National Gardening Week 2019

Thu, Apr 25, 2019

Having an attractive outdoor space is one of the greatest value-adds a home can have and will help sell any property faster. Spring is the perfect time to be getting yours just right, whether it’s to attract a buyer or just sit back and enjoy for yourself.

A great garden doesn’t have to mean a lot of hard work, either – if you know you don’t have the time or inclination to devote to it, just opt for something simple, tidy and low-maintenance. In celebration of National Gardening Week 2019, 27th April - 5 May we have put together 20 easy gardening tips...

  1. Nothing looks better than a well cared-for lawn
    Keep edges neatly trimmed (you don’t need special tools – an old kitchen knife will do if you haven’t got a huge area to tackle) and grass neatly cut. In hot spells let the grass grow longer to keep moisture in and prevent browning in the sun. If it’s looking a bit sparse, reseed and use lawn feed to bring out the lush green again.
  2. Keep driveways, paths and patios weed-free and clear or moss and lichen
    Weed-burners are effective but pricey; if you don’t like the idea of toxic weedkillers, try spraying with neat vinegar (be careful not to hit the grass as it will kill that too). A pressure washer will do a great job of cleaning hard surfaces but can be time consuming, and an expensive investment.

  3. No-one likes weeding!
    Cover exposed soil in borders with pea-gravel or slate chips so light can’t get through to encourage their growth.
  4. Not confident about what to plant, when and where?
    Buy ready-planted pots in garden centres or large supermarkets and dot them around patios and doorways for colour – the labels will explain exactly where they’ll flourish best.
  5. Going potty?
    If you’d like to have a go at potting your own, geraniums are hardy, bright and cheap without being gaudy (the Spanish have them EVERYWHERE!) and look great in a simple terracotta pot. Buy in packs of six – they might look small but they grow so leave room for them to fill out – and plant in single colour groups or mix red and white for impact.
  6. Make your garden practical as well as pretty
    Lean an old wooden stepladder against a wall or buy an ‘etagere’ from the garden centre as shelves to stack up mini pots of herbs and salads that cost as little as £1 or less.
  7. Pruning
    Cut back any shrubs which spill onto paths and lawns – they’ll cause moss, collect dead leaves and create bald patches on lawns.
  8. Outdoor ‘rooms’ are a lovely escape and can be a great selling feature
    A cheap shed painted in a pretty colour and draped with bunting (bought or made out of fabric scraps) looks fun and far too good for tool storage!
  9. Borders
    If you decide to replant borders, buy good quality plants from a garden centre where you can get advice from staff about how best to site and care for them.
  10. ‘Dress’ your garden like you would a room to reflect your character and style
    We’ve seen reclaimed crates and vintage tea cups, old plant pots, grouped champagne bottles and even rusty bikes, old wellies and watering cans used as plant holders – and they look amazing! Solar fairy lights are super-cheap in supermarkets and bargain shops but make a garden sparkle after dark – great for entertaining.
  11. Water, water everywhere – especially if you’re trying to establish new plants or improve a lawn
    If you have pots or window boxes remember they’ll need a liquid feed to keep them blooming (or buy the slow-release capsules to embed in the soil if you know you’ll forget).
  12. Water features
    A water feature might sound very grand but, if you don’t have the budget to buy – though they needn’t be expensive - and can be as simple as burying an old basin or tub in soft soil up to ground level and installing a solar pump to keep the water moving, hiding the edges with some planting and buying a few water-plants to keep the water clear. The trickle of moving water on a hot day is worth the effort (though be wary of any water feature if you have young children).
  13. An outdoor bar!
    An old pallet painted and fixed to the wall with a hinged drop-down flap takes up minimal space and looks amazing! Go to Pinterest for further inspiration
  14. Your very own Terracotta Army
    Terracotta pots look much better than plastic ones and better still, if you style them up using paint tester pots then group them in contrasting or toning colours.
  15. Keep garden furniture clean
    Green stains and mildew don’t shout ‘sit here and relax’! Wipe over PVC items and for wooden furniture clean, re-treat with preservative or paint with an all-weather product. Keep cheap cushions and blankets in a tub or crate that can be brought outside for warmth and colour if needed and stored when wet.
  16. Ugly old fence that you can’t replace?
    Plant ivy. It grows incredibly fast, spreads like wildfire and covers a multitude of sins!
  17. Missing paving slabs or threadbare areas?
    Make your own mosaic to fill the gap by spreading an ready-made cement mix and pushing in pretty pebbles or shells, coloured marbles, broken tiles or smooth glass. Keep children and pets away till it dries.
  18. Hide hideous bins
    Store your bins behind a painted fence panel or keep in a side passage, no-one wants to a thing the size and colour of a tank in their pretty garden.
  19. Bare areas?
    If you have bare areas of soil you can’t afford to plant out, just sow a packet of wildflower seeds, follow the instructions, and wait for the colourburst…
  20. To tip or not to tip?
    That pile of old twigs, logs, bricks and pots doesn’t have to mean a trip to the tip…stack them in layers in a shady part of the garden against a wall, shed or fence and you have a wildlife habitat for mini creatures and insects. Take a look at this fantastic idea from Gardeners World.

National Gardening Week is run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to raise awareness of gardening and horticulture, and to encourage more people to take part in the healthy and productive outdoor activity of gardening. Learn more...