How to make the most of a garden of ANY size to grow-your-own

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If you’re spending more time in the garden at the moment, you’ll probably want to allocate some space to growing fruit, veg and plants, as well as enjoying a little relaxation. Here’s how to combine the two to get the most out of your garden this summer…

First and foremost, it’s important to get outside and get some fresh air at the moment – and where better to do that than in the safety of your own garden. You can feel relaxed, knowing that you are safe at home, while still enjoying the benefit of the lovely weather and refreshing clean air. So, let’s set up a lovely space for you to enjoy while you’re out there.

You don’t need a huge space – any amount of exterior space that only you and your family use is ideal. As long as there are boundaries in place – a fence, hedge, wall or similar – no-one else can wander into your private space so you can be reassured that chilling out in the garden is safe and easy to do.

Private balconies, small courtyards, a compact patio or lawned area are all great garden spaces that you can make the most of this summer. Here are some of the elements you might want to incorporate in your garden, however big it is:

SOMEWHERE TO SIT

You don’t want to be loitering around outside without anywhere to sit down, as you’ll just go straight back indoors! Give yourself a sunny spot where you can relax by adding some outdoor seating. It could be a picnic bench, rattan garden furniture, chairs from your kitchen or even a seat you’ve cobbled together from scaffold boards like I did. Just remember to use SPF when you’re relaxing out there!

USE PLANTERS

Even a concrete jungle or a small balcony can become a lovely outdoor space and somewhere you can grow some veggies or herbs. All you need are some planters dotted around the place to brighten it up and give you a compact space to grow some plants.

Even if you only have the exterior of your home, adding window boxes or hanging baskets provides plenty of room to grow herbs, strawberries, salad leaves or flowers. Just make sure you choose a rot-free and moisture-proof window box of solid material construction to ensure it doesn’t warp or crack during winter freezes. If you get one with a matte finish you can paint it to coordinate with your front door or window frames to boost your home’s kerb appeal at the same time.

ATTRACT WILDLIFE

I wrote a blog post last month about ways to attract more birds, bees and butterflies into your garden so the tips in that article a good starting point. Attracting wildlife gives you something lovely to look at while you’re outside and can be a great way to teach children about nature. You don’t need a bird table – just some dishes and a bit of seed will do. And you can add specific plants that’ll attract the bugs you like – or repel the flies you don’t want in the garden!

LOVELY LIGHTING

If you add some lighting into your garden, you are able to extend the amount of time you’ll be able to be outside. You could use solar powered lighting or you could even check if your usual Christmas fairy lights are suitable for outdoor use. If so, drape them in a tree, wrap them around the balustrade of your balcony or hook them up across your patio to illuminate the space. Or a citronella candle will help to keep bugs at bay too – just be careful while burning candles and don’t leave it unattended.

GROW YOUR OWN

There’s no better way to feel a sense of achievement than by growing your own plants, fruit and veg from scratch. You could plant some seeds and watch them grow into plants with just a little care, attention and watering. Sunflowers are great fun for kids to plant as they grow quickly (which could be plotted on a graph) and look very impressive when they reach full size.

And it’s lovely to eat herbs, fruit and vegetables that you’ve grown yourself. You don’t need a lot of space – you can plant potatoes in bins or bags, add strawberries to hanging baskets and grow peas or beans up canes in a pot. If you don’t already have any seeds and compost available, you could always stick to multiplying your existing plants by taking cuttings or dividing them. At the very least you’ll be doubling the amount of plants in your garden for free – yay!

Let me know what you’ve been up to in your garden recently – I’d love to hear your money-saving gardening hacks or your DIY tips so please share them below 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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