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If you own a property, rent out a property or rent a property chances are you might have a garden, or access to some outside space. As Brits we are a nation of garden lovers and green spaces and it really does make a huge difference if you look out of your windows and see some green and flowers / shrubs even in gloomy (and freezing) February.

If you own a house and are considering moving, maybe a quick few hours in the garden planting some spring plants and bulbs could make all the difference when viewings are happening. If you are a landlord, your property might pip the others to the post by a pretty flowering tree or a bit of well- kept lawn, plus if it’s well-kept then your tenants are more likely to keep it this way. And if you are a tenant or homeowner, we hope you might agree or find that gardening can be therapeutic and develop imagination and creativity you never thought you had before.

Gardening can be time-consuming, and also a bit daunting if you don’t know what to plant when, where and how. It can also be quite frustrating (and costly) when things die or are eaten by the ever present slugs or snails that reside with happiness in our Bristol gardens!

Gardens are different every season, and as such this simple guide is to hopefully give some ideas for a bit of garden ideas for planting and decoration that will last all year round and take minimal upkeep. You don’t need a massive budget, just some gardening tools, and a bit of TLC. Gardening is also a really good way to keep fit, do it regularly and who knows you could ditch the gym membership.

Patios & pots & small gardens

If you have a patio, then an easy quick spruce solution can be cleaning it! Pop to B&Q and get a stone / patio / decking cleaner, some warm water, a broom and you’ll be amazed at the difference. Then the addition of some pots will make all the difference. Choose compost specially designed for pots and containers, grab some 3 for 2 pots from local garden centre / B&Q / Wilkinson’s, make sure you have some drainage holes, add a small layer of stones or even polystyrene then your compost and choose plants that are Perennial for instant impact (i.e. they come back every year) or bulbs (that come back every year) if you plant summer bulbs now in a few months your pots will look stunning. Choose plants for shade or sunny spots, they are all clearly marked normally.

Read here for more small garden ideas http://www.idealhome.co.uk/garden/garden-ideas/small- garden-ideas- 2-174377

Small lawns

Even a small garden can look bigger with a lovely expanse of green, mow your lawn regularly in the summer and then give it a good cut as winter draws in. You can get some lawn feed to keep weeds down and keep it looking tidy and then use a trowel or gardening fork (a big one) to poke some holes into the lawn annually to aerate it and keep it all nicely drained and healthy. You can also (if the lawn looks a bit plain) plant a tree in the middle as long as you clear a circle of turf and dig down deep enough for the tree root ball, or use a bulb- planter tool to gouge out tiny circles of turf, pop in a bulb, pop the turf back, water and then come spring or summer you’ve got flowers appearing in your lawn annually – plus they will spread!

Different Themed Garden/Areas

veggie containers

Photo credit: rhs.co.uk

If all you have is a windowsill or tiny spaces then consider what you really want from a garden? Do you want to grow something? How about a herb garden? Or chilli plant (you’ll need a sunny protected space) or do you just want to see some butterflies and buzzing bees? Plant a wildlife garden or if you really want to grow veg but just have a patio then do some container growing, lots of things like strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce and more grow really well in pots but be warned you do need to water them more in containers than a veg bed. More info on veggie growing in pots here https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=527 and here

Lighting

Don’t underestimate how much lighting or even mirrors can bring to a small space, solar lights are cheap (Poundstretcher have a great range https://www.poundstretcher.co.uk/garden- outdoor/solar-lights ) and colourful and range from elegant lanterns to owls with glowing eyes, something for all tastes. A string of solar lights around a straggly bush can also be a transformation.

General TLC For Gardens in Spring

  • Mow the lawn when spring is here in a few weeks
  • Clear weeds, any leaf debris
  • Prune large / overgrown bushes and trees (They are quite hardy, but look online for images
  • and care guidelines if you aren’t sure)
  • Put a layer of compost on flower beds; dig a layer into your pots
  • Give garden furniture / patios / decking a scrub
  • Paint / protect any fences / sheds
  • Look online for ideas
  • Chat to your landlord if you are a keen gardener as they may be prepared to share the costs of some longer-term planting ideas