Are you looking for garden ideas for a difficult part of your garden?
Perhaps you’ve changed the way you use the space or something needs replacing, such as a dead tree or a rotting shed?
Or you’d just like more wow factor as you step out the back door or look out of the window?
Garden designers would advise you to consider your garden as a whole. And, of course, they’re right.
But unless you have the budget to have your entire garden re-vamped, most of us tend to renovate our garden bit by bit.
This is a two-part post. In this first part, I’ll look at ideas for the area closest to the house, because this is what you see when you look out of the window or step out of the back door.
Part 2 will look at garden ideas for difficult corners and neglected areas.
Garden ideas for the outdoor space closest to the house
One tried and tested garden design tip is to have the neater, more formal or structured areas close to the house.
Then, even if you have quite a small garden, you can vary the feel, with a wilder or more open areas further away from the house. This is what we decided to do.
When we moved in the garden was sloping, so we decided to make a formal clipped lawn area which we call the parterre. It’s divided into four with paths to echo the four rooms on the ground floor of the house.
And the other good design tip is to echo the house’s materials or architectural features close to the house.
Remember the principle of mass v void
One of the most basic principles of garden design is that you need a balance of mass and void.
This means balancing out the flat areas, such as the lawn, terracing and paths, with three-dimensional elements such as trees, shrubs, sheds and pergolas.
You can find out more about this in the principles of garden
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You can sense it in the slowly stretching evenings, the higher skies, the shifting quality of light, and the noisy chatter of birds. And you can see it in the flowering hellebores, witch-hazel and sweetly perfumed daphne, as well as the snowdrops, daffodils, cyclamen, aconites, crocuses and dwarf irises that have pushed their snouts through cold, wet soil to burst into determined, brilliant bloom.
Q: Could you please recommend a good peat-free seed compost? I’ve tried a few over the last few years but haven’t had great results. I’d really like to do the right thing environmentally but am now at the point where I’m sorely tempted to go back to using a conventional peat-based compost. CF County Kerry
Orchids seem to do best if a greenhouse is devoted solely to their cultivation, though some types such as Odontoglossum grande and Coelogyne cristata will succeed very well in a general collection of plants.
One of the greatest drawbacks to successful gardening is badly drained ground. Wherever water lies in the ground at a depth easily reached by the roots of most cultivated plants they do not thrive, except where the water is constantly on the move, such as the bank of a river, brook or lake; there many plants will flourish. There are some wild plants that succeed in soil that has reached a water logged state, but generally such land is useless for gardening, farming or forestry purposes unless steps are taken to free it from superfluous moisture.
A good pair of loppers can make spring pruning a breeze. However, most loppers seem to make even a strong person feel pathetically weak if the branch is thicker than half an inch. Attempting to cut bigger branches with such inferior loppers, particularly branches in the Goldilocks size of 1 to 2 inches, can be difficult even with all the muscle in the world. The Corona extendable DualLINK bypass loppers allow you to adjust the length of each handle from 29 to 37 inches to gain more leverage from different angles, and the blade-and-hook end is nearly twice as large as those on other loppers I’ve used. I find that I can use these to easily slice through stems up to 2 inches in diameter.
February marks the transition from winter to spring. Although the chill may persist, promising signs of the upcoming new season are scattered throughout. Bulbs cautiously break through the soil, and daylight gradually begins to appear.
I’m Maria Nieuwenhof from Quebec, Canada (Zone 5). I was going through my pictures over the last few days and trying to figure out what annuals I will start from seeds this year for my bouquets. When I go to see friends, or when I visit my father in Montreal, or when I have an event to go to I bring one or more bouquets. I started in late April with my first bouquet that had daffodils and ended in early November with achillea.
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