Have you just bought your first home and want to get your garden spruced up for the summer? Nicky Roeber, an Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres, kindly shares three tips for new gardeners.
The gardens of new-build homes can be a little plain, usually consisting of just a small paved area and a patch of lawn. While it may not seem like the most inspiring landscape at first, your outside space is a blank canvas that you can customise however you like. And, you'll want to add a few things that will liven it up for the warm summer months, so you've got somewhere to relax and socialise with friends and family.
If you haven’t got much gardening experience, the prospect of designing, planting and caring for your first outside space can seem a little daunting. To help you get started, I've created this step-by- step guide that will help you to get your new garden looking fabulous for the summer. So, if you'd like to make your outside space a bit more exciting, just read on to learn everything you'll need to know.
Improve the lawn and create beds for flowers
The soil in new-build gardens is often heavily compacted, rocky, sandy, and lacking in the essential nutrients that plants need to thrive. Raised beds or borders are an easy solution, as you can fill them with a good quality soil or compost, and they'll add a bit of multi-level landscaping to your new-build garden, too.
To learn more, take a look at this guide to building a raised bed from Better Homes and Gardens. You'll also want to learn more about the soil in your local area: the UK Soil Observatory's postcode map viewer should give you an idea of what kind of soil you have in your garden, so you can find plants that suit your soil type.
If your turf has only been laid very recently (less than a month ago), you'll need to leave it to settle in for at least another month, and avoid walking or placing heavy objects on it, as this can damage the delicate young roots. After that, regular mowing and watering during dry spells should keep it in good shape. If your grass still looks patchy and in need of some TLC, you'll want to apply a lawn feed: this will help to replenish it before the summer.
Find some easy-to- grow plants for containers or beds
No garden is complete without a few brightly coloured blooms. If you're new to gardening, you'll want to choose plants and flowers that will be easy to cultivate, and provide lots of beautiful blooms throughout the summer months. These varieties are all easy to grow, and they can also be grown in containers if you're not sure you're ready to create a raised bed or border area just yet:
Pansies | Violas | Petunias | Fuchsias | Begonias | Marigolds | Nasturtiums | Sweet peas
For faster results, you can buy all of the above flowers as plug-plants and pop them straight into containers, which will look wonderful clustered together on a patio. To create a consistent colour scheme, you'll want to stick to two or three different colours: any more than this, and your garden could look chaotic and disorganised.
These plants should be very low maintenance: all you need to do is water them during dry or hot spells, and remove any dead blooms using a pair of pruning shears to encourage them to produce more flowers.
You can learn more about caring for your plants, including which pots and soils to use, in this beginner's guide to container gardening from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Make it a functional space for relaxing and entertaining
Now you've planned out your garden, taken care of the lawn, and decided what to plant, you can set about making your garden a space for relaxing and entertaining. First, you'll need to add some comfortable seating: this way, you'll have a place to sit back and admire all your hard work.
If you plan to dine al fresco during the summer months, a bistro set or dining table and sofa-style seating will be perfect. If your table and chairs will be in a sunny spot, it’s a good idea to look for a table with that can accommodate a parasol to give you a bit of shelter when the sun is at its strongest.
Once your seating area is in place, you can add some accessories to make the space even more welcoming. A set of fairy lights and some lanterns or tea lights will create a cosy atmosphere during warm summer evenings, and a few brightly coloured cushions will make your chairs even more comfortable — perfect for snuggling up with a book.
If you're looking forward to spending time in your new garden during the warmer months, now is the time to get it spruced up. Just follow my advice when planning, designing and planting and, before long, you'll have a flourishing garden that's perfect for relaxing and entertaining all summer long.