With many now indoors for the foreseeable future, gardening has been one of the most popular activities people have picked up. There has never been a better time to spruce up your outdoor space and get it ready for the sunny months ahead.
Express.co.uk spoke to loan provider Hitachi Personal Finance (HPC) about how you can transform your garden for free.
Managing Director of HPC Vincent Reboul told Express.co.uk said: “With many now spending a lot more time at home, it’s important that we don’t forget to take care of ourselves and our households.
“Whilst spending time in the garden can be beneficial for our overall wellbeing, getting everything in order can be overwhelming and also expensive.
“As many people look to reduced their expenditure, we wanted to offer some useful insight on how you can spruce up your garden without having to spend a penny, and make sure Brits are getting that much needed time in their gardens.”
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Transform your garden
Start with a tidy up
Although it won’t necessarily add anything new to your garden, giving it a good straighten up could help you give your outdoor space a new lease of life.
Former Kew gardener Scott Chandler said: “Many of us put off the nitty-gritty gardening chores, but de-weeding your patio, fixing that wonky fence panel or simply mowing the lawn will turn a scruffy garden into a purposefully rustic outdoor area.
“If you have grass, keep it short. If you have a patio or decking, use a pressure washer to spray away any dirt and slime, it’s much more pleasing on the eyes and one less chore.”
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FineGardening.com adds: “Once you work out which areas need the most work, turn your attention to making sure these spaces are nice and clear.
“Prune out dead branches and remove dead plants, roots, weeds and all.
“This step goes a long way to making a garden look fresh. Mow, trim, and edge the lawn as well.
“Crisp edges between beds, lawns, and hardscapes make a big difference between a garden that looks neat and orderly and one that looks uncared for.”
Divide your plants
HPC said: “If you’re wanting to up the number of flowers and plants in your garden, without any additional cost, now is the perfect time to divide or split summer-flowering plants.
“By dividing your plants, you’ll be able to add more colour to your garden whilst also making your original plants healthier by making sure they don’t overgrow.
“Primroses, daylilies, asters, gems, heucheras, hardy geraniums and Japanese anemones are all suitable for dividing.
“To separate your plants, dig up the clump whilst gently loosening the soil at the same time.
“Using a trowel or your hands (depending on the plant), carefully pull the plant apart, making sure each section has plenty of roots still attached.
“Then simply replant these new sections in your garden and water well.”
Don’t forget about your garden buildings
HPC said: “The winter months can take their toll on your garden buildings so use this time to check your sheds and greenhouses and make sure they are still in good stead.
“A fresh lick of paint and regular ventilation now the weather is improving will help your garden buildings.”
Create ‘zones’ within the garden
Creating different zones within your garden can help make the space feel bigger and provide a much needed boost to your outdoor area.
Moving garden furniture such as chairs or outdoor tables into one section to create a seating space and children’s play items into another section to create a mini-play area, will help to ensure all the family can take for themselves and get a much-needed break from the indoors.
Entice wildlife to your garden
HPC says: “Inviting wildlife into your garden is a really nice way to help break up the day and can even help to educate children whilst they are at home.
“From birds to bees, there are loads of free and easy ways you can open your outdoor space to more wildlife.
“Tying a bunch of hollow sterns like bamboo together with string and placing them in an old terracotta plant pot or open wooden box will create a lovely new bee hotel for your garden, helping to preserve the dwindling bee population.
“Another easy way of attracting wildlife to your garden is to build a pile of dead wood in a shady area as a habitat for small mammals, amphibians and insects.
“And why not help out the hedgehogs by leaving any leftover dried fruit or cooked veg out in your garden? Make sure to avoid bread and milk as these items can make hedgehogs ill.”
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