The temperature is rising, the days are getting longer and the garden is becoming greener.
At this time of the year, your garden really comes into its own. It forms an extension of your house; an extra space where you can relax on your own or entertain family and friends.
And don’t worry if your garden is not looking its best – there are many ways you can freshen it up for summer.
How green is your grass?
The lawn plays a vital role in the overall appearance of a garden, and if yours is looking rather patchy it can spoil the entire landscape.
First, try and tackle any weeds and moss that may have taken over. Moss is a common problem and can be caused by poor growing conditions, perhaps as a result of drought or waterlogging.
Chemical moss and weed killers will often solve the problem, and you can combine them with a plant food to help restore the health of your grass. However, if you have a persistent problem with moss, it may be down to underlying conditions.
If you have a newly laid lawn, it could be due to inadequate site preparation. On established lawns, the problem could be acidic soil conditions, insufficient aeration or poor drainage.
If your grass is looking particularly unsightly, now is the time to replace it and lay a brand new lawn. It’s best to use fresh turf rather than seed as this gives you an instantly usable lawn. Before investing in new turf, check with the experts to see how much topsoil is required to improve growing conditions.
Resourceful planting and watering schemes
At this time of year, plants shoot up rapidly, and it’s easy for a garden to quickly become overgrown. This is when a clever planting scheme will pay dividends.
Easy to maintain, Mediterranean herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme are all used to hot climates and can withstand long periods without watering. And, of course, they come in handy in the kitchen. Spiky yuccas, berberis and hebes are also low maintenance and don’t mind dry soil and full sun.
It may be worth thinking about incorporating a water butt into your garden design in order to save rainwater. You can run a hose from the water butt, making watering easy and conserving energy.
Create a barbeque and entertainment area
Don’t let the summer months slip by without making the most of the social opportunities a garden entertainment area can provide.
The fastest way to smarten up a tired space is to lay new paving. A contoured patio with a contemporary design can transform the shabbiest of gardens.
Flagstone is both hardwearing and attractive. It can be used to create new paths, patios and seating areas. There is a broad range of flagstone designs to choose from, and you can easily pick a shade and size that will suit your property and blend in with your garden.
The beauty of flagstone paving is that it is low maintenance and will stay in pristine condition for years to come.
Make space for nature
Butterflies, bees and birds all have a part to play in the landscape of a garden.
To make your garden wildlife friendly, incorporate a varied planting scheme with plenty of nectar-giving flowers. Butterflies adore cottage garden favourites such as Sweet William, honeysuckle and Michaelmas daisy. Buddleia is famous for attracting a huge variety of butterflies and is known as the butterfly bush.
Birds have three basic requirements: food, water and shelter. If you offer any of these, you will encourage more species to visit your garden. Water is essential to birds for both drinking and bathing.
An excellent way to bring more birds into your garden is to build a wildlife pond. This can be anything from a simple shallow pool to an elaborate two-tier water feature that allows for a cascade of running water.
Light up late nights
We’ve all enjoyed relaxing in the garden late into the evening, so why not make it easy to stay outdoors for as long as you want.
There are many ways to light up your garden after dark from simple solar lamps to beaming floodlights. Solar lamps can be positioned anywhere in the garden and create an atmospheric glow. They can be placed in strategic positions to highlight particular areas or planted in a row to outline the sides of a path.
Accent lighting is ideal for displaying individual features and creating focal points. Spotlights on either side of an ornament or pond will draw attention to it and give a soft effect.
Strings of coloured lights are perfect for al fresco entertaining as they can be placed around a dining area and give an immediate party feel.
As you can see, there’s plenty you can do to make your garden an enjoyable and eye-catching place to spend the summer.