This is an ideal garden design idea if you’ve not got too much room to work with. Just as an interior designer will make use of the walls if the room they’re working with has limited floor space, so you can add a real sense of style to a small garden by adding some upright features. One popular technique is to convert an old wooden ladder into a sort of display, adding small pot plants to each step. Essentially, the ladder acts as a set of shelves, but one that has far more character than if you just bought shelving from your local garden centre. Add some colourful flowers, and you’ll have created a vibrant garden feature out of almost nothing.
Never under-estimate the value of pottery
One of the keys to a lovely garden is wildlife. However, it can be tricky to attract the birds, bees and insects to your outdoor space, especially if you live in a busy city area. One way to combat the lack of wildlife is to use models of the creatures, sculpted from porcelain, rock or clay. These can be purchased from almost every garden centre, and the ranges vary enough that you’ll usually be able to find the animals that suit your garden’s own unique aesthetic.