5 Tips for getting your garden ready for summer

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During the winter months, many British gardens can find themselves neglected and look a tad melancholy. Most plants have died back, there have been months of long, dark, cold days where few people feel like venturing out into the garden. There are lots of things you could do in the coming weeks to help get your garden ready for summer.

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1. Have a spring clean

Spring is the best time to tackle a bit of garden maintenance. Sweep up, take a bucket of soapy water to garden furniture, check that gates and fences are upright and secure. Does anything need a lick of paint or wood preservative? Is the guttering full of autumn leaves? Is the barbecue rusty?

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2. Sow annuals and bulbs

Nothing makes a garden more attractive than colourful, scented, flowering plants. For a quick and easy fix, you can sow annual native wild flower seeds; corncockles and corn marigolds, poppies and buttercups. Bulbs are the gift that keep on giving; they’re low maintenance and the flowers come back year after year. We planted some dolly tubs with mixed bulbs about 18 months ago and they’ve been providing colour and beauty to our garden once again since January this year. We can’t recommend them highly enough.

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3. Re-pot plants that have outgrown their containers

Most plants are dormant in early spring, the ideal time to divide and re-pot plants that have become crowded and pot-bound. Whether you’re after a few new terracotta, metal or plastic containers, you can find a large range of pots, planters and window boxes online. Not only will you get more plants, you’ll be rewarded with stronger, healthier ones that will flower more profusely.

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4. Decorate

Decorating isn’t just for indoors. There are often large expanses of shabby wall or fence that could be livened up with paint or trellis. Perhaps you’ve got room for a shed, summer house or shepherd’s hut – somewhere to decamp on long hot days. Create a designated al fresco dining space. Put up strings of bunting and fairy lights. Consider sculptures and water features that can bring added interest and focal points to an outside space. Install a couple of gnomes if that’s more to your taste! 🙂

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5. Don’t forget the wildlife!

Visiting wildlife brings interest to a garden. It’s easy to entice them in – birds, insects, frogs and toads… even the odd hedgehog or two if you’re lucky! Make your garden a welcoming haven; provide food and water stations and places to shelter, nest and spawn. Nectar-rich flowers are loved by all sorts of critters. You’ll soon be rewarded with the buzz of bees, the song of blackbirds and robins, colourful finches and butterflies flitting about – and perhaps some fledglings to watch grow up.

Get their look: Sociable patio space

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We’ve had a couple of really lovely sunny days in the past week and we’ve been making the most of them. We’ve tidied up our back garden and planted the first few bulbs and seeds on the allotment.

This sociable patio space is just the type of thing we like. It’s not huge, but the white-painted fence and decking as well as the split level areas makes it appear much larger than it actually is. The patio is cleverly ‘zoned’ with separate places for eating and lounging. The collection of mirrors bounce light around and, along with the artwork, bring the inside out.

  1. Wrought iron garden set
  2. Striped cushion cover
  3. Brass flamingo sculptures
  4. Circular mosaic mirror
  5. Frosted high ball glasses
  6. Poly-rattan garden furniture set

Get their look: sociable patio space | H is for Home

Home Tones: Terracotta

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This week’s Home Tone is terracotta. We’re sticking with the natural material for our images – whether it be floor tiles, brickwork or pots. This is our favourite use of the colour, particularly when it’s aged or weathered. The baked clay of terracotta comes in various shades from light & chalky to dark orange, but they all tend to have a warm, natural feel. It works really well with creams and greens – and other natural materials such as sea grass and cane – and pale woods such as light oak or beech.

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Urban roof terrace with red brick feature wall and terracotta planterscredit

Blue painted fitted kitchen with red brick stove alcove and terracotta floorcredit

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Etsy List: Plant a tree

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'Plant a tree' Etsy List curated by H is for Home

It’s the 30th annual National Tree Week between 28th November and 6th December 2015. The Tree Council (yes, there is such an organisation) launched a campaign in the response to the Dutch Elm Disease crisis of the 60s which destroyed millions of trees. Tree Week grew out of this – and here we are in the 21st century rising to the challenge of Ash Dieback.

Get involved in a community event near you, or simply by gifting a tree or planting one of your own!

Plant a tree
Curated by H is for Home

10 Perfect plans for the smaller garden

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Having a smaller garden may seem like a huge drawback with limited options but there are ways to spruce up your garden so that you can enjoy it no matter what size it is. Knowing how to decorate and plan for a small garden will ensure that no space goes to waste – these ten tips will help you to bring your garden to life regardless of its shape and size.

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  1. Growing Herbs

No matter how small your garden is, there will always be enough room to grow your own herbs. People grow them in their apartments, balconies, windowsills and patios. There are lots of different herbs you can easily grow, such as basil, parsley, coriander and thyme; all perfect for picking and adding to your cooking.

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  1. Make a Pond

You can attract wildlife and nature into your garden by building a small pond. Choose an area that gets a lot of sunshine and try to keep the pond as clean as possible so that your creature friends can enjoy their new home.

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  1. Layered Steps

With limited space, there may not be enough room for steps that go outwards, which is why layered steps that go up instead are the perfect feature for a small garden. It will add a touch of sophistication to your garden and kids will love using the steps as stepping stones while they are outside playing.

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  1. Climbing Plants

If you can’t grow flowers and plants on the ground, then why not grow them up your walls and fences instead? Birds adore climbing plants such as ivy and may even choose to make a nest in yours.

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  1. Composting

According to nationalgardeningweek.org if you want your garden to be alive with wildlife, building a compost heap is a sure way to attract them whilst also enriching your soil.

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  1. Lighting

Add some light into your garden at night with outdoor lanterns and fairy lights. If you ever feel like having a party, turning the lights on outside will add a nice romantic ambience.

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  1. Flowers

Flowers instantly brighten up our homes and gardens, which is why they are something of a garden necessity. Having a small garden doesn’t mean that you can’t have flowers. Use small pots and position them in a way that saves the most space. Flowering plants such as this great example are great at attracting wildlife such as butterflies and bees to your garden.

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  1. Garden Furniture

Adding a small garden bench to your garden will provide you with a place to sit and enjoy the view. If you have enough space, you could also add a small table and a few extra garden chairs.

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  1. Garden Ornaments

Adding a few ornaments can make your garden appear more welcoming and complete. There are thousands to choose from, including sculptures, stone bird baths, saddlestones etc.

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  1. Lighter Walls

According to UKTV, you can create the illusion of a larger garden by painting brick walls white. It is thought that by choosing lighter paving slabs and lighter exterior paint, you can make a small space seem bigger and more spacious.

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Gimme Five! Perennials to plant in the summer

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five perennials to plant in the summer

Did you watch any of the Chelsea Flower Show last month? Were you lucky enough to visit in person? We were glued to the screen on every day. We were in agreement that Dan Pearson’s garden should win best in show.

However, it was the flower marquee that effected the most ‘oohs’ & ‘ahhs’ from us. The colourful, perfectly poker straight lupins; the bright, almost radioactive daffodils; the delicate lilies and all the exotic & alien-looking blooms shipped in from around the world.

The sights made us feel slightly inferior about our own outside area. Our flowering dolly tubs that began flowering way back in January have now just about gone over. We’re now thinking about what perennials we can add to extend the colour and structure beyond June.

As we’ve said in the past, we love planting bulbs and seeds that can just be left to flower, die back and reappear again even bigger & stronger the following year. Here are some perennials to plant in the summer that we have our eye on.

  1. Chinese lantern ‘alkekengi‘ – 200 seeds: 99p, eBay
  2. Himalayan blue poppy ‘meconopsis baileyi’ Hensol Violet – 40 seeds: £2.99, Thompson Morgan
  3. Foxglove ‘digitalis’ Woodlanders Mix – 500 seeds: £1.99, Marshalls Seeds
  4. Teasel ‘dispacus fullonum’ – 160 seeds: £2.49, Suttons
  5. Noble lupin collection: £14.99, Crocus