When you’re looking at potential new homes, there’s nothing worse than falling in love with the interior and then feeling your heart sink as you’re shown through to the garden. For many it’s a deal-breaker, especially if you spend a lot of time outside, but it doesn’t have to be. An unloved garden could bring the price of the property down, and there are plenty of easy ways to improve it once you move in!
Start from scratch
If it feels like there’s no way of salvaging the garden, don’t despair! If in doubt, tear it all up and start again. It may sound drastic, but it will make you feel more positive about getting it re-designed your way, and allow you to see exactly how much space you have to work with. If there are plants you want to keep, weed or dig around them, or transfer them to a pot while you work out a plan.
If the garden hasn’t been worked on in a while, there’s every chance that the wooden fences in place need re-staining. This is important for both practical and aesthetic reasons; while re-staining will obviously improve the colour and condition of the wood, it will also protect it from the wind and rain. A good-quality wood stainer acts as a chemical barrier, preventing the fence from falling apart.
Use an interesting outdoor paving pattern to create a pathway or focal point in your garden. It’s much more durable than wooden decking, and looks great as a patio area for garden furniture or border to a water feature. It’s easy to install and involves practically no management once it’s in place, making it ideal for a low-maintenance garden. Think about the kind of look you want your garden to have – English country, or kitchen? Choose paving that matches a theme, and make small additions around it, for a quick and easy designer look!
Add some decoration
An ornamental garden can look lovely, but a more wallet-friendly version can be created with just a few statement pieces. If it’s big enough, large stone urns and statuettes can create a dramatic centrepiece, while in small gardens the same effect can be achieved with wall hangings and stone faces. Paint the connecting wall of the house to brighten the garden, and add some garden lighting such as lanterns, solar torches, or the more old-fashioned tea candle jars.
If you’ve brought garden furniture from your old home, then working it into your new garden provides you with a starting point. Otherwise, it’s a great opportunity to think about what you’d like to have – table and chairs is nice, but is there room for a swing seat? A dedicated barbecue area is a nice touch, especially useful over summer, and can be made at home with red brick for an impressive and inexpensive centrepiece!