Garden Design, Gardening, George, How To, Make over

Whether you’ve recently moved house, or just looked outside for the first time in months, anyone can find themselves facing a neglected garden. It’s intimidating. Overgrown plants, out of control trees, more weed than lawn – where do you start? There are a few things worth bearing in mind, and preparation is key, so here is our advice on how to restore a neglected garden. Take on the challenge!

How to restore a neglected garden

Tips for restoring a neglected garden

1 – Be patient
It’s best to wait a full year before you get started if possible. See what the garden looks like in all seasons, which areas become shady or full of life. What appears to be a pile of twigs now may blossom into a beautiful tree come spring.

2 – Make a list
While you’re waiting, observe what you like and dislike about the garden. Write it all down – plants, trees and any other features.

3 – Create space
When you’re ready to tackle the garden, the first step is to clear the area. You’ll see exactly what you have to work with and it will make designing your new garden much easier. It often helps to do this over winter. Try to compost any organic matter you clear for later use.

Weeding the patio

4 – Leave the trees
Cut back overgrown hedges and weeds, but hold back on the trees at first. They can be very difficult to fully remove (you’re often left with a huge stump that’s worse than before) and take so long to grow and establish that it’s difficult to replace them.

5 – Choose which plants to keep
A weed is any plant you don’t want – so dig it up. Remember that plants can be moved if you’d prefer them somewhere else, just treat them with care. This will save you money too. If you need help identifying plants, ask in the Primrose Gardens community.

6 – Take it a step at a time
If you work methodically on one area of your garden at a time, you will see the fastest improvements – which can be great motivation! Work to a design plan, keeping in mind where structural changes like decking, raised beds and sheds will go.

Pruning

7 – Prune
Pruning back existing plants gives two benefits – it makes more space and encourages fresh growth. If you’re unsure which plants need pruning or how to go about it, ask on Primrose Gardens or email our gardening expert.

8 – Rejuvenate the lawn
Depending on how long your garden’s been neglected, the lawn could be in any state. Start by mowing the grass and trimming the edges to get it tidy. Then reseed any bare patches or lay down new turf if you need grass in additional places.

9 – Know your budget
Before you go crazy on the spending front, be mindful of your budget so costs don’t get out of control and grind your project to a halt. Landscaping can get very expensive, especially for large areas, but planting is relatively cheap – especially if you grow from seed.

Garden theme

10 – Pick your theme
Deciding on a consistent theme for your garden will make all the difference in taking it from standard to exceptional. Visit show gardens and exhibitions like Hampton Court or watch gardening shows for inspiration.

11 – Add finishing touches
Finally it’s time to take your garden from usable to somewhere you really want to be. Clean up and paint or varnish the woodwork. Plant up any gaps in the flowerbeds. Tidy the borders with edging. Add some furniture for comfort and decorations to express your style.

Maintaining your restored garden

Once the hard work is done, of course you want to avoid the garden ever falling into the state it was in when you started. In the simplest terms you need to keep on top of anything that grows getting out of hand. This is what makes the garden look messy and can cause plants to become overcrowded and rot. Make sure you mow the lawn regularly and trim the edges. Prune plants and trees as necessary each year. Weeds are unfortunately unavoidable, so make time each week for getting rid of them.

Maintaining restored garden

Aside from that, you just need to look after the non-living items like you would do in the house. Keep the fences, furniture and patios clean. Furniture covers will protect your chairs and tables from the elements. Don’t be afraid to give woodwork a new coat of paint to keep it looking fresh. Experiment with new colours and styles in your blooms.

If too much maintenance sounds daunting then it’s worth keeping this in mind while you’re redesigning your garden. Choose options that will make your life easier down the line. Hardy plants can be mostly left to fend for themselves and won’t require as much of your time. Straight-edged lawns are much quicker to mow than curves, or perhaps you’d rather have artificial grass to eliminate the issue entirely.

Tools for restoring your garden

What will you need for your garden transformation? Here are some of the essentials:

  • Hedge trimmer
  • Lawn mower
  • Edge trimmer
  • Pruning shears
  • Fork
  • Spade
  • Gardening gloves

… But there may be many more specialist items depending on the scale of your project, from chainsaws to industrial diggers!

Tools for restoring garden

Embrace the challenge

So there we have it – our tips for getting through your neglected garden restoration. If you’ve ever tackled an unloved outdoor space, let us know what you learned along the way in the comments below. But most importantly, don’t be intimidated. See it as a fun challenge, whether you’re an experienced gardener or this is the first time you’re getting your hands dirty. It’s liberating – after all, you can’t make the garden any worse than it already is!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Animals, Bird Baths, How To, Wildlife, Zoe

The long awaited Big Garden Birdwatch has finally arrived this weekend – hooray! With this handy guide we will teach you how to make an irresistible bird feeder no sparrow could refuse!

Many of us may notice our little visitors in the garden, but do we really know what kind of bird it is? Luckily for you, our beautifully illustrated infographic may help you identify even the most exotic of species! Top marks if you manage to spot a Chabert Vanga…

The best way to entice any guests is of course with a free buffet, and in this blog we suggest a fantastic range of treats and scrummy dishes no bird could refuse.

Dangerous Food for Birds

However if you want to feed wild birds be careful that it is safe, the following cannot be used to feed wild birds:

  • Spoiled seed – make sure the seeds you put out have not started rot. It should be dry without any strong odour.
  • Large quantities of bread – although filling, bread does not contain any of the lovely goodness that wild birds need in their diet.
  • Milk – Avoid leaving out milk for your birds, many experts claim this will make them ill.
  • Cooking fat, margarine & vegetable oil – These are all unsuitable for birds.

Ingredients Needed for Your Bird Feeder

Now for the fun stuff!

It is SUPER easy to make your own bird feede, and it’s a fantastic activity to get the whole family involved and share in the joy when you spot a red breast in the garden.

Firstly, you will need to get your hands on some lard. This is a great glue that will bond all your ingredients. You want one part lard to two parts of your bird seed.

Next, you can pick and choose what treats you want to include for your birds. We suggest the following, with a brief description of what birds love this treat the most:

  • Millet – sparrows, dunnocks, finches, reed buntings and collared doves
  • Flaked maize – blackbirds
  • Peanuts & Sunflower seeds – Tits and greenfinches
  • Pinhead oatmeal – All birds love this!
  • Nyjer seeds – goldfinches and siskins.
  • Cooked rice – All birds lap this up
  • Mealworms – excellent protein source for many birds

You can also add some grated cheese, dried fruit and much other variation of seed in your unique mix!

Now you have binded the lard and your bird seed you will be able to mould this into a variety of different shapes to catch the eye of birds or as a interesting activity for your children. This is a great alternative to shop bought fat balls that often come in nylon bags that are very harmful to birds that get their beaks or feet trapped in them!

Coconut Shell Bird Feeder

Mould Ideas for Your Bird Feeder

  • You can use a halved coconut shell to fill with your bird food; make sure there is no traces of coconut milk left in this shell however.
  • Orange peel! Remove the fruit from the skin of the orange and, like the coconut, fill to the top with the food for a vibrant feeder.
  • Pine cone – roll the pine cone in your lard and seeds for a more decorative feeding treat.
  • Toilet roll – yes really! Once you’re left with the toilet paper roll you can roll this in the seeds for an innovative feeder for the birds. (Be careful in wet weather as the cardboard will begin to disintegrate)
  • Cooker cutters – fill your cookie cutters with the mix and leave them to harden in the fridge.
  • Or be creative and create a shape of your own!

Once you’ve made your treats place them in different areas around your garden to attract a range of birds, and remember to consider the little birds that will need low hanging treats.

Have fun this weekend, and be sure to send us your photographs to photos@primrose.co.uk, we’d love to see them!

Zoe at PrimroseZoë works in the Marketing team at Primrose, and is passionate about all things social media.

After travelling across Europe and Asia, Zoë is intrigued by different cultures and learning more about the world around her. If she’s not jet setting, Zoë loves nothing more than curling up with a good book and a large glass of red wine!

She is an amateur gardener but keen to learn more and get stuck in!

See all of Zoë’s posts.

Gardening, Geoff, How To

Here at Primrose we like to think of your garden as not just a place chock full of plants and trees, but a place full of expression and character – filled with fine little details that make it simply a great place to be in and explore. Taking this into account and in no particular order, here is a list of 6 of our favourite DIY garden ideas we’ve come across that we think you should definitely try!

Tree Stump PlantersTree Stump Planters

Old tree stump causing a bit of an eye sore? No problem, turn it into a tree stump planter! Save spending money on removing them and simply hollow out a section of the stump, fill it with soil and plant some of your most vibrant and exciting plants. This gives you a wonderful natural looking flower bed without the heavy price that sometimes comes with one. Just be sure to break off some bark and create spaces for drainage at the bottom of the stump to allow for proper growth.

Sail Shade Cinema ScreenOutdoor Cinema

We’ve mentioned this before, but we’re mentioning it again because it is such a fantastic idea. Don’t settle for a big movie night in a cramped living room, check out this customer built outdoor cinema! Most iterations of this idea involve using old PVC piping, weighted buckets and sheets, but we suggest using one of our ever versatile shade sails. If you have the space to manage it, simply hook one up on its side, grab a projector (and of course snacks!) and you are good to go.

Wheel Barrow PlantersWheel Barrow Planter

Revive some life back into an old wheelbarrow and fill it up with soil and plants. Simple as that. Just make sure you have a few small holes for drainage, beware of large holes though or you could end up with flowers across your lawn! Not only does this provide you with a super versatile planter, you can easily move it to anywhere in your garden.

Garden MarkersGarden Markers

If you are particularly arty and need some plant markers, grab some stones from your garden and get painting. These works particularly well when growing your own vegetables are you can get pretty creative with your markers. If you’re feeling brave you could even let your kids loose with the paint and let their imagination run wild.

Coffee GroundsCoffee Grounds

This one isn’t so much a creative ornament or display but a way to recycle something you probably throw out every morning. If like me, you prefer percolated coffee to instant then it turns out you have one of the best and most versatile tools any gardener can have! Sprinkling said coffee grounds on your shrubs and home grown veggies will not only give them a nitrogen boost – promoting better growth – it also doubles as a natural way to deter slugs and ants!

Pallet ShelvingPallet Herb Garden

If you have had a large pallet delivery in the past and don’t know what to do with it, this is a fantastic a rustic way to show off your plants or home grown herbs. Simply remove some of the strips of wood, leaving the top and bottom sections of the pallet. Be sure to use a hammer to remove the nails without damaging them, you’ll need these later. Reattach these pieces of wood at suitable shelving heights and use any remaining strips for front facing and feet. If you are unsure, take a look at the images below for a better step by step idea – but we can assure you, these look fantastic!

Fancy trying your hand at any of these DIY garden ideas? Show us how you get on and send in any pictures to our Facebook or TwitterIf any of these are featured on site, we’ll be sure to send you a £5 voucher!

 

GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Garden Screening, George, How To, Make over

Screening is one of those great multipurpose garden accessories: it’s decorative, great for privacy and provides a boundary that every outdoor space needs. It’s also incredibly easy to put up yourself – all you need is some steel wire and a pair of pliers. So choose your favourite type of outdoor screening (bamboo, reed and willow are a few of our favourites!) and read on to learn how to install garden screening.

Garden Screening

Screening vs fencing

Many people confuse screening with hurdle fencing. It’s easy to do, as they’re both types of decorative borders often made from natural wood materials. The main difference is that hurdles are generally a freestanding fence, while screening comes in rolls and needs to be attached to existing walls or fencing.

Things you’ll need

  • Screening rolls and existing fence
  • Pliers
  • Galvanised wire, cable ties or staples

How to install garden screening

How to Install Garden Screening

  1. With the pliers, attach the screening roll to the fence by tightening the wire or cable ties around both the screening rods and the fence.
  2. You can also staple the screening to the fence posts, but for bamboo make sure to staple the wires that join the canes rather than the canes themselves or they will split.
  3. Bind the screening to the fence at regular intervals – every 50cm vertically and 10cm horizontally.
  4. This should ensure the screening is fixed taught and firmly held in place, even during windy weather.

How to put up garden screening as a freestanding fence

If you have no existing fence to attach your screening to, then you will need to create a framework first.Fixing Garden Screening

  1. Position 75x75cm wooden posts at most 2m apart along the length you desire.
  2. Join the posts with vertical rails every 50cm upwards.
  3. The posts should be twice the height of the screening roll, with half the length buried in the ground.
  4. Surround the bases with concrete at least 5cm thick on all sides.
  5. Then attach the screening to the frame as detailed above.

Fitted Garden Screening

We hope these instructions make putting up your garden screening as simple a task as possible. All it takes is a little DIY and you can enjoy a revitalised natural surround to your garden. If you have any tips from your own experience, please share them below!

 

 

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.