As the stay home order continues to play havoc on our world, we are facing a summer like never before. Although we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, people continue to lose their lives and fall ill every day. We might be heading in the right direction, but we’re not out of the woods just yet.
If you are one of the frontline, essential workers who have been fighting this virus head-on, we thank you for your hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. A silver lining to this overarching cloud is that healthcare workers are finally getting some of the credit that they deserve.
However, if you’re in an industry that has forced you to work remotely, you are likely to be spending a lot of time at home. While this may have been a novelty in March, cabin fever and household squabbles may now be at an all-time high. Your Netflix checklist is complete, and you’ve spent countless hours cooking, baking, gaming, and “socializing” on zoom calls.
As the temperature kicks up a notch and you shudder at the thought of home workout videos or TikTok challenges, perhaps you should consider starting an outdoor project. Nothing feels quite as satisfying as creating something from your bare hands, especially if that something can go on to positively impact your life.
Why not take some initiative and build your ideal outdoor space this summer? There are so many benefits to tackling such a project. It’s great exercise, it has a meditative effect, it’ll give you a sense of accomplishment, and you’ll be left with a beautiful garden (or section of it).
No matter the size of your outdoor area, there may never be a better time to work on it. Here is the ultimate guide to creating your ideal garden this summer.
Before you start
Do your research
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The first step in any project is research and planning.
Spend some of your downtime searching the internet for outdoor spaces that you admire. Try to match up the projects to your garden’s size and shape. Alternatively, take a scalable aspect from a project that you would like and adapt it to your garden.
It’s also a good idea to choose a function for your outside space. This will give you clarity during the design phase. Are you creating a football field for your kids or a barbecue patio for yourself? Give your project a theme and purpose.
Break out your sketch pad, ruler, pencil case, and draw up your plans. This may be stretching your abilities, but making an effort to design the space forces you to focus on the details of the project. This will give you a better perspective, and you will have to visualize every inch, nook, and cranny.
Start with destruction
The extent of your garden work might be clearance and removal. That in itself can free up valuable space and add a completely new look to your home. Tree removal, heavy-duty clearance, or demolition jobs should be left to professionals.
Smaller-scale removals and clearance can be done by you. This might involve taking down the decking, pulling weeds, taking down fences, or other tasks that can be completed by hand.
Watch out for hazards
If you are digging or removing, ensure that you do not accidentally hit utility lines or any potential hazards that are in your garden. The last thing you want is to cause injury to your family or harm to your home.
Pinpoint where buried wires or pipes are and proceed with caution in these areas.
Respect your neighbors
If you are doing major landscaping work, it’s always cordial to consult your neighbors. The positioning of a tree or greenhouse may obstruct their view or restrict natural light from their space. You could overlook a detail that impacts their home.
You should also avoid doing loud work early in the morning and late at night if you live close to others.
Artificial grass is often looked at as a garden “cheat.” Although it isn’t natural, there are several benefits to laying down astroturf.
- It requires very little maintenance.
- It doesn’t need herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers, meaning it isn’t harmful to the environment.
- It has a relatively high initial cost but little to no maintenance cost.
- It is resilient and durable.
- It’s suitable for most outdoor activities and sports.
- It looks great all year round.
Grow fruit and vegetables
Growing your own fruits and vegetables is relatively straightforward. Delicious foods can be grown in the smallest of places as long as they are getting the essential nutrients.
Having your own fresh produce not only improves your diet, but it also gives the grower a boost in self-esteem. The journey from planting the seeds to eating the final product at your kitchen table is a special one, and it will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Gardening is a stress reliever, a great form of exercise, and can be a family activity.
Some perfect vegetable options to grow in your first home garden are shallots, garlic, potatoes, kale, lettuce, beetroot, spinach, or carrots.
Ideal fruits to sow include raspberries, blueberries, apples, pears, figs, or strawberries.
Outdoor dining area
Creating an outdoor dining area doesn’t have to involve building or construction work.
Allocate a specific area of your garden or yard for dining. Decorate the space using rock, timber, or plants. Hang some outdoor lights to give the area some atmosphere.
You don’t need a patio or deck to have a great dining space. Find a spot on the grass, under a tree, or next to your back door.
Finally, display your garden furniture. If your outdoor area is small, there are plenty of gorgeous bistro furniture sets that might be the perfect fit.
If you’ve always wanted a cool barbecue spot in your garden but never thought you had the time or space, there are some creative ways to make your very own outdoor cooking domain.
Clear out a corner of your garden to make way for a barbecue set, build one from concrete or brick, or go mobile with a freestanding barbecue. It’s okay to be versatile. Your back garden can have many uses.
One good thing to come out of the pandemic is that people have become more health-conscious. While being cooped up at home, many have realized the value of getting outdoors. Creating an outdoor exercise area can be a great way to keep in shape, even when the gyms are closed.
If you’re lucky enough to have gym equipment, you might want to secure some protective cover for when the bad weather hits. A gazebo or semi-sheltered spot in your garden can work just fine. Make sure to have a cover and storage space to prevent damage to your equipment when you’re not using them.
If you’re more interested in yoga, running, or outdoor sports, having a lawn or paved area for exercise will be more beneficial.
Choose the right plants
Plants are a beautiful addition to any indoor or outdoor space. However, some are more suited to different garden types. It is worthwhile to be strategic with the plants that you choose for your garden. This all leads back to the planning stage of your project. Make sure you know where you want to place the plants.
It’s crucial to know what the plant will look like once it’s grown. This will help avoid trouble down the line. Some plants can grow a lot more than you might expect.
Plant with color schemes in mind. Choose some that will compliment your home.
Consider if the location of the plant will allow the necessary amount of natural light.
Be realistic in your approach. If you’ve never gardened a day in your life, take things slow. There is a standard of maintenance required that you don’t want to overlook.
Some charming plants that are easy to grow are daffodils, lenten roses, impatiens, hydrangeas, or sunburst honeylocusts.
Use the correct soil
If it’s one of your first attempts at sowing a garden, you probably aren’t aware that soil comes in a number of varieties. There are many different types of soil, and each has a unique texture. Certain plants need specific soils, depending on their nutrient requirements. While some thrive off rich, dense soils, others react best to a dry or sandy variance.
Research your plants and find out what soil benefits them most. Or, call into your local garden center and take the advice from one of their garden experts.
Make a gardening toolkit
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to take on a garden project without the proper tools. When you’re planning your outdoor projects, make side notes indicating what tools and equipment are needed. Hit the hardware store and assemble your DIY toolkit.
Have an adequate drainage system
Good drainage is key to a healthy and prosperous garden. Stagnant water can cause unwanted growths and ugly stains on walls, patios, and decking.
Take before and after photos to remind yourself of the hard work you’ve been putting in. You may need it someday that you lack motivation.