Seasonal baskets 2

How to spruce up your garden this spring

Want to give your outdoor space a fresh new look? Just get gardening...

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How to spruce up your garden this spring

Now the days are getting warmer and the evenings lighter, your thoughts might be turning to how to get your garden looking 'summer ready'. 

Don't fret: garden designer Dawn Isaac is on hand to suggest easy ways to give your outdor space a seasonal spruce up.

Herbs

Fresh herbs are always a great addition to any summer dish - and the plants make an attractive display outside.

"Herbs are low-maintenance plants, so will be happy in even a small, sunny spot," says Dawn.

"Varieties such as sage, rosemary and thyme like to be in soil that's well drained, so if you're planting in containers put a good layer of gravel or broken crocks in the bottom of the pot before planting up. Try positioning pots of herbs either side of a doorway - they will release a wonderful burst of fragrance every time you brush past. And remember, after you've planted your herbs, use them! Harvesting regularly will encourage growth."

Hanging baskets

A hanging basket packed with flowering plants can bring an instant splash of colour to almost any outdoor space.

"You can buy baskets ready planted up, but it's also easy to create your own," says Dawn.

"First, put a coco fibre liner in a wire hanging basket, then line with a piece of plastic bag punctured with a few drainage holes. Fill with potting compost,  stirring in some slow-release plant food. For a 12in basket, you'll need about 10 small bedding plants such as petunias and lobelia. Include plants that trail down the outside of the basket to maximise the display - position these around the outer edge of the basket so they tumble down as they grow."

Well watered

Once your basket is hung in position, don't forget to water it regularly - you might need to do this every day when the weather's hot. It's best to water early in the morning or in the evening when it's cooler, to allow the water to sink into the soil and avoid the plants getting 'scorched' by the sun.

Borders

Flower borders filled with blooming beauties are always great additions to a garden.

"If you have the space, you could create a new flower bed by lifting up an area of lawn," says Dawn.

"But before you get busy digging, lay out the outline of the planned bed with string or a hose, to make sure you're happy with the shape. Before you plant up a border - or add extra plants to cheer up an existing bed - prepare the soil by digging in plenty of soil improver, such as well-rotted manure. This will feed the soil which in turn means healthier, happier, faster-growing plants. Then get planting! Perennials such as lupins and penstemons are good because they'll flower year after year.

"Check the labels for details about the final height of the plant and put taller perennials, such as delphiniums (below), towards the back of the border, giving each plant enough space to reach its final spread. Include some classic summer bedding plants in the border, too, such as French marigolds and begonias. These will bring instant colour and act as ground cover while other plants are growing."

Climbers

Climbing plants are ideal for bringing extra blooms to an outdoor area. They'll add plenty of height interest, too.

"Climbers, such as large-bloomed clematis and fragrant jasmine and honeysuckle, are particularly good for cheering up small gardens where a lot of the space available is on walls and fences," says Dawn.

"A climber can also give the illusion that the area is bigger, as by covering boundaries, you can't tell where your garden actually ends. When planting a climber, dig the hole for the plant at least 30cm away from the wall or fence to avoid the driest soil. You can plant climbers in a container as well, but make sure the pot is large so the roots won't dry out too quickly."

Top tips...

Give your plants a little TLC and they'll reward you with a great display all summer long...

Keep on top of weeds

Regular weeding means you'll get rid of the plants before they seed and product more weeds - which will save you work later on.

Deadhead flowers

Cutting the dead or fading blooms encourages plants to put their energy into making more flowers rather than producing seeds.

Add a mulch

Putting a mulch of bark or wood chips on beds, or adding a layer of gravel to the top of soil in pots, can cut down on watering and weeding.

Pick your plants

Look out in store for our great range of potted herbs, flowering perennials, climbing plants and great-value 10-packs of favourite summer bedding plants and mix and match yourself a bloomin' beautiful display.

Have Dawn's tips got you feeling inspired to breathe some new life into your garden this spring? Make sure to stock up on everything you need to make your own Garden of Eden online, or pop into your local store.