If your garden is looking a little tired, we have the solution. Our easy garden transformations will have things looking better in no time.
If you have a summerhouse or shed, consider giving it a fresh coat of paint for an instant lift. Go colonial by choosing a colour palette of pale greens and creams. Try moving a garden bench to a new spot and creating a quiet area for rest and relaxation. Dress it up with plenty of cushions and think about installing good lighting so you can enjoy this space in the evening too. If the bench is old, spruce it up with a fresh paint treatment.
Does your patio need some attention? Again, try moving things around for a fresh take – could the bench or table and chairs be repositioned? Plant plenty of tubs around the seating area with scented blooms and herbs for you to enjoy. Fences might need a facelift too, so think about colour blocking to add some modern pizzazz to your garden. Alternatively look at using bamboo or reed screening positioned in front of fences to transform the look – these options are eco-friendly too.
If you have garden decking, give this a jolly good clean to spruce up your space in an instant.
If there is a dark, gloomy corner, try transforming it with a weatherproof mirror positioned to create a focal point where there previously wasn’t anything to see but cobwebs. Other projects to consider include an easy water feature, such as a tub, to add the soothing sound of running water without having to go all out and install a pond, or creating an outdoor ‘kitchen area’ with a brick-built barbecue space.
Finally, two instant transformations are creating neat edges with brick or stone to frame your lawn and remembering to plant swathes of bulbs at the relevant time of year for instant seasonal colour.
A summerhouse in your garden makes a beautiful statement, but not if it looks tired. Cheer it up with a fresh lick of exterior paint in subtle tones of eau de nil and cream for a colonial feel.
Similar paint shades
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Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour by placing a sturdy garden bench at the end of your garden. Make yourself comfortable with soft out-door cushions and lighting.
A neat edge will keep your garden looking tidy. Moulded plastic hidden in the earth keeps grass and weeds away from your beds and brick or stone edging help to frame your lawn.
Similar edging materials
Make a plain patio look pretty with a feminine iron bench and vintage rose cushions. Large romantic blooms in soft pinks and delicate pots on the wall will add colour and interest. Why not plant a herb garden in window boxes to complete the cottage feel?
A garden fence is a fantastic blank canvas for you to express your creativity. For a contemporary and edgy look, paint colour blocks in clashing colours. Not only will you be adding valuable protection, you’ll be making an artistic statement.
Similar coloured fence treatments
One of the easiest ways to transform a garden is by planting a range of bulbs to inject bursts of colour and fragrance. You’ll encourage wildlife and get a sense of achievement when your stems arrive.
Similar tulip bulbs
A water feature will add gentle sound, texture and movement to your garden. A self-circulating option cuts expensive pond costs and is ideal nestled amongst your flower beds or sitting on a patio.
Similar granite water feature
Choose bamboo or reed fencing as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional options. It creates a contemporary enclosure and lends itself well to the natural surroundings.
Mount a weather-proof mirror to create the illusion of space. It will provide additional light to an otherwise dark corner of a garden. Here a large mirrored sheet has become a fantastic focal point in an urban patio as the teak wooden panels continue on through the glass reflection.
Similar large mirror sheeting
Plants in different heights bulk up this garden scheme to create a lush retreat. Zingy cushions add a welcome touch of colour.
Extend your living space by creating a light and airy garden room. Plants hung on trellises bring the stone walls to life, while large metal plant containers are ideal for an urban garden.
Sturdy but comfortable garden seating is ideal for a relaxed outdoor living room. Soft cushions provide extra comfort, while lanterns line the top of the sofa area to create a calm atmosphere during warm summer nights.
Create a country-style garden with a winding path and overgrown borders. Lavender is a good option as it’s both pretty and fragrant.
Create a casual space with low-level, ergonomic seating. Team with vibrant, stripy rugs and a mix of potted plants for a smart boho look.
Create an alfresco seating area with a modern rattan sofa and armchair. Brighten it up with silky red and lime cushions and include plenty of striking foliage in co-ordinating planters.
We love this garden! Bright Belisha beacons add colour to the lush, yet low maintenance, evergreen planting, while a postbox with a water feature installed adds yet another quirky element.
Subtle blue and white fabrics in a mix of stripes and floral patterns recreate the mellow mood of the Mediterranean in this dining area. Green pottery adds a rustic touch, while antique metal garden chairs continue the relaxed theme.
Reclaim your shed, paint it mint green and sky blue, then add some classic wicker furniture for the ultimate retreat at the end of your garden.
Give it a homely feel with cushions in retro floral prints and a pretty painting. Add a rug for extra comfort, and hang a voile curtain across the door so you can shelter from the sun but still enjoy the breeze.
Make the most of hot summer days and create a shady corner in which to sit and relax.
A dense leafy backdrop ? bamboo is a good choice ? will help create natural shade, and the wind blowing through the leaves will add a gently calming soundtrack to your sojourn. Remember, bamboo can grow quickly so it is best planted in an area that will contain its roots.
Built-in seats like the concrete benches seen here are useful in small gardens: dress them with colourful cushions in summer, and a row of potted plants in winter ? try buxus balls in galvanised metal pots for a tailored contrast.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting a garden that has a lawn; children can play on it, you can have parties there, and a plain green sward can be very calming simply to sit and contemplate. Elevate your patch of vert by surrounding it with borders that add colour, height, texture and interest to the overall scene.
Here, this early summer garden is given a classic English country cast with well-worn red brick paths and borders of tiered planting, a pleasing mix of ground-hugging box balls, digitalis (foxgloves), hollyhocks and lavender, and towering above, a stilt hedge of London plane trees.
The Botanic Nursery
Make a path with a contemporary edge to it. This particular design, part of a woodland garden created at Neo Bankside, London, has been made to cope with daily use by residents and passers by, all year round.
Soleirolia soleirolii (mind your own business) and the white-flowered Pratia pedunculata ?Alba? (white pratia) and Lobelia angulata (white star creeper) colonise the spaces between the concrete pavors.
Extending the material of the paths into the planting areas gives the illusion of the plants taking over the built structure.
Keep things flexible and spontaneous; instead of creating a permanent outdoor dining area that ends up being used just once or twice a year, simply move everything outside for as long as you want.
Obviously, a fine dining table and chairs will need to be handled with care, but standing the table legs on terracotta tiles and those of the chairs in plastic cups that you can buy in most DIY shops, will help keep the furniture safe from any possible rising damp for a few hours.
Country house tables
Make a smallish garden feel larger and create several different zones within it so that you not only have a choice of places to sit, eat and play, you can also enjoy the sense of journey taken to reach each one.
This town garden has been cleverly divided into quarters, with the two nearest the house made to be completely opposite ? one is raised, to provide a terraced seating area, the other lowered, with steps down into the basement and a small lower terrace area.
At the back of the garden (nearest camera) lies a shady spot on one side, with built-in coffee table and seating for reading, and on the other, a stone-flagged stage for a dining table and chairs.
A minimalistic approach to gardening is ideal for those of us with finite time and space; a neatly kept garden of this ilk can be more pleasing for the neighbours if not for the wildlife.
Choose plants that grow slowly – buy mature plants, or ask the nurseryman how large the plant will become, and over what period of time – or make sure you put things such as bamboo in a contained space to help control their spread.
Working on the basis that less is more, you will create a more co-hesive look if you decide on two or three types of plant, and buy multiples of them; remember to measure your borders or pots before you buy and, again, ask the nurseryman for advice on how many plants you need to fill the space.
Bench and table
Deneb at Encompass
Blur the boundary between lawn, paths and beds, to give your garden a more naturalistic feel.
The double-depth borders that lie beneath the Betula utilis var. jacquemontii (West Himalayan birch) and Alnus incana Laciniata (cut-leaf grey alder) seen here have been heavily underplanted with ferns, foxgloves and grasses that flow over the edges, onto the loosely cut grass, creating a richly textured tapestry.
Deep in the heart of the city, a tiny balcony or rooftop can be turned into small oasis that, with light maintenance, will not run riot and ruin the view.
Container planting is the most effective way to go, with plants that will screen and fragrance your confined space. Here, Phillostachys nigra (black-stemmed bamboos, back) and a sweet-scented jasmine such as Trachelospermum asiaticum will quickly spread along the ironwork and any other support wires put in place for the purpose. Remember, weight and plant care is crucial here; too many pots, over-filled and carelessly watered, could damage your roof or balcony.
Pop-up shops, restaurants, bars and kitchen-cafés are everywhere at the moment, and you could do worse than follow their example in your own garden.
Define your space – use a canvas or mdf flat screen, painted or wallpapered, if you fancy ? decorate with potted plants and a canopy or umbrella to shade and protect, then bring on the table and chairs, dress and serve.
Privacy may not be an issue for you, but if you are gardening up on high, weight and safety considerations must be.
The clean, open lines of this smartly decked, roof-top garden are allowed to predominate curtesy of the elegant glass balustrade and multiple terracotta pots of buxus balls in varying sizes which, placed en masse at the far end of the roof, appear like a swathe of grass on a cliff?s edge.
Urban Glass UK
Water features don’t have to be twee. Introducing a ribbon of water to an urban garden design like this one adds an extra layer of interest and colour.
Make the most of a large garden by tucking a summerhouse into a secluded corner. Perfect for using as a home office, garden retreat or even as a spare room for guests.
To make the most of a small city garden go for a boutique hotel garden design and keep it looking smart with hard flooring, potted trees and contemporary wicker furniture. Perfect for alfresco cocktails.
Even a small garden can look wonderfully romantic with pretty cottage garden planting and a white rose plant peering over the top. Team with rustic wooden fencing and a crisp gravel path to create the perfect English country garden design.
We love this wall of potted herbs. It’s such a clever way of giving a small garden a touch of greenery and will give your outdoor space a great aroma.
Want to make a statement? The silver spheres in this pond create a surreal, playful feel in this garden and will create a talking point at summer garden parties.
Swimming pools can sometimes overtake the design of a garden but this one works beautifully, thanks to the clipped hedges and traditional stone pot – and the square open space is perfect for an elegant garden party.
Get creative in your garden, even if you’re short on space. We love this decked area with a dramatic wall hanging, cube plant pots and a designer chair. Add a good garden music system for relaxing summer days in the garden.
If you’re a romantic at heart why not make space for a garden swing? It can add a sense of drama to a small garden or decking area. Wrap flowers and leaves around the sides for a flower-child vibe.
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