Summer is something we all want a little more of. When it comes to spending as much time outside as we want, often just a splash of rain makes us feel like the car just isn’t up to service and we have to stay in. Getting out of this habit is hard to do when the wind is swirling outside and there’s far too much damp in the air! Yet, there’s no better place to try out your natural ambitions than your garden.
Just because we’re still in winter doesn’t mean we can’t be dreaming of those summer rays, ice creams in the mid afternoon, lounging at lunchtime, and most importantly: how our garden is going to look. And this has plenty of advantages to it! When it comes to hobbies, gardening is one of the most healthy ones to take up, as you’re outside often and getting your hands dirty, meaning you’re never going to be still. Sounds perfect for that summer feeling already, doesn’t it?
Imagine all the parties you could host, the family barbecues, the scavenger hunts that can get the kids interested… So if you’re wishing more vegetables, fruits, and flowers on yourself, here’s some things to be done. Take a few hours out on a sunny day to try out a few of these tips; your landscape will thank you for it!
When you have a garden space to work with, you need it to be practical and pretty at the same time. You can do that easily with a few considerations to start off with.
Make sure any paths you have are wide enough to walk down, and keep any overgrown plants trimmed back from disturbing the walkers. Similarly, if you have an outside space that isn’t equal in its height considerations, make sure you put some steps in that ascend in a way that isn’t impossible to get the leg reach for! You want people to easily stand up and stay standing when they’re spending an afternoon in your space, so make it practical to stroll around without losing your breath, and don’t go too wild without any direction to work with!
Summer-y Flowers You Can Plant in Winter
To start off your summer paradise garden, it’s time to include a little bit of the feeling of summer nostalgia into what you’re currently working with. And don’t worry, there’s plenty! Winter is a time in which you can cultivate plenty of plant life, but often people don’t understand that. Of course you can wait until spring to try and open up your bedding options a little more, but you might as well paint yourself a pretty picture now with a few seeds from the gardening center.
Yet, there’s a lot of color you can inject into an otherwise frozen landscape with some hardy flowers and a bit of the right soil. Something like Pansies will be a much welcome addition to your pots and boxes, and they can be planted anywhere you think could use them. They also flower a lot longer than any other kind of winter flower, all the way into the spring!
You could also try out some Primrose flowers, as they no longer tend to just flower during the spring. Plant them now and you’ve got plenty of new colors and scents to explore when you’re outside; or you could even just seed some in your window box to have a lighter and brighter conservatory.
Use Symmetry to Your Advantage
This is one of the most basic principles of landscaping, but it’s often something people miss out on when they’re designing their garden. Nature itself has a lot of symmetry to it, and by recreating that in our own plans, we can make our gardens look a lot more balanced. So always strive to have mirroring to your space, but make sure you still plant the things you want to see!
Try duplicating any moves you make on each side of a garden, and particularly surrounding walls or pathways. Yet, you don’t always have to have the same plants or objects on either side of the area, just similar looking plants and flowers to keep the space similarly occupied. So it’s really no bother if you can’t pick up another version of that brown clay pot from the shop that was on a reduced to clear sale!
Humans tend to like order around them, but this can be created in any way you can think of. The same kind of plants on either side? The same colors? Trees to frame the two back corners of the fence? Whatever you’re working with, try to keep it balanced.
Create an Area to Socialize
When you’re outside in the garden, you’re going to want a place that’s warm and dry to stand in, with something firm and non muddy underneath you. This is where you can set up a table with a parasol to hide from the sun under, enjoying crisp drinks and your food uninterrupted by bees and wasps.
One of the best ways to do this is to build a deck, as they’re easy to keep clean and protect from the weather. Get some decking builders in your backyard to have a professional job made of your reclining area, and it can even be cheaper due to the amount of experience in working with the materials!
Based on the space you’re working with you can even create a split level, with your socializing area beneath the rest of the garden in the shade and away from the harshest weathers. It means your plant materials won’t get as disturbed by all the people dancing back and forth across your space!
Got a Smaller Garden?
When it comes to having a small garden, you’re going to have to depend on minimizing everything you want to plant in your space. You’re not going to have any breathing room, nevermind the kids having a place to play otherwise! However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make as good use of the area compared to people with bigger gardens.
Smaller gardens need to make much more use of the sun, as this dictates where your plants should go and only go. The rest of the space can be used for that brickwork you’ve been meaning to lay down since you moved in, or the greenest lawn you’ve ever seen in your life.
Even if you only have a window box or a small greenhouse to your name, it can still be the prettiest sight you’ve ever seen in your life! If you have a bit more space than the window pane to your name, you can repurpose a garden pallet into a planter for your herbs of multiple types. Stick some blackboard sheets on the front and you can chalk the different names in and out whenever you use up a certain seed.
Don’t Forget the Front Garden!
When it comes to having curb appeal, this is where you could shine! Of course, seeing as we’re still in winter now, there doesn’t seem to be much you can do, but in fact there’s plenty of planning to be done. And this is also a place where symmetry really comes into its own!
Plant some flowers, or wall climbing plants either side of the door to frame it, and make sure they’re equally balanced on either side. Keep the path to your door central, and try not to pave anything around it (it’s just a lot more upkeep at the end of the day!). You can easily fill in the rest of the space with stones or shingle material, which can still be easily walked on and become a place to park the car.
Depending on where you live, there might be a general theme amongst front gardens, so make sure you’re workin within that as well. If your neighborhood is firmly balanced into the green side of things, get some nice hedges or spiralling bushes to frame the front of your house. Or if there’s little plant life amongst you, place some pots down with subtle colors in them onto the rest of the paving. Your front garden is your area to shine, so take care of it!
It’s Your Space to Work with!
Your summer paradise is right around the corner if you want it bad enough! Do whatever you want with your garden, and add a little harmony to your space by incorporating some of the tips above. You can even rope the kids in to having some fun playing in the mud in the backyard, and include their ideas within the bulk of your gardening plans.
On the other hand, you could go completely wild with your space and design it however you want to. Or maybe not even at all! Creativity comes in many forms, and there’s no better adventure than digging your way through overgrown plants to find that one dog toy you lost months ago.
There are few pastimes as potentially rewarding as gardening. No matter what’s happening in the world at large socially, politically, or culturally, humans will always love getting out into nature and making things grow as they always have.
No war and no fashion trend has ever been powerful enough to stamp out the basic appreciation of spending time cultivating green, growing things.
Here’s a look at some of the ways in which gardening can boost your health and wellbeing starting today.
It’s hardly a secret that most people just don’t get enough exercise. With the growing prevalence of severe health issues related to sedentary living, from obesity to diabetes and cardiovascular disorders of various types, it’s more important now than ever before to find ways of squeezing exercise into our daily routines.
Gardening is a fantastic way of getting that exercise, as it can be as much or as little of a workout as you’d like. For someone who still has a long way to go with their fitness, they can take their time and pace themselves while mowing the lawn and clearing patches of land at once, with regular breaks to enjoy the sun and fresh air. You could even lighten your load further by picking up one of Mark’s top 5 picks for leaf-blowers.
For the fitter gardener, any number of sweaty and high-effort projects can be taken up on short notice.
A shocking number of people today are deficient in vitamin D, which should hardly come as a surprise when you consider the fact that we humans get the vast majority of our vitamin D from exposure to the sun.
With people sitting in front of TVs for their leisure, and in front of computers for their work, any moments which we can grab which put us out in the sun are to be cherished. Needless to say, avoid getting burned, but don’t shy away from any UV exposure. Believe it or not, your body needs it.
Vitamin D is essential for proper hormone production and bodily function, and getting it from a pill isn’t as effective as getting it from the sun.
Satisfaction and wellbeing
The average office worker in the 21st Century rarely ever sees the fruits of his labour or has a real motivation to feel proud at the end of a busy day. Where, once upon a time, businesses were smaller and more direct, and life was unmediated in many of the ways it is today, our current situation finds us operating as cogs in vast machines we can barely comprehend the complexity of.
Gardening allows us to work directly on something we will see the benefits of. When you plant a seed and nurture it, you will have the satisfaction of seeing something grow up from the soil.
There’s a primal joy in nurturing growing things and seeing them develop. It’s a timeless and simple joy which can add immense satisfaction and wellbeing to our lives.
Gardening is a window to a simpler and more holistic aspect of life; one which we seldom get the chance to encounter.
Green living is really great fun in principle. You get to save money, save the environment and save your health. But in reality, our modern lifestyles and homes simply don’t make it easy. There are too many obstacles to overcome, and few of us ever really get started. Even fewer of us make any substantial changes that we could reap a lot of benefits from. But if you are determined to start growing some of your own food, there are a few essential checks you need to make first.
The first thing you need is the time that you can commit to the effort. Food doesn’t get any fresher than when it is plucked from your own garden moments before cooking. But that’s not what takes the time. What costs you dearly is the maintenance of your vegetable patch. The digging, weeding, and endless battle with pests is often too much to invest in. This is a pity because the health benefits here are enormous.
Why not get your kids involved? If this became part of your quality time with the children, then you’re not trying to free up any more elsewhere. Children love digging about in the dirt, and they especially enjoy the idea of carrots and potatoes growing under their feet. If you’re growing organic, then there are no harmful chemicals to worry about in the soil. Encourage them to wash their hands regularly at the tap to stay safe.
Unfortunately, it is so easy to make a mistake with organic growing. You might not be able to certify your home plots as organic, but you do at least want peace of mind there is not likely to be contaminants there. The best way to approach this is to use professional companies like Chem-Free Pest & Lawn to manage your garden for you. This keeps things organic and still keeps pests at bay with a preventative plan in place.
If the rest of your garden is organic, then little is around you that might contaminate your veggie plot or pots. It’s safer for the kids when they play too. And having someone come in to look after your garden, gives you more time to enjoy the benefits!
Not every garden gets enough of the basics. The basics for growth are water, sunlight, and warmth. The problem is that the weather systems of late tend to deliver too much of sum and not enough of others! You can control the environment in which you grow your produce by using a greenhouse. This also controls the weeds, the pests, and prevents contaminants. If you’re keen to become a food grower, this might be the best option to help you succeed.
Growing your own food isn’t impossible if you’re prepared and ready for it. You might buy some extra equipment, and you might need to approach it as another part of your household routine. Of course, the rewards are enormous for you and all the family. What will you grow?
This is a collaborative post with Yourorganicchild.com
Just like the vast majority of parents out there, you probably like letting your kids out into the garden as much as possible. The fresh air, space, and being close to nature are all beautiful things that can help your little ones thrive, after all. However, is your garden actually as safe as you think it is? Some significant dangers are lurking in every backyard in the country, and unless you are making regular safety checks, it can be easy to miss the most obvious things. Let’s take a look at the garden dangers you need to be watching out for.
Bacteria isn’t just restricted to the inside of your home – there’s plenty outside, too. Legionellosis bacteria, for example, can be deadly and can occur in any place in your garden that is damp, such as decorative fountains, water features, hot tubs and even potted, watered plants. The scary thing about this nasty bacteria is that you don’t even have to get wet – you and your family could end up breathing it in via microscopic water droplets that float in the air. It’s worth getting any source of water tested once in awhile by a professional – experts suggest at least every couple of years.
There are other inherent dangers with water features in your garden, too. Drowning is, unfortunately, a lot more common than you might think, so if you have a hot tub or pool, find out more about pool covers and try and find the best one for your garden that ensures your kid’s safety. Consider your ponds, too – perhaps fit a grate over them until your little ones are old enough to take care of themselves.
We all love the idea of having trees in our garden, and the kids will love them too – especially if they can climb them. However, you need to keep a close eye on the health of your trees. They can fall a lot more often than you might think, and if they catch a disease, they can often get weak – starting with the branches. And if your children are climbing, even the nursery rhymes know what happens when the little bough breaks.
I’ve written before about the dangers of sandboxes, and you might be surprised to hear about their problems. Most play sand contains materials such as crystalline silica, which can cause an incredibly dangerous and incurable lung condition called silicosis. Play sand also contains a substance called asbestos tremolite, which, as you can probably work out, can lead to asbestos-caused lung cancer. No one wants this for their kids, of course, so when buying play sand be very careful about its ingredients.
We all want our children to experience wildlife close up, but we should also be careful about educating them about the dangers. Bees, wasps, and some types of flies can all cause nasty stings, of course. But depending on where you live, you might encounter everything from venomous snakes through to bears in your backyard – would your child know what to do in an event like this?
So, let everyone know – what dangers do YOU have in your garden?
When you think of gardening, you think of keeping hedges prim and proper and the arduous task of growing flowers, plants, or perhaps even vegetables. That’s how you picture the average gardener, and that may not be your sort of thing. Perhaps you prefer to simply mow the lawn every now and then before retreating to the safe and cozy confines of your house. Here’s a new idea that you might want to consider: take the “outdoor home” approach. You could start to love your garden because it’s an extension of your house; it’s an outdoor room. You’ve been blessed with all of this additional space.
As mentioned in another of our articles, being good at gardening is just about avoiding common mistakes. You may not know much about how to control the wildness of nature, but it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as you’re letting it become. The most basic piece of advice is to avoid cramming too much in too little space. Nature has to breathe, and that means you don’t need to overload your garden with an overcrowded assortment of plants.
You want lots of variety and vivid colors, but you need to space out the plants and flowers in this outdoor space; you don’t want them all competing for space, sunlight, and water in a very confined patch of land. As mentioned over at themost10.com, it’s all about minimalism with garden design, much like interior design.
Improve the storage.
Much like any other room in your house, your garden can become messy if tools and garden furnishings don’t have a proper home. If the shed is overflowing and the garage is already cluttered then you might want to check out sites such as http://armstrongsteel.com/for metal buildings that could serve the purpose of housing garden equipment.
We’re not suggested that you completely eradicate the garden and build an entirely new house on the land (that probably violates several laws), but you can improve your garden by building some structures on the land, depending on how big your garden is. A conservatory is always a popular choice because it’s an entirely transparent window into the garden. A conservatory can invite a lot of natural light and feel like a nice crossover between the interior and exterior of your property.
Of course, something like a conservatory is still part of your house and might be getting away from the purpose of loving your garden in itself. Admiring it from a distance is fine, but you should be finding ways to motivate yourself to spend time in the actual garden. You could build a gazebo or a patio area with comfortable seating and shelter so that you can feel part of the garden whilst enjoying a few luxuries. This article over at gardensillustrated.com talks about other great suggestions such as pavilions and summer houses. It’s about finding a good blend between nature and manmade. Most of these things are within the DIY abilities of even the most amateur garden designer, so don’t be scared of trying; there’s always a good YouTube tutorial out there, or you could get family and friends to help.
Loving your garden doesn’t mean you have to love the few annoying chores involved with maintenance. You love your house despite hating cleaning and tidying it. It should be much the same with your outdoor; be proud to make it look appealing.
This is a collaborative post with Yourorganicchild.com