A beautifully maintained back yard can add vitality, colour and even value to your home – so roll up your sleeves and arm yourself with these ideas to turn your space into the tranquil haven it deserves to be.
You spring clean your house and your wardrobe, so why should your garden miss out? If your backyard is lacking style and personality, then it could be time to give it a bit of love. And you’ll be pleased to know that with a bit of planning and inspiration, it’s easier than you think to create some real impact.
Follow these ten steps to give your backyard space an instant lift!
First, take time to figure out what needs fixing, improving and upgrading.
Ask yourself - could that crumbling fence be fixed or does it need to be replaced? Does the garden shed or outdoor furniture need a lick of paint? Does the garden need more colour, personality or a focal point?
Make a list and then look for inspiration. Scour magazines, Pinterest, even your friend’s and neighbour’s yard for ideas. Your local gardening center may have some suggestions too. Think carefully about your colour scheme and what colours will compliment the colour of your house, and any flowering plants.
2. Functionality First
Don’t forget what you plan on using your garden for. Is it a haven for you to relax? Then perhaps think about a pergola or a swing chair. Do you plan on entertaining? Then some outdoor furniture is a must, and you might even consider a fire pit. If you love to cook, then a barbeque or an outdoor fire is just what you need for summer soirées!
Remember, you don’t always have to buy new. Repurposing old furniture and materials is a sure fire way to add instant personality.
3. Get your tools together
In order to make all this effort worthwhile, then you need the right tools to maintain your space. Buy it right the first time and invest in good quality tools and equipment that will last you many seasons to come. It’s an outlay at the start, but with the right tools you’re more likely to keep your yard maintained.
For smaller courtyards or yards, you’ll need a good pair of secateurs, gloves, a rotary mower (if you have grass), a rake, shovel and trowel, a garden fork, a watering can and a good stiff broom to clean any pavers.
For a larger space, you’ll want to consider a good quality lawnmower, a leaf blower, a wheelbarrow and if you have hedges or a lot of shrubslike having clean edges around brickwork or paves areas, , a brush cutter will make life a lot easier.
If you’re thinking about buying a new lawnmower or brushcutter then 4-Stroke engines are the way to go. They are always more reliable and the times of mixing oil and fuel are over; the petrol that goes in, is the same that you fill up your car with.
4. Do the hard yakka
It’s time for the dirty work, and that means power-washing your decking, patio or pathways around your garden. If you need to paint you fence or shed, put aside a weekend and be sure to sand it down and apply an undercoat before you put on your final colour. And remember, you don’t have to stick to boring brown!
5. Get down with the grass
Think of your grass as your outdoor carpet – once it starts to look brown and unkept it can really bring down the aesthetic of your yard. So put some work into making sure it looks great. Rake vigorously to remove dead thatch, and then apply top dressing that you can buy bagged. This will feed your lawn while encouraging healthy growing to quickly repair bare patches. If you have any specific concerns, visit your local garden center.
6. Shrub love
Next, turn your attention to your plants. Are your existing plants performing as well as they could be? If trees have overgrown leaving them in shade, then consider thinning out branches and trimming back shrubs, or moving the plants to a sunnier spot.
Before you buy any new plants, consider your soil type and how much sun your yard gets. If you find it a challenge for plants to thrive under your watch, then choose a variety native to your area.
Conduct a little research or talk to someone at a local greenhouse or gardening association to find out what plants fit the bill.
7. Get some bloomin' colour
And with spring in full bloom, now is the perfect time to add some colour! If you’re looking to create impact, then it pays to do some planning. Don’t just randomly start sticking plants in the ground hoping they’ll flower - visit your local nursery and ask their advice on what plants would suit your soil, climate and your lifestyle.
8. Go potty
Plants don’t have to go in the ground – pots are a wonderful excuse to add some character to any garden, and are a great solution for small spaces. The best bit? You don’t have to limit yourself to the store-bought variety – let your imagination run wild! Colanders, sea shells, apple crates, old tires and wheelbarrows, tree stumps, even boots or bottles – you are only limited by your imagination. Just fill with soil and add some drainage holes. On a patio, a grouping of different sized pots can serve as a focal point.
9. Add a feature
Outdoor spaces of every size can benefit from a good focal point. You might want to limit it to just one for a small garden, but larger gardens may need several. Water features are fantastic to help create atmosphere – trickling fountains to gushing waterfalls and restful ponds, even as something as simple as a birdbath will look great. You could also opt for a bird feeder, something ornamental such as a statue, large stones, or an arbor or trellis with climbing plants.
Pavers, especially flagstone, can create an interesting and attractive feature walkway too.
10. Install some lighting
For instant impact, you can’t go past lighting. Think about the size of your space, and the mood you’re after. You could set a soft, romantic mood, or perhaps you need illumination for security reasons. A path may need lighting to mark its boundaries, or you want to highlight some features of your backyard.
The choice of garden lighting is simply huge but to save money (and the environment) solar-powered lighting is the way to go.
Do you have any easy and practical tips for sprucing up your backyard? We’d love to hear them!