Backyard Gardening Tips - The Packrat Wifey

Interesting Additions To Any Garden

If you feel that you could probably be making better use of your garden, you are not alone. In many homes, the garden often becomes the one place that gets overlooked for too long. Perhaps you have recently come to realise that you are doing this with your own garden. If so, you should start to think about what you might be able to do in order to give your garden a little something extra. The good news here is that this is relatively easy to do, as long as you know where to start. In this post, we are going to look at a few of the more fancy and interesting additions you can make to your garden in order to give it a new lease on life.

Whirlpool, Hot Tub, Garden, Summer, In The Garden

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Hot Tub

Let’s say you want your garden to be more than just a garden, but a space for fun as well. If so, there are many things you can do. One of the most common and more enjoyable is to have a hot tub installed, and this is something that a lot of people turn to when they want to have something a little extra in their garden. If you do decide on this, you should make sure that you are able to look after it properly, otherwise you might find that it can cause a number of problems in the long run. A hot tub needs a certain amount of care and attention, including iONRx hot tub treatment and much more besides. If you do this, it will last a long time, and always be a beautiful part of your garden space.

Rock Garden

Although it is now something of a classic garden idea, having a rock garden is also still one of the best. The beauty of this is that it can have a way of making the whole garden seem considerably more modern, and it is also quite easy to install yourself, even if you don’t consider yourself to be all that adept at gardening. All it takes is to take a few rocks and use your imagination, and you will want to go out of your way and find a few good plants to put in there as well. If you get this right, you will be surprised at just what a profound difference it can make to your garden on the whole. It’s worth trying if you want your outdoor space to look much more interesting in no time at all.

Children, Play, Rock, Leisure, Play Outside, Swing

[Photo courtesy of cocoparisienne/pixabay.com]

Seating

It might be a fairly simple thing, but having some seating in the garden can do a lot in terms of making it more interesting as a space. There is a lot to be said for the kind of seats you choose, of course, and it is worth taking your time so that you will end up with seating you are happy with. But as long as you do that, there is no reason you won’t be able to improve your garden hugely, and all with just the simple process of putting some seating there.

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Quick Garden Makeover Tips You’ll Love

With the evenings becoming lighter and the leaves finally blooming on the trees, it’s safe to say that the warmer weather is on the way. Warmer weather encourages time spent outdoors, but wait – your garden has become overgrown and full of weeds!

Colourful windmills decorate a garden near to Abingdon town centre

[Photo courtesy of Sally Allsop/geograph.org.uk]

Thankfully, there are quick solutions to the manky garden issue and that’s taking time to fix it up. There are plenty of ways to do this, even if you only have a spare hour or two at the weekends. Soon enough you’ll be able to enjoy barbecues and picnics within feet of the house with our amazing garden makeover tips:

  1. Add colour: Flowers take some time to grow after planting, everyone knows this. However, flowers aren’t the only way you can add a little pizazz to your garden. If you have a shed or any wooden garden furniture, you can give them a new lease of life with a lick of paint. Instead of spending time you may not have, have a look at some paint sprayers reviews and do the job in half the time.
  2. Outdoor décor: Similarly, with giving old, wooden furniture a lick of paint, you can add potted plant pots to your garden in bright, zany colours to add some life. Use up old leftover paints you may have laying around and add lovely patterns to your plant pots and give it a personal touch. Adding garden ornaments and fun little items to decorate can also liven up your outside space.
  3. Sort the weeds: Take an hour of your time and actually weed the garden! The most obvious solution to an overgrown space is to strip is back and it shouldn’t take too long if you use a strimmer and edger for the whole area. Once you’ve cut it all back, you’ll be able to truly assess the space you have and what you can do to make it look summer ready.
  4. Declutter: Believe it or not, like any area of the home you need to have a clear out. Get through the garden shed and throw out anything that is old and rusted. Make space for new garden tools.
  5. Involve the kids: If you have kids at home, get them involved in the garden. A paved area can always use a chalk mural and a grassed border will always be better off with a vegetable garden being planted and colourful labels attached. Children always have a magic touch on the outdoors and you can let them get so creative!
  6. Deck the garden: You may need a little longer for this one if you don’t have a deck already, but if you do all you need to do is redo the deck. Stain the deck with products like these and give it a new lease of life.

Your garden doesn’t need to take long to redo and even if you can only dedicate an hour or two at a time, you can makeover your garden to look as beautiful as you could hope it to be.

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3 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Garden This Year

For most people, the size of the garden is a huge selling point if they are planning to buy a property. It’s not just the idea that if you have a garden, children have a place to play. A little bit – or a lot – of land that you own is something to be proud of, and you want to be able to maximize on the space you have and not let it go to waste. There are so many ways you can use a garden and stripping the whole thing back to basics and starting from scratch is the smart thing to do. It’s your piece of private outdoor space to do what you want with and that begins from the ground up. Doing up the garden can be as fun as doing up any room in the house, but are you ready for the challenge?

Landscape, Japanese Garden, Ornamental Garden

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Some people decide to fully landscape their garden into one that is low maintenance. This generally is for those who have no real interest in gardening but still want to use the outside space for children, barbecues and generally having the outdoor area to entertain friends. This can be anything from laying patterned gravel like this to tarmacking the entire area so it’s got a slight bounce – great for children to play. Low maintenance gardens are great for people who don’t have time for the upkeep of planting flowers or vegetables and generally want to be able to tidy the space up quickly.

There are those who want a fully green garden packed with seasonal flowers, lawn and a vegetable patch to grow peppers and onions. Generally, these gardens are very high maintenance and require a few hours work every week to maintain their colour. Sprinklers in the summer and watering cans for the hanging plants are a feature and the pride in the outdoor setting is obvious. A fully bloomed garden is beautiful and smells amazing in the summer months, and it’s also a very peaceful place to sit and just be. There are some amazing ways you can maximize on the space you have in your garden, whether it’s a tiny little patio area or half a football field attached to the rear of your home and with these three fab ideas, you can use the garden in the way you have always dreamed:

File:Flower-bed-Moscow.JPG

[Photo courtesy of Leonid Dzhepko/wikimedia.org]

Planting is one of the most popular activities in a garden. You could choose to landscape your garden with a lawn and edge the entire thing with border flowers that relate to the season. If your garden space is a little smaller than you would like but you have big dreams for it, don’t grow around, grow UP! Adding fencing and bamboo can see some beautiful climbing ivy and other plants through the year growing upward in your garden. You can also plant squash and variations of beans and cucumber if a vegetable garden is something that interests you. Making a tepee of climbing plants for your garden can give it a green glow all year round. Don’t forget to invest in the right equipment though, you’ll need mowers and tools for your garden to keep it in tip top shape.

The grill man

[Photo courtesy of Kaboompics // Karolina/pexels.com]

Entertaining friends at home is always a pleasure, but being able to spill out into the garden is even better. If you have gone for a low maintenance garden, you’re likely to be lacking much in the way of greenery and colour outside. Adding solar lights, bunting and fake bushes like these ones can add some beauty to an otherwise plain garden. Build your own brick barbecue and think about having inflatable hot tubs on standby to get out when guests are over. Drinks on a chilly New Year’s Even can be so much better when you’re relaxing in the warm bubbles of your new hot tub and eating tasty burgers from the new barbecue! Maximizing your garden for entertainment is a way to make the space you have somewhere you want to be. There’s no use having extra land if you can’t use it to make yourself happy and entertaining guests in a unique way is the best. Invite them over and remind them to bring their swimwear!

One of the most popular ways to maximize the garden space is to build on it. Not just plant and flower boxes, but conservatories. When you have a lot of land in the back of the house, you have the opportunity to attach what ends up being an entirely new room onto the house. This not only adds value to the house as a whole, but it gives you that extra dining room/play room/craft space you’ve always imagined you could have. A conservatory is a fantastic idea if you live in an area that is heavy with rain. You can then use the rest of the outside space for entertaining and planting beautiful flowers. You can read more about installing a conservatory here.

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[Photo courtesy of Literatirus/wikimedia.org]

Your garden is your own private haven to do with what you will. Add in a pond and some fish for a little touch of wildlife and hang bird feeders from the trees. You can even buy some fantastic garden furniture like this to make your outdoor area feel homelier than just a blank canvas to look at. Taking the time to make the most of your garden comes down to how busy you are and how much you care about the flush of colour that your garden has.

There are so many people who don’t have the time to maintain a garden but if you have the time, turn the garden from boring to brilliant. Make it an extension of your home and furnish, decorate and breathe life into it. You want to create a place you and your friends want to be; and your garden is that space as long as you take the time to make the most of the area you have.

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The Novice’s Guide To Keeping The Garden Healthy

The garden is, for most people, one of the most important parts of the house. It is certainly often the most beautiful, and knowing how to tend to it properly can be something of an art form. Keeping the garden aesthetically pleasing and relaxing to be in is one thing, but it is quite another to keep the place as healthy as it can be, and this usually takes considerably more understanding. It definitely takes more work, and perhaps that accounts for the amount of gardens that suffer terribly from not being cared for properly. Don’t let your garden become one of those – take a stand today and learn how to keep it healthy for longer. Take the following tips as a starting point.

Green Leaf Plant With Fruit

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Watch Out For Pests

One of the most important things for you to do is to watch out for any pests that might be lingering around. No matter what kind of plants you do or do not have in your garden, pests are always going to be a potential issue. Therefore, learning how to spot them and deal with them is going to prove to be vital if you are dedicated to keeping your garden as healthy as it can be. Some of the more obvious signs of pests can be that your plants are being nibbled, or even that they look diseased. It is also worth getting to know the different bugs that abound in your part of the world; some will be friendly, and even useful to the gardener, and other will be a nuisance. Learning this is one of the most important steps you can take to looking after your garden more effectively.

Keep The Lawn Trimmed

There are a number of reasons why you might want to ensure you keep the lawn trimmed, some of them aesthetic and others related to the health of the garden. Above all, it is a good idea to mow the lawn every six weeks or so, no matter what time of year it might be, as this helps the all-round health of the garden to no end. This is one of those tasks where the quality of the tools being used really helps, so make sure you have a decent lawn mower before you get started. You might even want to take a look at some lawn mower reviews before you start, to ensure that you have the best one for your particular garden. With a well-kept lawn, often the rest of a garden seems to just fall into place.

Green Push Lawn Mower

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Check Plants Before Buying

Whenever you purchase plants to add to your garden, it is really in your interest to check them thoroughly before buying them, and definitely before planting them with your other plants. This is because they could be carrying any number of unpleasant diseases, diseases which could swiftly wipe out the majority of your garden. Check the roots, first and foremost, as this is one of the easiest ways to tell whether a plant is diseased or not.

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The Secret Garden

Children love mystery and magic of fairy tales or great stories.  One story that is known the world over is the English classic, The Secret Garden.

It is about a young girl, Mary, who is discovering her way in life after growing up in India.  She doesn’t like her new home too much and there is a very sad boy who lives in the house.  Upon adventuring around the grounds she stumbles upon a locked door in the garden.  She is determined to break through and eventually discovers a secret garden.  The story is based around bringing this garden back to life and making the boy better by sneaking him outside.  It is purely delightful and worth a read.

Our garden’s can often be less than magical but that doesn’t mean, with a little creativity, we can’t take a leaf out of Mary’s book and give our children something amazing.

[Photo courtesy of Leah Kelley/pexels.com]

Think about what you want to achieve, a secret hidden away cove behind her wall of roses?  Perhaps a tucked away fruit garden for your kids to discover and delve into? Or even a real modern rockery with water features or even an inverted fish tank.

Before you get stuck in it’s worth giving a termite treatment now.  Prevention is better than cure and discovering you have a problem after all your landscaping could lead to disappointment.  Once you have the all clear and advice on how to avoid any invasions, get to work.

Little girl breaks the flowers

[Photo courtesy of Kaboompics // Karolina/pexels.com]

Busy families mean keeping on top of a garden can be quite demanding.  But if you enlist the help of your little ones then not only will you have them outside creating, you will also have some keen green fingered workers to help you with digging and planting.

A fun and unique twist on a garden, if you have little or no outside space, is the brilliant living wall.  This is an eco wall of oxygen promoting plants.  You can have them indoors our outdoors and they will purify the air of pollutants.  In fact growing an eco wall in urban areas has quite a positive effect on the environment.

Herbs are a really simple grow and offer a variety of scents which your children can enjoy.  Fruits produce both flowers and then edible delights! Roses can hide fences or walls under their beautiful large petals or you could go with another great kid pleaser, the towering sunflower!

Get creative with your outdoor space and encourage the children to play.  Dedicating a little area all of their own will make them feel like they have a little hideaway and also kick start them off on the road to enjoying creating things.  Bringing a plant to life is one of the most humbling things we can do with simplicity.  Just make sure to teach the children any potential dangers of playing outside in the garden, such as eating fruits they don’t know.  A little bit of mud is good for the immune system, but washing hands is vital after handling plants!

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Don’t Miss Your Garden This Winter!

One of the worst things about the winter months is the little time we get to spend outside in our garden. After all, gardening is one of our favorite hobbies to do in the backyard. But with the weather beyond freezing, it can stop us from spending time in the garden. And it feels like it’s forever until spring and summer arrive! However, you don’t have to give up your garden entirely during the winter. Therefore, here are some surprising tips you need to ensure you don’t miss your garden this winter.

Barbecues, Grill, Grass, Dinner, Meat

[Photo courtesy of songsy/pixabay.com]

Bring the BBQ inside of your home

It’s always lovely in the summer months when you can have your family around. And you all enjoy a BBQ in the garden. As well as the amazing company, the food can be fantastic as well. After all, food can have a delicious taste once it’s been cooked on the barbecue. Therefore, it’s common to miss this grilled food during the winter months. But you don’t have to miss out on the delicious food during the cold months. There are many portable grills you can buy for your kitchen which you can use to recreate that BBQ taste. And food tends to be a lot healthier if it’s grilled!

Start growing plants inside your home

There’s something so therapeutic about looking after your plants. In fact, so many people use gardening as a stress-reliever. Also, it’s a massive achievement when you manage to successfully grow a plant. Therefore, in the winter months, you can miss taking care of your beloved plants. However, you don’t have to wait until spring before you start growing plants again. You could grow them inside to ensure you can carry on with your gardening all year round. Find them a spot in your home which has plenty of sunlight throughout the day. You can also consider getting some LED grow lights from companies like Lumi Growth which will ensure your plants grow properly while they are inside. And then you can tend to them every day to still enjoy gardening during winter. Once the sun comes out, you can always move them outside to ensure they enjoy some natural sunlight.

Plants, Grow, Bulbs, Spring, Sunny

[Photo courtesy of andbjo/pixabay.com]

Invest in a beautiful indoor water feature

A lot of people love having a water feature in their garden. Not only can it be a relaxing feature, but it can also help your garden to stand out. And it’s a natural way to boost wildlife to your garden. During the winter months, a lot of people miss the calming sound of running water which they get when they are in their yard. But you can have the sound inside your home if you go for a beautiful indoor water feature. They can be a lovely addition to your home and will help to create a calming atmosphere. Put it in the hall or the lounge so that you can hear the feature around the home.

And you could even get a fish tank for your property if you are missing your pond! After all, you can watch the fish and enjoy the sound of the tank in your home!

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Winter Doesn’t Last Forever: Get Your House Ready For Summer 2017 Now

You may think that the winter season is never going to end, but there are only a few months to get ready for the summer, and this is without mentioning any bikini figure! You need to think about getting your house ready for the hot season, and this isn’t something that you can delay too much. It is important to start planning right now with this list of summer essentials for your to go through.

Make Sure You Have All You Need To Keep The House Fresh

It might seem odd to think about keeping cool when the weather is still cold outside, but now is the right time to check the state of your air conditioner system, fans, and your swimming pool. If you don’t have any air con, it is time to consider an A/C installation to prepare for summer. As you still have a handful of months left before the hot months arrive, it is good to get in touch with expert engineers to service your pool and keep your cooling systems up to date before the summer rush begins.

Look After Your Garden Now To Find Freshness In Summer

You’re sitting inside, looking through the window to see only cold, gray rain. Taking care of your garden might well be the last thing you want to do with your time. But it is essential to maintain your trees and plants throughout the cold months to help them be strong and healthy for when you will need their shadow and their freshness. While you don’t need to spend every week kneeling outside in the wet grass and the mud, a monthly list of maintenance tasks should include:

Summer Garden, Garden Bench, Green Lawn, Iron Trellis

[Photo courtesy of jensullivan113/pixabay.com]
  • Mowing the lawn,
  • Trimming the trees so that they can grow strong and high in summer,
  • Pruning flowers and fruit trees to ensure a beautiful and vibrant garden,
  • And protecting your precious plants from the frost and the rain.

Prepare For A Change Of Interior Décor

[Photo courtesy of pexels.com]

Winter is naturally characterized by a change of décor inside your house: A warm blanket lies on the sofa to keep you warm in the evening; a series of tall mugs is piled up in the sink for a hot cup of tea; and every room has received a touch of warmth with scented candles and fluffy cushions. Everything is there to provide a cozy sensation. But soon the time for bbq parties and summer drinks will come: You need to rethink your décor to bring back a sense of sunny freshness inside your home. There are many options to do so on a budget: You can choose to hide all reminders of the winter months away, such as blankets, heating units, and candles, or you can decide to bring touches of bright colors inside the house with picture frames, funky cushions, and decorative plant pots. Just remember to check every room to make note of the wintery elements to store away during summer. And why not already plan your first bbq party of the warm season? Maybe you could celebrate the arrival of spring around a grilled burger with friends, so if you start now, you could prepare your DIY décor.        

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Creature Comforts: Be A Friend To Wildlife This Winter

Winter can be tough for all of us it’s cold, dark and the last thing you want to be is outside when you can see icicles hanging from the trees. However, animals and birds aren’t so lucky so it’s important we do all we can to help them through the colder months. Food is often scarce for many animals in winter so why not help hedgehogs by leaving out some tinned meat? Make sure there’s a small bowl of fresh water visitors can drink from and that visiting birds to your garden are rewarded. By following a couple of the ideas listed not only will you be assisting animals at a difficult time, but be able to enjoy the variety of wildlife snuffling around your garden.

Beautiful Bird Table

Pop a lovely, wooden bird table in the centre of your garden and scatter breadcrumbs, seeds, peanuts, cheese, and fruit you’ll be able to find grocery online as well as buying mealworms from your garden store. Birds often find it hard to get enough food at this time of year as berries, insects, seeds and worms have either died or are covered by a thick layer of snow. Once the word has gotten out that there’s food your bird table will be filled with hungry feathery visitors. However, bear in mind these are all wild animals and will get lazy quickly if they receive regular handouts, which makes them unwilling to source their own food so it’s important to limit how much is given.

[Flickr Image Courtesy of Tony Hisgett]

Help Squirrels Go Nuts

Despite what many people think these fluffy tailed creatures don’t actually hibernate instead they collect a store of nuts to munch on in their cozy, dry drey’s, or nests all winter. The gathering starts in early autumn and only ends when they’ve found enough to eat so you can help them out by leaving nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds as well as sliced apple, carrot and even spinach or beans. A regular small handful of these foods will see squirrels safely through till spring.

Break The Ice

Many animals don’t possess the strength to make a hole in water that’s frozen over so when people think they’ll be alright often wildlife struggle to find enough to drink. Check your water bowl, or dish regularly as it could have frozen overnight and make sure to refill it regularly as you don’t know how many animals are using this precious water source to survive. If you have a pond you also need to make a hole as overtime toxic gas can build up and harm any fish or frogs living in the water. Don’t use a sharp item as you may injure any fish swimming near by instead take a pan of boiling water and pour it on the surface and the ice will then melt.

Let Your Garden Grow

Now isn’t the time to be doing any weeding, burning or leaf clearing in the winter months simply let your garden rest and grow wild. Don’t worry when spring comes you’ll be able to clean up but for now compost heaps, piles of leaves and even overgrown brambles can become the perfect winter retreat for many a creature.

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A Haven For Wildlife: Encouraging Birds And Animals Into Your Garden

Gardens are not just about flowers and growing food. They can be a great way to learn about wildlife; something particularly important if you have a family. And they are a great way to help maintain species of birds and animals.

Bird, Finch, Feeder, Bird Feeder, Niger Seed

[Photo courtesy of DroolingDogs/pixabay.com]

Regardless of your outdoor space, there are simple steps you can take to encourage birds and animals to visit or set up home in your garden.

  1. Create A Pond

Creating a pond is the quickest and simplest way to introduce wildlife. Once your pond has been built, you can fill it with your choice of fish. There are many different varieties to choose from, depending on the areas you live in and the space available, etc. Butterfly koi are a popular choice as they are known for their beauty and stunning colors.

Ponds will attract other wildlife such as frogs and insects. It is important to monitor and clean your pond regularly to ensure it is a safe environment for fish and other animals. The plants and grasses surrounding your pond will also attract visitors.

Greenfinch, Bird, Foraging, Garden

[Photo courtesy of Oldiefan/pixabay.com]
  1. Garden Design

When designing and maintaining your garden, think carefully about the animals you wish to encourage. Birds like trees and bushes for nesting. If you have the available space, try creating zones. Some birds may prefer not to come close to the house, and so a quiet space towards the back of the garden may be preferable.

Frog, Water Frog, Animal, Green, Nuphar Pumila Leaf

[Photo courtesy of Couleur/pixabay.com]
  1. Frogs

Frogs like ponds, as mentioned, but they also like piles of leaves. When raking your garden next fall, leave a few piles of leaves in a dark area to encourage frogs. Ensure you leave some space in walls or fences for them to enter.

  1. Birds

To encourage birds into your garden, put up a bird table and several feeders. A bird bath is also important. Vary the seeds and food that you provide to attract different species. To ensure they keep coming back, feed birds daily, particularly in the winter months when food will be scarce. It’s always pleasant to watch a garden full of birds, and you’re helping them at the same time. Try setting up some nesting boxes to see if any of the birds set up residence.

  1. Insects

Insect hotels provide a safe environment for insects to hibernate in the winter months. They are made up of several compartments or suites to allow insects to choose a warm place to stay. Encouraging insects into your garden is good for them and the environment. Some like dry environments and others prefer the damp. So try to establish insect homes in several areas.

Bee, Flower, Pollen, Color, Blue, Purple, Orange

[Photo courtesy of NickRivers/pixabay.com]
  1. Bees

Bees are vital pollinators for our gardens but, unfortunately, their numbers are declining. Insect hotels make a safe place for solitary bees. Introduce some bee-friendly plants to your garden. Bees like flowers such as white clover, bluebells, alliums, and buddleia, etc.

Encouraging wildlife into your garden is a win-win situation. You’re providing a home and food for them to help them thrive. And you get to observe them in their natural habitat. Many will contribute to the garden by pollination, turning over soil, etc. So, it’s good for you, and it’s good for them.

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