Whether you’ve bought your property or are renting, when you were choosing the place you live in now- chances are the garden was an important element of your decision. It’s so nice having outside space to get some fresh air, enjoy the nice weather and generally have another spot to relax in at home. For this reason it’s crazy that for a huge chunk of the year, our garden gets neglected. Just because it’s winter here in Australia doesn’t mean you should be hiding indoors- on a dry day it’s still nice sitting outside and enjoying the outside space at your home. Here are some of the ways you can spruce it up.
Plant Some Evergreens and Winter Flowering Plants
During the spring and summer, everything bursts into life. Flowers thrive, there’s greenery everywhere and it’s easy to maintain a lush and colourful looking yard. Over the winter it can be trickier, however it’s not impossible. Add some evergreens to your planting scheme in beds, borders and pots- that way everything doesn’t die off completely. There are a surprising number of winter blooming flower choices available. Plant these bulbs along with your usual choices, and then when they start to die off for the year your winter flowers will start growing and you’ll keep the garden looking lively. One of the reasons you probably neglect your outside space over the winter isn’t just because of the weather, but because it doesn’t look appealing. But a little planning and it’s not difficult to get it looking nice.
Some flowering plants prefer cooler temperatures (source)
Cover Your Garden Furniture
Garden furniture is designed to be hardy, however it will certainly fade and wear quicker if it’s left exposed to the elements. Nice patio sets, outdoor corner sofas, parasols and barbeques all cost money, so you want to look after them so they can be used year after year. One of the best ways to do this is to purchase covers, of course you could put it all away in a shed, summer house or garage but this can make it difficult to get back out. If you have a mild and dry day where you want to sit outside with friends over the winter, none of your outdoor furniture is accessible. Covers will protect from wind, rain, ice and snow but they’re not too tedious or time consuming to remove if you do still want to use your garden over the colder months.
Install an Opening Roof
Opening roofs that sit above your patio are a fantastic choice for all seasons. When it’s sunny it provides shade, and when you get a bit of rain it provides protection. If you’re having a barbeque for example and get a few spots of rain, you don’t all have to rush indoors to stop your food from getting soggy! In the summer especially, chances are it will clear up in a few minutes anyway. Along with covering your furniture with removable covers, having something like this over the top can also provide an extra layer of protection against rain and storms. While something like a summer house provides shelter and shade you definitely get the feeling that you’re sat inside. With an opening roof you still get the benefit of being out in the garden but just with that added protection.
Invest in a Patio Heater
A patio heater is actually useful all year round. Even during the spring and summer, it can get a little chilly outdoors later in the evening. If you like to sit outdoors later in the day, or you’ve had a garden party that’s stretched on to the late hours, you can pop on the heater to keep everyone comfortable. Of course, a patio heater is useful when you want to enjoy the garden in the evening. As long as it’s not raining you can sit outside and make the most of your outdoor space, even without the sun shining. They can be fitted right underneath your garden parasol, they can be freestanding or even mounted to the wall. There are lots of discreet models so it doesn’t have to be an eyesore in your garden. If you love reading a book in the garden at the weekend or having a glass of wine outdoors after work on occasion, this allows you to do so all year round.
Use a Greenhouse to Protect Your Plants
Lots of plants will come back year after year, which will save you money as you’re not having to constantly buy new foliage for your garden. However if you have a particularly nasty winter, they can die off completely- things like excessive frost or flooding can do this. It’s also more common in plants that aren’t fully established, so if you’ve bought or grown from seed some nice semi- hardy plants in recent years and want to protect them, a greenhouse is a good investment. It doesn’t have to be an enormous model, you can get small lean-to’s that will house a few plants. During the spring, summer and autumn you can use this to grow all kinds of things and extend the growing season. Then in the winter it can be use as protection against frost. If you plan on doing this, keep your plants in pots ensuring they’re large enough for roots to develop and the plant to grow. After a year or two of protecting it in the winter, plant it into the ground where it should be able to survive on its own.
When it’s thick with snow, pelting with hail or tipping it down with rain, you can’t really enjoy the garden and there’s not much anyone can do about that. However there are plenty of dry and mild winter days in most parts of Australia so why not make the most of your garden when you can. How about a winter barbeque featuring seasonal produce, go with something a little different from your usual summer cookout?
Do you make the most of your garden year round?