Spruce up your garden for summer

Spring has sprung and with the sunnier days comes the inevitable desire to spend more time outside. If, like many, you left your outdoor space to ruin over the winter then now is the time to spruce up your garden, balcony or even your windowsill. And there's nothing like an injection of colour to give even the most lacklustre outdoor space a new appeal.

Green fingers love to keep active and so for those avid gardeners we have listed below some top tips to spruce up your garden space for summer.

If you're not naturally green-fingered then, regardless of whether it's a small outdoor terrace space, a modest garden, a balcony or acres of land, maintaining your outdoor space can feel like a chore. In fact in a recent study Audley Villages discovered that when it comes to household chores, 14% of UK adults say weeding and sweeping leaves in the garden is their least favourite activity. On average, they are reluctantly spending an average of four and a half hours a month doing tedious gardening admin, and that's higher in spring and summer.

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Opt for colour

There are so many bold and beautiful flowers, native to the UK, to plant in an indoor or outdoor space during the warmer months. You only need visit any local garden centre to be greeted by a sea of vibrant colours. If you're not sure where to start, some popular favourites are:

  • Peonies
  • Rhodedendruns (this photo was captured by an owner at Willicombe Park)
  • Fuchsia
  • Beardtongue or Penstemon
  • Hydrangea
  • Zinnia
  • Sunflower
  • Geraniums
  • Pansies

Some flowers will only last a month or two, while other plants can flower all summer.

Not green-fingered? Inject colour another way...

If you're not an avid gardener and would prefer to take the low maintenance approach to gardening, then you can still add more than a splash of colour to your outdoor space using furniture, accessories and ornaments.

Outdoor use of faux flowers has become popular over recent years, with more common use of artificial hedging, screening and foliage in particular. Using faux flowers in vibrant colours can really spruce up an outdoor space, and on a budget too!

Bear in mind though, that faux flowers kept outside will inevitably fade in the sunshine (if kept in direct sunlight) and can be battered by the elements over time, so although they may seem like the easy option, they do not have the lifespan of perennials and some may need replacing annually to keep their vibrancy.

Popular ways to add an instant splash of colour

  • Seat cushions and towels
  • Painted fence panels
  • Painted plant pots in bold colours
  • Sculptures and wall art in bold designs
  • Faux flowers
  • Freshly purchased flowers

Big ideas for small spaces

Don't let your ideas be limited by the size of you outdoor space. Some outstanding spaces at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, among others, provide ample inspiration for creating a garden sanctuary inside or out, small or large.

RHS Director of Gardens and Shows said "The Balcony and Container Gardens and Houseplant Studios at RHS Chelsea show that any space can be turned into a garden sanctuary for the benefit of our health and the environment. The range of creative ideas... provide ample inspiration for creating a little piece of greenery in whatever space you have.”

Even growing fruit and vegetables is possible in the smallest of outdoor spaces.

Find a Flower Show near you in 2022

Britain’s flower shows are back, offering aesthetic inspiration and expert advice on everything from garden design to biodiversity, often with live music and great food thrown in for good measure. For a great day out, find a Flower Show near you.

Find a flower show

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'Bee' friendly

The British garden or even a balcony space can be a haven for British bumble bees and honey bees. You can buy and build bug houses as well as filling your outdoor space with flowers for pollunating.

Find out more about protecting British bees and pollinators, including how to make your own Bee Hotel at Wildlifetrusts.org.

Read more tips and experiences of gardening from Audley and guest experts.