Since lockdown people have been spending more time in their gardens and have been wondering how to improve them. Whether you want a quick spruce by painting fences and old sheds, injecting new contemporary furniture or creating a garden room as an office or gym, here are some ideas for you.
New paneled fencing can be quite costly, if your current posts are OK you could remove the old panels and replace with roof battens which you can buy from any builders merchants. These can also be painted to give a more modern look. If you need to replace your fencing, you should use concrete gravel boards and posts to increase the longevity of your fence panels which simply slot between the posts. You may need to get the builders in for this job.
It is always nice to have as much green in the garden, however a lot of London houses only have small gardens so you may want to consider artificial grass as this is low maintenance, green all year round and no mud in the winter being walked into the house. It is more of an investment, but you won’t have any mowing to do!
If your garden allows, it is always good to have a patio area for seating as well as a lawn. To know what size your patio should be will depend on what you want to use this space for e.g. outdoor dining, soft seating, BBQ etc. If you have grass you may think about a tiled pathway to your garden room / shed at the end of your garden as it can get quite muddy in the winter. When choosing your outdoor tile make sure it is frost proof, so they don’t crack in the winter.
A lot of modern houses now have their kitchens connected to the patio through large glazed doors and therefore may not need outdoor dining table as you can simply open the doors and feel like you are sitting in the garden. If your budget is tight think about building your own fixed seating with storage and adding cushions as a cost saving.
Your choice of plants really depends on whether you enjoy pottering in the garden tending to your flowers or whether you want a low maintenance garden. If it is low maintenance, then evergreen plants and shrubs are the best for you. Also check which areas of your garden get the most sun and which do not and choose your plants accordingly. If you want varying colour in your planting, then check when they flower so you always have some colour all year round. Think about building planters around the edges of your garden to soften the look this could also double up as some fixed seating.
Sheds are more expensive than you think as you need to prepare the area e.g. remove any shrubs, roots etc. and then it is best to lay a concrete foundation as the shed will last longer and ensure your shed supplier provides FSC certified sustainable wood. If you want to create an office or gym you could incorporate the shed within this building and use the full width of your garden. There are lots of companies offering a wide range of garden rooms to fit all budgets.
However, you need to consider the exact purpose of this room, does it need water, waste and electrics? If you need water & waste you need to dig up your garden and connect to the services of your home. You also need to consider the collection of rainwater, if you don’t need drainage for a toilet you still need to consider how to allow rainwater to run away from the room so it doesn’t become damp. Two simple solutions is have a slanted roof with an overhang so the rain just runs off into the soil behind the room or have a rainwater collection bin and reuse this water to water your plants this is the most sustainable option.
Every garden party needs a BBQ however most are ugly so why not try and create an outdoor kitchen area by simply building a structure around it that could house an outdoor fridge, worktop, pizza oven etc. There are so many ways to build this you can use recycled pallets which you could easily paint the wood to match your fence if this is the look you are going for.
To create a great atmosphere when the sun goes down you need to think about lighting and heating. With lighting there are so many choices, battery operated, solar powered or if you are digging up the flower beds you can lay cabling for up lights around the whole garden. Don’t forget this is the UK you need to keep your guests warm when the sun goes down so you can continue to enjoy your lovely garden. There are many fire pits out there, when choosing your logs or coal don’t forget about the environment and choose the smokeless option.
Hopefully, we have given you some cost-effective ideas of how to improve your garden space. Please tag us @mariekalsi in any of your Instagram shots of your garden transformations we would love to see them.