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Get garden ready this spring!

Get garden ready this spring!

With winter well and truly behind us, now is the ideal time to get outside and start improving our gardens in anticipation of the warmer months ahead.

Whether your garden is a place to indulge your passion for plants and all things green, or perhaps a private space to enjoy socialising in with friends and a good BBQ – once you get your garden space to work for you and your family, you could be reaping the rewards for years to come.

Gardens can be so much more than a lawn and a border. By maximising your outdoor space you can create an extra ‘room’ on your property to indulge hobbies, socialise in, teach your grandkids about the outdoors and even grow your own crops!

Work your way through this handy garden guide to get more from your outdoor space, welcome wildlife and get your garden looking great again – just in time for BBQ season.

Create a wildlife haven

  • Provide fresh water: Clean out and fill bird baths and feeders to ensure wildlife can access fresh water and food. Top up ponds and bird baths with rain water if possible using a water butt, as the chemicals in tap water can be harmful unless left to sit for 24 hours first.
  • Help hedgehogs: The clue is in the name. These welcome garden visitors use hedges to get around without being seen by predators. Hedges are in decline and so therefore are hedgehogs. Give a helping hand by creating borders in your garden using an array of pretty shrubs – and make sure you have a hole at garden level in your fencing big enough for them to get in and out through. In return they will happily munch your slugs and snails.
  • Create a butterfly garden: These are great for teaching the grandkids about wildlife. Bees and butterflies will be best encouraged by a patch of lavender and nasturtium plants mixed together, but an area scattered with wildflower seeds is even easier and can look fantastic.

Landscaping

Gardens can be somewhat treacherous if spread over a number of levels, especially for those of us with mobility issues. Negotiating slippy steps can be a hazard in wet weather, and younger grandchildren are at risk of nasty falls when they visit.

You may have found that getting around with a lawn mower is harder work if your garden is on different levels – and whole sections of your garden can go unused because they are out of sight or difficult to access. For ease and peace of mind consider landscaping your garden to create one larger, safer and more practical space to enjoy all year round.

Grow vegetables

What better excuse to get out in our gardens than by tending to our very own home-grown fruit and veg? You don’t need to attend veg-growing courses to successfully grow your own produce, anyone can do it with just a small amount of space and a packet of seeds!

Courgettes, tomatoes, marrow and broccoli plants do very well both in pots and in the ground, so are great for beginners to start with. Runner beans and sugar snap peas also produce in abundance and give height to vegetable patches.

Strawberry and tomato plants make fun and tasty alternatives to traditional hanging basket plants. Try covering them with nets to prevent pests from attacking the sweet fruits before you have chance to pick them.

Buy a greenhouse

Our young plants can be blighted by British weather sometimes, so having somewhere to grow seedlings until they are strong enough to go outside can save you money and heartache! With the help of a greenhouse you will be able to produce stronger crops for your vegetable patch and an abundance of flowers whatever the weather or growing season.

Growing your plants and produce from seed rather than purchasing established plants from a nursery can save you a fortune, and your greenhouse will give you somewhere sheltered to tend to them even when it’s bad weather outside.

Install decking

If you have an area of your garden that gets plenty of sunshine and would be an ideal location to survey your beautiful garden from, then decking might be exactly what you need to get the most out of your outdoor living space. Decking swiftly becomes the focal point of any garden when done properly, and looks very smart when kitted out with beautiful garden furniture and a BBQ.

Decking can be installed yourself so if you are handy then it could be a great garden project to get stuck into. Otherwise, a joiner will be able to quote you for the job and will be able to take you through a number of choices from budget to top-of-the-range installations.

Build a conservatory

According to a recent report, 32% of retirees who tap into their tax-free cash from their pension fund are spending the money on home improvements*. Conservatories have long been a popular home improvement, especially for those of us approaching retirement who intend to spend more time relaxing and enjoying our gardens all year round.

By building a conservatory you can create a tranquil room in your house to enjoy relaxing and entertaining in, whilst adding immediate value and appeal to your home. They are ideal for growing indoor plants in, especially miniature citrus trees, which give a wonderful sense of being in a warmer climate when you read your morning paper!

*Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Report ‘Pension Freedoms – No More Normal’

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