7 easy DIY ways to improve your garden (no woodworking!)

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Architettura & Servizi HouseholdPlants & accessories
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DIY in the garden sounds like a lot of fun until we get down to actually doing it, that's when it gets hard—particularly when there's woodworking involved. 

You know the importance of ensuring your house’s exterior is up to date: paintwork still good, windows bright and shiny… but what about your greens?

Any house’s aesthetic value immediately ascends with the addition of a great garden – a green, soft spot (however big or small) that allows you to get close to nature, even if you live in the hustle and bustle of the big city.

But whoever said that your garden should be nothing more than a flowerbed and a few stepping stones? With the right tools (and the right ideas), your garden can become the outside wing of your residence, a must-be-included area when giving your next new guest a tour of your home. 

Let’s take a look at seven stunning ideas to transform even the smallest, dullest garden into a striking, serene sanctuary – and a prided extension of your house. 

1. The Perfect Patio

Laying a nice floor structure (think stone, pebbles, wood, or whatever pleases your imagination) can be the first step to adding a patio to your garden, which can become a great entertainment spot for guests. But a patio should be more than just a regular outdoor cement space – it must be the meeting ground between your house and garden, the place you’ll want to spend as much time as possible, either by yourself or with company, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine! 

A patio if sure to improve the functionality of your garden, and you can use it all year-round for socialising. 

Why not consider the following for your patio: outdoor pillows, blankets & rugs, patio string lights, patio table, a fire pit, potted plants, etc. 

Et viola! Dinner out on the patio, anyone?

See 5 perfect patio designs for some inspiration! 

2. Winter Garden

Lion Head Water Fountain Unique Landscapes Country style gardens
Unique Landscapes

Lion Head Water Fountain

Unique Landscapes

The changing of seasons doesn’t have to spell the end for your garden. A winter garden is just the thing to ensure your outside remains alive and colourful, regardless of the dropping temperature (or where you live). 

To keep your garden going during the colder months, consider these key elements: sculptures (they don’t mind whether it’s hot or cold); garden features, such as a pond, fountain or a small bridge; winter plants (such as Rosemary or Primulas, but consider your region before going shopping). 

Remember to have your little spot where birds can feed, and keep your water feature as clean as possible (a floating ball can help to keep it ice-free when the temperature plummets, and if it should freeze, just remove the ball to leave a hole!).

3. The Big Vision

Forget about closing those big, expensive drapes the next time you’re having a gossip session. Instead, consider adding clear, gigantic windows to the room that looks out onto your garden, and have your blossoms serve as a colourful backdrop! This will mean, however, that your garden needs to be in tip-top shape for any visitor.

Big windows will also mean more natural light for your home, adding some much-needed sunlight in the winter. For summer, just open them to take advantage of the occasional cool breeze straight from your garden. 

A sliding door is also a great feature (if possible) to add extensive views out into the garden. 

Tip: great view of your garden, but not-so-great garden? An uncut lawn can make even the best garden seem a bit dreary. Make sure to keep up with the mowing!

4. More is More

Foliage is king – add more plants and flowers to make your garden reach its full potential. You can colour code your garden and only go for flowers of a certain shade, or have it as wild and bright as possible.   

Not one for digging around in dirt? No problem – add some potted plants and just make sure they get adequate water. And plant pots are available in a multitude of different materials, colours, shapes and designs, so you have the power to incorporate a theme if you wish (i.e. colonial, Mediterranean, rustic, etc.). Your garden can be as elegant or exciting as you want it to be!

Tip: planting warm tones (oranges, reds and yellows) will not only create a feisty atmosphere, but will also attract birds and butterflies. Butterflies are attracted to the bright colours of sunflowers and butterfly weed, while salvias are a favourite among hummingbirds.

5. Green Walls (Vertical Gardens)

The hot trend among gardeners right now is to go vertical – literally! If you have a blank wall or bare fence, you’re set to go. However, your garden entrance can also serve as the prime spot for your vertical garden. Simply add an eye-catching gate or arbour to the entrance, and then insert your flora of choice to make a lasting first impression on your garden guests. 

You can also consider adding a window box to the outside of your window for a pleasing effect to your windowsill. 

Tip: waste not, want not. Rather than throwing out an old dresser, plant it in your garden and fill with soil. Pull the drawers out to create a stair-effect, and fill with the flowers or plants of your choice! 

For some “green” hot ideas on vertical gardens, see what Vertical Magic Garden can create!

6. Have Some Herbs

Having an herb garden gives your green fingers some exercise, but you don’t need a lot of space to do it. But before you jumpstart on this project, first know how much sunlight your herbs are going to get depending on where you choose to plant them – not all greens require the same amount of warmth.

Check your kitchen cupboard to see which bottled herbs you use the most as a jumping-off point. Rosemary, mint, parsley and lavender are considered among the popular crowd. 

Tip: basil is one of the easiest herbs to start off with, as it will inform you immediately if it’s not getting enough water (it will start to wither quite fast). It also smells great, and can add a nice touch to the right dish!

7. An Illuminating View

With some light on the subject, you can improve your garden immensely. You have a wide array of choices here, and can keep it light and small with tea lights, or big and dramatic with spotlights (should you decide to go this route, just make sure your new brights don’t bother the neighbours). 

Try the following: • Make use of any light-coloured reflective surfaces for optimum effect, such as light-coloured walls or fences to reflect the rays over a wide area.  • Use a number of smaller lights instead of a large single unit when lighting a large flower bed. This will create a succession of softly overlapping light pools, instead of one harsh glare.  And let’s remember the most important thing: with garden lighting, your backyard socialising can continue nicely when the sun sets!

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