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While the transition from Winter to Spring seemed long and rather wet, I’m happy to say that late Spring has come up trumps with dry, sunny weather and temps in the late teens and low 20s for the last couple of weeks. And that sort of weather only means one thing around here – I’m spending just about every spare minute I can outdoors getting our garden ready for the summer.
I thought I’d share some of the many little tasks I’ve done that have created a wonderful outdoor space which will hopefully inspire you to get cracking on your own garden, no matter how big or small it may be.
The thing I’ve found with just about any outdoor space I’ve been blessed with is that a lot of the work you do is just ongoing. It’s not like an indoor room renovation where you can put down your paintbrush, get your soft furnishings in place and accessorise and you’re good to go now for the next how-ever-many-years with minimal additional work or maintenance. At least here in the Northern Hemisphere with cold, wet winters and relatively drier and hotter summers, when Spring comes around, you’re having to deal with the ravages of the previous season and it often feels like you are starting from scratch every year.
Now, of course, we’ve done quite a lot of work on our back garden over the years to make this transition slightly less harrowing than it may have been when we first moved in 5 years ago (can you believe it’s been 5 years already? No, me neither.). The addition of our large shed, the removal of many various overgrown trees and bushes (necessary in the very mature but neglected garden we inherited) and the creation of two different seating areas – not to mention building standing planters, a raised bed planter and adding plenty of comfortable seating over the years – meant I was starting from a better position than years past.
Of course, there are always jobs to be done to get things looking their best. Pretty much every year involves continuous weeding, organising, planting and painting before I can even get to the fun parts of accessorising the space! Thankfully, I’ve teamed up with Very again this year who have an incredible selection of garden products that will carry you through pretty much every aspect of preparation as well as the exciting part of designing and accessorising your outdoor space.
Tidying borders and laying fresh wood bark
Directly outside the back of our home is a border between the house and the patio where very little grows. The garden is north-facing (I’ve spoken about that here and it doesn’t bother me in the least) and so having a slew of self-seeding bright yellow poppies cheers one side up whilst our raised planters help to dress up the other side. I had added wood chips to this area in the past but as it’s a biodegradable natural material, it does break down over the wet winter and so I knew it would be freshened up immediately with a fresh layer laid.
Before laying the fresh stuff down, I dug up all the weeds and prepped the area so it was a good base for the new layer. I also re-painted the black strip on the bottom of the house as well as the step just to give everything a nice fresh clean look again. It’s a small job that doesn’t take much time but is so worthwhile!
Now, did you know that Very carries bark chipping? They are all UK grown from Spruce bark and are produced in accordance with FSC standards too. I hadn’t even realised they carried things like this for your garden so do check them out. The bags are massive and it was so nice getting them delivered straight to the house instead of having to haul multiple bags into my car from the garden centre!
When you’re dealing with these large heavy bags, I find it easiest to lay the bag in our wheelbarrow, open it up and then break it up with my hands and remove the bag so it can easily be transported around the garden easily!
I also freshened up the area just below our acer with another layer of wood bark. I tackled this area last year, pulling all the weeds that had grown under the tree, framing out the area and then laying a weed membrane down and filling it with wood bark and it looks so much tidier now and really allows that tree to stand out.
Painting the barbecue
Now this is a bit of a hack if your barbeque has seen better days. Ours is old but it works perfectly fine so I don’t want to replace something just because it doesn’t look as nice anymore! That’s why we have paint, after all! I use a single fresh coat of black matt heat-resistant paint on mine every single year and it’s remarkable how much better it looks and it only takes about 20 minutes!
Now the barbeque is ready for the summer!
Sorting out garden storage
While we have our large shed for storing all our garden equipment, I have wanted somewhere separate to store our logs. Very came to the rescue again with their vast choice of garden storage. I chose this narrow wood store that was really quite simple to put together and now holds all our logs for both our fire pit as well as our indoor fireplace over the winter months.
Very have a wide range of garden storage available – from robust plastic storage for garden cushions when it rains to bike storage, bin storage and even small sheds so no matter how much space you have, you can maximise it with genius storage options for just about everything.
Replanting the raised garden bed
We created this garden bed a couple of years ago (you can find the full tutorial here) but the herbs we had planted had long outgrown the space and so I decided this year, I would rip all the plants out (we replanted some of them elsewhere) and plant flowers here instead.
I sanded down the top wood border with our electric sander and added some wood oil just to condition the wood after the winter. I also added some more nutrient-rich organic soil and some new top soil as well to give the plants their best possible chance of survival under my care! ;)
My original idea was to grow a cut flowers garden but alas, this little area doesn’t get quite enough full sun all day for me to do that. So, instead, I chose a few flowers that could stand some partial shade at different times of the day including petunias, impatiens, salvia, and nicotiana and I planted lupins in the centre for some height. We’ve been regularly watering all our potted plants most evenings once the sun goes down so I’m hoping this dry spell we’ve been getting doesn’t kill everything off!
I don’t know a lot about gardening but I’m hopeful this will be giving us some lovely flowering blooms as the summer progresses!
Painting the deck
What’s essentially become our ‘outdoor living room’ is this decked area that’s located in the middle of our garden as it gets the most light throughout the day. It’s been painted a few different colours over the years (you can read about my hilarious disaster the first time I painted it here and also how it looked last year) but this is the first time I used a bold colour choice and I have to say, I absolutely loved the final result!
I realised halfway through that I hadn’t taken ‘before’ pictures (my bad) but I do have a reel on Instagram showing what I used and you can see the full before and after there.
I really wasn’t sure if it would be ‘too much’ but it’s just so much fun to go bold in your garden or use an unexpected colour – and well, I can’t really say no to more pink, can I?
Styling the Outdoor Living Room
Finally, I get to share the best part of the makeover – the gorgeous little ‘outdoor living room’ that we have on the deck.
Thanks to Very, I was able to add a few new bits to this area this year as I was very keen to upgrade our outdoor coffee table (the one we had was many years old and the wood had started to rot and fall apart!) and add in another side table. I was delighted to find the Byron Garden Table set containing both pieces which matched my boho styling and our existing chairs and table perfectly.
I also added that gorgeous Fern Flatweave indoor/outdoor rug that was the perfect match for the deck paint colour. And then to tie the whole colour scheme together, you can’t beat adding a few cute cushions to your outdoor seating.
The rectangular monstera leaves cushions and the tropical flower cushions both come in a set of 2 and are absolutely fine to leave out if it’s just a passing summer shower being both water-resistant as well as fade-resistant so they should keep their bright bold colour throughout the summer.
While we haven’t had much rain the last few weeks, we did have one light rain shower and the cushions were absolutely fine left out – as soon as the sun came out, they were completely bone dry! It just feels nice to finally have cushions that I don’t need to panic about if there’s a little bit of rain on the horizon!
I couldn’t be happier with the little additions we’ve made to this space and the improvements we’ve made to the garden as a whole over the last month or so. While there are still jobs to be completed (jet washing the patio slabs for one!), I’m just happy to have ticked off so many things to really enjoy our outdoor space this summer. I hope what we’ve done has inspired you to tackle your own outdoor spaces – do let me know what plans you have for your own gardens in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Very but as always, I only work with brands I really love and think you’ll like too. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Swoon Worthy.