With the current health climate and concerns about travelling it makes sense to stay home and enjoy your own house, garden and if possible local parks during the holidays, but what if your garden is more overgrown jungle than picturesque oasis? Well a mini makeover may be what it needs to get it ready for you, the family and the holiday period.
Planning the work is one of the most important steps and there are a few things to consider, you don’t want a half finished garden come holiday time so give yourself a few weeks’ buffer for bad weather and other possible mishaps such as a delay on products getting delivered.
Being at home come the end of your garden makeover is also great as it gives you time to establish the new plants however no matter how hard wearing your lawn variety is it needs to be established long before the introduction of busy feet to perform to its best so give your new lawn plenty of time to put down roots and grow in well.
In the planning stage try and keep to low maintenance plants and materials, Low maintenance plants will give you more time to enjoy the space with loved ones. Focus your planting on foliage-based plants for year-round interest and then you are not relying on flowers to keep your attention as these can be fickle and might only bloom right at the end of you at home period. Hardy succulents such as Crassula, Euphorbia and Cotyledons give lovely form and colour and can handle a multitude of sun or semi shade and combine well with a variety of plant palettes.
When it comes to materials hard wearing choices such as porcelain paving over natural stone will mean less fear of staining from muddy boots or dare I say a split glass of red. When giving your garden some love to improve the appearance you don’t need to completely change the whole lot – a few tweaks such as renovating or replacing the lawn or cleaning the paving may be all it needs to turn it into a welcoming space.
Every garden does need a good lawn and more so during a holiday period, they are perfect for a relaxing stretch out in the sun or for watching the kids run around on. Selecting the right lawn for your garden is also important, do you need a hardy ‘TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda’ that can take boots and balls? Are you after the prestige look of the soft fine leaf of Sir Grange Zoysia for a sunning session or are you after a good all-rounder that can take a little less sun like Sir Walter Buffalo? Getting the right grass is a great way to set the tone for the rest of the holiday season.
Lawn is a great entertainer for kids but you should also consider an area for adults to relax in, try to think about all the seasons when planning this area, you’ll need sun protection from a roof or retractable cover such as an awning or umbrella in the warm months and then maybe space for a fire pit area for the cooler months. Surround the area with plants to increase the feeling of being outside, this really improves the overall look as it softens and help give the impression your ‘away’ from home.
The addition of lighting to your garden is a great way to improve the ambience of the area and make it feel like a whole new space as the sun goes down, never have a light at eye level as you risk the lighting feeling uncomfortable. Instead wash light across your hedging and lawns to create shadows and interest and then pick out key features to up or down light for some extra drama.
Your last consideration should be to plan to not be there, it’s great that you can spend so much time in the garden right now or during the holiday periods but creating a garden that is sustainable when you cannot give it as much time will lead to you wanting to be in it more as it will look better for it. Simple options include picking suitable plants for the aspect, soil type and climate.
Create wicking veggie garden beds (those with a built in water reservoir to combat drought and less irrigation), install simple and effective drip irrigation systems both to your garden beds and lawn areas so you don’t need to panic if you can’t spend the time watering and keep up with basic maintenance like mulching and fertilising.