12 Easy and Affordable Ways You Can Refresh Your Garden This YearColin Campbell-Preston
Although the cold weather is keeping many of us out of the garden, January is a great time to plan new projects for the year ahead. If your garden is looking a little dreary, follow these quick, easy and affordable tips to give it a facelift for the New Year.
1. Paint your flower pots
There might not be many flowers in the garden at this time of year – but there’s nothing to stop you introducing colour in other ways! Refresh dull flower pots with bright cheerful colours using outdoor paint. Just remove any stickers from the pots, gently sand off any residue and paint your pots any way you like. Try painting the pot one colour and using a stencil to add motifs in another colour. Your designs will last longer if you finish them with acrylic sealant.
2. Treat the shed
If your shed is looking a little worn, you can rectify this using a wood treatment during a mild spell – Cuprinol offers a gorgeous range of 32 ‘Garden Shades’ which include bold brights (try Beach Blue, Sunny Lime or Sweet Sundae), as well as pretty pastels (Sweet Pea, Coastal Mist or Seagrass are favourites). As a finishing touch, try stencilling on flowers, birds and creatures.
3. Refresh garden furniture
Shabby wooden benches and old wooden seating sets will benefit from a coat of wood treatment, helping to prolong their lifespan while giving them a fresh new look. Again, wait for a mild spell and try Cuprinol’s Garden Shades, which offer some brilliant colour choices if you want to branch out from the natural wood look.
4. Repair your fencing
Broken or crumbling fencing makes the garden look uncared for – and while repairing it may be a rather dull task, it will really give your garden a new lease of life ready for the spring. It’s also important to repair problems quickly so that they don’t impact the rest of your fencing.
Some fence panels may be so rotten or badly damaged that they need replacing altogether. They come in standard sizes, so it’s easy to find the right-sized replacement.
You may also need to reinforce the fence posts at the base from time to time. This part of the fence is most likely to rot as it is buried under the ground. If there is a little rot, you can usually just reinforce the post with a concrete spur. If the rot is extensive, you may need to replace the post altogether.
Sometimes the arris rails on the fence panels get broken, particularly when it is windy or during a storm. These are the horizontal wooden rails on the back of the fence panels and they can be easily mended with arris rail brackets.
If you get a dry spell, consider giving the fence a new lick of paint. This will give it a lovely fresh look and help to protect it again future bad weather.
5. Create some garden decorations
There are plenty of ways to create decorations that give your garden a cheery look – even in the depths of winter. Brightly painted rocks are a great way to add a splash of colour in a dull wintery flower bed, and painted stepping stones add a little colour to the winter lawn. Wooden bird houses and insect houses can be painted for adding a splash of colour to fences and sheds – while providing much-needed food and water for our feathered friends.
A low picket fence offers the perfect opportunity for a more creative colour scheme – use a rainbow of paint colours, or paint each post to look like a different character.
6. Plant flower displays
There’s no easier way to cheer up a dull garden than with colourful flowers. Give your garden a quick lift with some bright blooms that will last through the colder months until your spring bulbs push through. Good choices for the winter garden include pansies, violas and primroses, which can withstand the colder weather – just be that deep frost can curtail their flowering. Winter cyclamen are another popular choice, but note that a very cold spell of below -4 may kill them off without protection. They will usually do a little better in a window box, or you can use frost protection when the temperature really drops.
Your winter plants can go in your beds and borders, or around the garden in hanging baskets, containers and window boxes.
7. Don’t forget shrubs
Shrubs are another way to introduce colour to the garden in winter months. Try Hamamelis intermedia which flowers in January and February with bright red spicy-smelling flowers – or Helleborus niger – also known as the Christmas rose, which has gorgeous white flowers nestled in green foliage.
8. Create some new containers
If you’re feeling the pinch after the Christmas season, let your imagination run wild with recycled containers. Old tyres can be sprayed with bright spray paints and laid on their side to create bright planters. An upside down bright umbrella filled to about half way with soil makes a fun container to hold pansies or violas (although the soil will weigh this down, try securing the base to the ground with tent pegs to help protect it in windy conditions).
9. Light up your lawn
Lighting can add atmosphere to the garden and looks incredibly pretty after a little snowfall. There are so many low-cost choices now that don’t require expensive wiring. Solar powered lighting is a great option – not only does it cost you less, but you’ll also be doing your bit for the environment. There are a wide variety of styles, from hanging lanterns to stakes, that are perfect for edging your paths and borders.
10. Look for freebies
People often advertise garden freebies on Freecycle.org and Ilovefreegle.org. You’ll find garden furniture, paving slabs, gardening equipment and much more, all for no more than the cost of your petrol in collecting the item. eBay is also worth a look – people sometimes advertise bulky items at token prices for ‘Collection Only’. This saves them the trouble of having to dispose of the item and reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfill.
11. Plan ahead
Winter is a great time to sow seeds indoors for the year ahead. Try sowing begonias, geraniums and dianthus – all of which can be planted now as they are slow to flower from seed. You could also try growing Lobelia indoors, which looks beautiful through the summer in your hanging baskets and containers.
12. Bring the garden inside
Improve your garden view by livening up your window sills – herbs bring fresh greenery into your home through the bare winter months and make a fantastic addition to your cooking. You could also try growing spinach or salad leaves on a bright windowsill – these will produce delicious early greens.
Once the risk of frost has passed, you can sow hardy broad beans (try Aquadulce Claudia) directly outdoors.
At Capital Gardens, we have everything you need to refresh and revitalise your garden this year. Head to one of our three store locations to view our complete range of quality gardening products.