Gardens, whether in a commercial or residential project, can be a challenge to design and an even bigger challenge to maintain. There's a lot to consider from the choice of greenery to the lighting types as well as flooring and furniture. Some improvements are fairly simple while other fixes and features can be considerable investments in terms of money and time.
Simple Fixes First
Inevitably, gardens are exposed to some bad weather and it can be difficult to maintain them throughout the year but there are some easy things which can be tried before big bucks are spent.
Cleaning is a must. Ensure that the patio and pathways are properly cleaned. This may mean you'll need to employ a power cleaner to remove months or years of dirt but it will be worth it in the end. Also ensure that any gravel paths you have look as stunning as when they were first installed. If necessary, top up the gravel with the same type, look after the membrane which keeps the gravel in place and try for a depth of around 2.5 cm for longer durability.
Plant and flower pots should be scrubbed clean and replaced if necessary; this can easily be done with hot water and a cleaning solution. Look for stray weeds among your pathways and remove them. Spray weed killer around the area to discourage future growth. Once the offending weeds have been removed it is recommended to fill in any cracks between the paving. You can use a mixture of sharp sand and cement and push it in deep with a trowel.
Look for any dead (or nearly dead) plants and trees and replace them with something with more life. A dying plant can severely distract from the overall appearance of the outside space. Consider replacing the old plants with ones which will remain vibrant through the winter months. It may be wise to remove lower branches from remaining trees and plants which will improve their look while also allowing for improved air circulation in the lower areas of the plant.
Patios have become increasingly common in residential and commercial outdoor spaces because they are considered to be easier and cheaper to maintain than green areas but this isn't the whole picture. Creating a patio area needs a lot of planning and forethought.
It is typical to zone patio areas according to use with decking used for busy areas and tiled patio areas for quieter parts. When using tiles it is a nice idea to fill in the gaps between with gravel with can create a very natural effect and stands out. A raised flowerbed surrounding the patio can add color and also compensate for lack of space elsewhere.
Patios need some warmth to them so consider adding a splash of paint to surrounding walls and fences. Greater numbers of plants will also add to this effect while bright seating or lanterns make for a cosy environment ideal for dining. Meanwhile, appropriate lighting will ensure that the colors are appreciated long after the sun has set and allow for a safer environment.
Shade is often under-appreciated when it comes to designing outdoor areas. Adding a roof or pergola can add the the vertical element of the garden. It can create a feeling that we are neither inside nor outside while getting the best of both worlds. Climbing plants around the roof and walls can further benefit this vertical element.
essential garden features
high quality seating
It is important that garden seating be easy to care for as it will be exposed to the elements. For residential environments you might opt for seat cushions but these will need to be regularly cleaned (and stored elsewhere during inclement weather). Try to go for colors and patterns which don't feature much green so as not to distract from the rest of the garden.
Plants and greenery which grow naturally in your climate will be easiest to care for. If your soil is pH neutral or slightly acidic then rhododendron may make an interesting choice. For more pH alkaline soils you may need to consider plants like hydrangea. Plants should be cared for regularly and protected during extreme weather.
You'll want to highlight key features of your outdoor space which is where spotlights may come into play. Employ downlighting for doorways and patio areas. Pay attention to possible glare from lights to ensure other properties aren't affected. Solar powered lights can help reduce costs. Read more about lighting types.
more complex solutions
Fences and walls surrounding garden areas need to be looked after just as much as other areas of the garden. Be sure to provide fences with a lick of paint every few years and use dark colors like black and brown to make the greenery stand out.
Personal touches like cosy seating, funky tiles and stylish outdoor furniture add a little extra to the outside space. Garden chairs needn't be boring and sad with some exciting comfortable seating available. Decking and tiles can add color and warmth to the outdoors though lighter colors are preferred if opting for tiles. Don't neglect lighting in the garden either. Lanterns are an interesting addition. Solar lights have become increasingly popular along with hanging lanterns and string lighting. Attaching lights to trees and shrubs can add a very atmospheric look and make the area ideal for alfresco drinks and meals.
A water feature is considered a must for any larger size garden or outdoor space. Costs aren't always prohibitive. The main cost is usually for the lining at the bottom of the pond or fountain and then further costs for a fountain fixture. Smooth pebbles and rocks can be used to create a more natural appearance.
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