Saturday, 6 March 2010

7 Tips to Revive Your Garden

Our gardens can soon start to look tired and neglected, especially when you've got children or dogs running around outside. Here are some tips for how to quickly and cheaply revive your garden.

1. Sort out the lawn: nothing looks more depressing than a neglected lawn. As soon as the lawn’s dry enough mow it, rake out all the dead matter and aerate it with a fork or hollow tine aerator. Apply some weed and feed, tidy up the edges, and sprinkle on some grass seed if you’ve got bare patches. Your garden will look better and if your lawn is small it’ll only take you an afternoon.

2. Paint the fences: a fresh coat of paint will immediately cheer up your garden. I always paint fences black. Don’t be afraid of dark colours they don’t work the same in the garden as they do inside the house and plants look great against black.

3. Put in some edgings: I like to have a hard edge around borders and lawns, it helps maintains their intended shape and gives you something to mow up to. If you’ve got dogs or kids running around it stops the lines of the garden becoming blurred and untidy. Mortar in some brick on edge or granite setts to keep the outline of the garden sharp. Use plants to soften the hard edges.

4. Prune overgrown shrubs: most people are afraid to hard prune shrubs, which then get very leggy, outgrow their allotted spaces and generally make the garden look unkempt. With only a few exceptions you can cut back shrubs hard, they might look a bit sad for a few weeks, but they will regenerate quickly and look much better.

5. Cut hedges: boundary hedges should frame the garden and look much better when they’re kept neat and tidy. As with shrubs, if you don’t cut your hedge back at least once a year it will get very untidy. Keeping a hedge trimmed is a simple way of making the garden look cared for. If you haven’t got time, or don’t want to risk getting up a ladder, there are plenty of people in the phone book who will come round and do it for you.

6. Hide compost bins, storage areas and oil tanks: a simple piece of trellis with some evergreen climbers will give you a storage space for anything that has to be in the garden, but you don’t want to look at. Even better, invest in a new shed, paint it black, hang some baskets on it and store clutter out of sight. A new shed also gives you an opportunity to install an extra water butt.

7. Re-lay pathways: if your gravel pathways are full of garden detritus and looking tired give them a facelift. Just removing the old gravel and investing in a few bags of new gravel will make a difference. However, a small investment in some new paving will transform the garden. You can do a half way solution by putting in a brick edge and using some paving slabs with gravel margins. If you’ve got a resident handy-person you can do this yourself - Paving Expert is an excellent source of information for all paving tasks. If not, call in a local landscaper and get them to do it for you.

If you need help cheering up your garden for the summer visit my Web site for telephone contact details or email me

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