If you don’t know much about plants or gardening, revamping your own space can be a daunting process. As millennials living in the city, many of us don’t have a lot of spare cash, but we’re quick to learn new things and have the confidence to achieve what we set out to.
Although a professionally designed garden is the end goal, many of us have rented spaces and first time homes can require some low-cost cosmetic help to make it a beautiful, accessible and enjoyable place to spend time and host parties in. Follow the steps to transform your neglected outdoor space:
- Tame the jungle
If you’re not faced with a plain concrete square, you’ve most likely got a wall of overgrown green that makes getting out of the back door near impossible. Start by getting rid of this. There’s no short-cut around investing in some heavy-duty gardening gloves and rounding up a few friends to help you remove the unwanted jungle. Start by identifying weeds (look for brambles, nettles and dandelions) and pull these up, ensuing you pull from the base to ensure the whole root is removed. Then pin point any ‘welcome’ plants that might just be overgrown (such as ivy, shrubs and rose bushes), and trim these back to sensible scale (check online for pruning specific plants if you’re not sure). You should then be left with a space that is free from weeds, with a few salvaged plants that can be the base of your garden.
- Assign some areas
If the space is small, you might just have enough for a seating area and some pots. If you’ve got a few extra metres, think about assigning it to a raised bed for growing veggies or a wild flower area. Longer spaces, typical of town gardens, could lend themselves to a seating area, beds, pots and a utility area, giving space for a small shed or space to hang the washing. Decide roughly where you want things to be to help structure the area.
- Plant shopping
If you have no idea where to start, that’s okay! First, have a look at how sunny/shady your space is as this will impact plant choice. Decide if you want plants in pots or to directly in the ground, and start looking at how many you will need – remember, they will grow, so don’t overestimate on numbers. There really are hundreds to choose from, so have a look online at common garden plants, and you’ll get a feel for the style you like. Cottage garden plants involve lots of flowers and abundant foliage, but you can also choose to focus on ferns if you’ve got a shady spot, or go for a colour theme. Going to a garden centre and describing your space to a horticulturalist is a good idea to get first-time advice.
- Garden furniture
You’ll most likely want somewhere to sit outdoors, so buying some garden furniture is a must. You don’t have to spend a fortune, and savvy shoppers can find a table with chairs online for £50 – £100. Think about what materials will compliment the surroundings, while also being durable during winter – avoid paint that will peel or chip in frost. If you’re into upcycling, you can also make the most of old chairs or even construct your own seating from crates, making sure they add tasteful appeal and won’t look tatty or fall apart.
- Finishing touches
A garden needs to be a relaxing and enjoyable space, suiting your passions and needs. Think about what cushions and blankets you can invest in to add comfort on summer days (waterproof options available), and purchasing some lanterns or outdoor fairy lights to make the space usable in the evenings. If you’re into cooking and eating healthily, you can also add some trays for salad leaves or potted herbs, and larger pots for vegetables.
The important thing is to make a start on your space, and watch it develop. Once you’ve got the foundations of space and style, you can constantly add plants or remove elements that aren’t working as you become more confident with gardening. If you’re in need of inspiration, Instagram, Pinterest and gardening magazines are great places to start.