Gardens are the ultimate sanctuary close to home. They are our own private spaces which we can design for our own special needs and spend some important me-time all through the year.
The pandemic has reconnected more of us to our gardens than ever before and, if you’ve been thinking of ways to revamp your green space, you’re not alone.
According to The Guardian, during the pandemic we all seemed to have developed green fingers:
“People around the world are turning to gardening as a soothing, family-friendly hobby that also eases concerns over food security as lockdowns slow the harvesting and distribution of some crops. Fruit and vegetable seed sales are not only jumping in the UK but have gone up worldwide.”
In March this year, the news outlet even reported that sales of garden furniture had seen a boost with many people shopping online and creating spaces where they could entertain friends and family in comfort.
The truth is that many people don’t get the most out of their gardens and the recent pandemic has given us more of an insight into what is possible. Gardens aren’t just simple add-ons to our homes – they’re actually an extra ‘room’ that can have great value.
Here are our top tips for improving your garden area and building something for all the family you’ll want to enjoy for many years to come.
4 Great Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Garden
- Talk with your friendly garden centre: Not all of us have green fingers or spend a lot of time pottering around the garden. But we do want this space to look nice. Your biggest ally here is your local garden centre. They are always more than happy to give advice and work with customers to get the right selections of plants in place. They also sell amazing garden furniture.
- Find a YouTube garden expert: If you’re set on getting on those gardening gloves and doing it yourself, there’s no better starting point than going online. YouTube is a great garden design and maintenance resource, whether you want to create a dining space, improve those borders, grow your veg or attract local wildlife. Here are some great ideas from the Garden Ninja to get you started.
- Decide on a theme: It’s important to start with a clear idea of what you want your garden to be. Themes allow you to not only get the setup right but choose the appropriate plants and decor. For example, you might want to create a butterfly garden so you’ll need to put in insect-friendly wildflowers. Or maybe you want a socializing garden where the furniture and lighting are more important.
- Look what the neighbours are doing: If you’re short of ideas, take a wander around the local neighbourhood and see what other people are doing. You’re sure to get plenty of ideas and don’t be afraid to stop, have a chat and get some advice if you see someone pottering around their garden.
Setting the Tone: Why Planning Helps
Improving your garden area starts with putting a good plan in place. This helps you decide what moves you want to make and how you’d like everything to look.
- Step 1: Settle on your budget. How much you have to spend is going to determine what you can do, it’s as simple as that. You’ll need to budget for big items like garden furniture or garden ornaments. Some jobs like clearing areas and replanting, you may want to do yourself. Other work, like building a new patio or putting down paving, might require hiring professional services.
- Step 2: Draw a plan for your new garden. This means measuring all the dimensions and creating a visual image of what you want to achieve. If you are not into traditional pen and paper, you can find some great software tools online which help you plan everything out. Check out this listing from Learn Hub.
- Step 3: Set a timeline. Some jobs are going to be bigger than others so when practical get these out the way first. Be realistic about how long it’s going to take you to achieve everything and don’t overstretch yourself. If you are buying new garden furniture, leave this to last. The reason for this space can be a little elusive when you are making changes and choosing different design options. Once the basics are in place, you’ll have a better idea of what space you have to play with.
Even Small Gardens Can Have Plenty of Character
Every garden is different, as is every garden owner. Some prefer clean lines and paved areas, others want a little more chaos and a natural world feel.
Even if you have a small garden, there’s a lot you can do if you use your imagination. Creating a small area where you can sit and enjoy your morning coffee or read a book, for example, is easy enough when you invest in a bistro table set or a comfortable recliner.
Adding pots and hanging baskets can be a great way to add colour and aroma without things getting out of control. With any small garden, it’s always best to start with the outer edges as this is usually where the borders and bushes are which can eat up a lot of space. Cutting these back can give you a bit more room.
Create a Garden Space with Purpose
The trick is to create your garden with a clear idea of what you want to achieve. That may sound simple but it’s often where people fail. Think of this as an additional room in your house and don’t be afraid to make bold decisions.
Colour can be important here. Clay and terracotta colours are great for a Mediterranean style vibe. Cool blues and reclaimed wood make you look like your back door is just by the sea. Plants like creeping wild thyme are brilliant for trailing over brick and stonework and providing amazing splashes of colour. In fact, you can cover a multitude of sins with the right flowers and create amazing depth and style.
People often get overwhelmed by the space they have (particularly with much larger gardens) and never make the most of it. Try to think outside the box and not just focus on the length and width of your garden. And take your time – it’s easy to make rash decisions, harder to put them right.
Look Up as Well as Down
One problem we often find in garden design is that owners take a very flat approach. They look at the basic dimensions of length and width and don’t think up and down. What do we mean by this? Walls, trellises and other features in your garden may well provide opportunities to give your garden more depth.
Wall gardens are becoming increasingly popular in urban spaces and they’re relatively easy to install and maintain. Check out this guide on how to build a wall garden using recycled pallets:
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Raising one or two areas of your garden can also make a difference to the dynamics, its look and feel, especially if you want to create a dining section with seating.
Even in gardens that have been largely paved over, there’s the opportunity to add pots and plants of all varieties. If you want to start growing some veg – something that’s become more popular in recent times – you can install raised beds which are easy to manage and are perfect for the job.
The Benefits of a Little Rewilding
There’s been a lot of focus in the last few years on how bee numbers and other insects are dwindling, especially in urban areas. Putting a little rewilding into your garden plan can make a difference. You can plant some wildflowers in a tub or create a habit for hedgehogs, frogs and toads and bees and butterflies.
Check out these simple tips from the Natural History Museum.
This is not everyone’s cup of tea but if you have a growing family it’s certainly something to consider. If you want to get the kids involved, building a habitat and then installing a nature camera can be a great learning experience. Not only that, you’ll be helping the environment and giving all sorts of colourful characters a place to visit and even live.
Patio vs Grass vs Paving: Something to think about
More than 10 million gardens in the UK are either nearly entirely or totally paved over. While that can be perfect for some people, others want a more natural look to their backyard. If you’re thinking of replacing existing paving or something like a stone patio, the swap gives you a lot of different options.
There’s a growing trend for reversing paved over garden spaces and it doesn’t need to be as frightening as many people think. A lawn is relatively easy to maintain, even over the summer and can be a great place to set up some amazing garden furniture.
7 Things That Add Style to Your Garden Area
- Great garden furniture: If you are planning to use your yard a lot, the garden furniture you choose is going to be important. It’s critical to take your time over your selection and look at all the options available. Great garden furniture acts as a focal point is probably going to be your biggest single investment outside of paying someone to do the work of transforming your space.
- Plant a tree: Trees not only provide shade and add a new dimension to your garden, but they’re also great for the planet too. Trees can also screen unattractive views and cut down the noise from the street outside. You can get more mature trees that are bigger from specialist retailers.
- Create a water feature: Even in smaller gardens, a water feature such as a pond or a trickling stream can make a big difference. These not only attract local wildlife but have a calming influence, perfect for those balmy summer evenings when you just want to sit back and sip a glass of wine or chew the fat with friends and family.
- Inspirational paving: While paving can be invasive in some cases, in certain parts of the garden it helps create a really compelling feature. There are lots of options here – if you’re stuck with bland brown slabs, it may be time to switch to something a little funkier. Check out these ideas from HomeBNC for inspiration.
- Creating levels: If you have a large enough garden and it’s pretty flat, you may think there is nothing you can do. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to create different levels and you don’t have to be a landscape gardener to do it. Check out these contouring ideas for gardens big and small.
- Screening and zoning your garden: For bigger gardens, creating different sections can be a great way to add style and sophistication. For example, you may have a water feature in one area, a wildlife garden and an area for entertaining. Zoning is basically about using your garden more efficiently. Find out more here.
- Lighting: It’s amazing the number of gardens nowadays that have beads of lighting draped over walls and through trees and bushes. There’s a good reason for this, it looks fantastic and it’s pretty cheap to do. Adding one or two light features to your garden adds plenty of atmosphere all year round.
Choosing Your Garden Furniture
Once you’ve created the layout of your garden space and are happy with the design, all that’s left is to bring the garden furniture in to finish things off. The reason this is best done at the end is that any changes can alter the amount of space you have available.
Once you can clearly see what your new garden looks like, it should be easy to pick the right furniture set that meets your needs.
Here are just some of the options:
For smaller gardens or if you want to create an intimate space for just a few people, bistro sets are perfect. These usually comprise a small round or square table and chairs or recliners/loungers. You often get these with parasols or canopies that can help keep the heat of the sun away.
These are also brilliant for areas like small patios or if you have a conservatory as they can be used both indoors and out. What people look for in a bistro set is usually a compact design that can be stored away when not in use. Just because they are small, however, doesn’t mean that can’t look fantastic.
For the height of opulence and larger spaces, garden sofas are one of the best investments you can make and they really deliver a statement for what your garden is all about.
These range from 4 to 8 seater designs and can come with accessories such as tables, footstools and even coolers. They’re perfect for when you get the whole family together or get friends around for your annual barbecue.
Garden Dining Sets
If you regularly entertain and are looking for an outdoor dining set, then there are also plenty of different options here.
These include products that seat up to 12 people and dining tables that have central firepits or chiller systems. These are perfect for patios and raised garden areas with spectacular views.
Types of Garden Furniture
The material your garden furniture is made from will probably be a factor in your choice and everyone has their personal preference. The most common and durable garden furniture types are:
- Rattan: Probably the most popular material because it looks natural and is perfect for the garden.
- Wood: Hardwoods like teak can be great for the garden but do require regular maintenance.
- Metal: Aluminium, steel and wrought iron are all popular choices. Aluminium is ultra-light and rust-resistant.
- Plastic: Often seen as the cheap option, there is plenty of quality garden sets available and the material is highly durable and easy to maintain.
How Much Should I Spend on Garden Furniture?
Garden furniture can vary in price from just a few hundred pounds to several thousand, depending on what your choices are and how much you want to invest. While it’s important to keep within your budget, it’s also a good idea to get the best quality garden furniture you can buy for your cash.
Check out the best brands such as Kettler, Lifestyle Garden, Bramblecrest, Bridgman and Four Seasons Outdoor if you want to be sure of the quality. You can often find great deals at your local garden centre who will normally have a range of furniture on display.
Avoid These Garden Furniture Mistakes
There are some mistakes that we see quite often when it comes to buying garden furniture, whether it’s a small bistro set or a large corner sofa. Especially if you are buying online, it’s important to be aware of certain pitfalls.
- Not measuring properly: We can’t overstate this enough. Before you even step foot into a showroom or search online, it’s essential to measure your space. This is not only to make sure that your new garden furniture fits but that you also have room to do whatever else you want to do, such as stretch out your feet or put in a small drinks table.
- Thinking about your space: The picture you may see in a brochure may look amazing but it might not fit perfectly with your garden and its surroundings. You don’t have to completely fit furniture into a patio space, for example. Sometimes a smaller unit in one corner can work a lot better.
- Thinking about materials: This can vary from location to location. For example, if you have a garden that is in direct sunlight you may want material that is resistant to high levels of UV – not all garden furniture is. If you live in a windy location, you may be better off buying a heavy wrought iron bistro set rather than one made out of rattan.
- Relying too much on aesthetics: We can often get hung up on how attractive a piece looks and are totally distracted by the aesthetics. It’s important to also consider the practicalities of your garden furniture and whether it fully meets your needs.
- Finishing touches: These can make all the difference and it’s worth holding back and looking at all the options before you decide on your garden furniture. For example, having stackable chairs can make a big difference to storage.
- Matching colours: This can be a little difficult to understand for some customers. When you decorate an interior room, you are trying to match different colour schemes. With your garden, you have a ready-made colour arrangement, even if you have control over the plants and blooms. Bold colours in furniture don’t always work that well and opting for more muted greens, blues or greys can often be better choices when the whole look is taken into account.
Where Can I Buy Garden Furniture Online?
The good news is that you can buy amazing garden furniture online as well as from a showroom with some extremely competitive pricing on today’s top brands.
Gardenfurniture.co.uk is based in Knaresborough but we deliver high-quality brands such as Kettler, Lifestyle Garden, Bramblecrest, Bridgman and Four Seasons Outdoor all across the UK. You can browse our catalogue in the comfort of your own home and then order online with complete confidence.
We’ve spent a lot of time choosing the best bistro sets, loungers and recliners, garden sofas and dining sets we think our customers are going to appreciate.
With free delivery anywhere in the UK, we pride ourselves on a high level of customer service. That includes amazing warranties and a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.
If you’d like to see some of the best garden furniture brands, browse our extensive catalogue today.