A garden, if cared for in the right way, can be the ideal place to spend a few hours away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. By their very nature as green spaces, they should be relaxing places which add beauty to your property and help the local ecosystem at the same time. All you need is a few tools and a lot of enthusiasm to transform your garden into a place that can be enjoyed by all the family. This slideshow offers you 10 tips to help make your garden into a wonderful place.
Basic equipment for the garden
You will need a set of garden trimmers to cut leaves and branches, as well as a small shovel to remove dirt and soil, a garden hose to water the plants and a saw to remove thick branches. Buying a rake and some gloves is also essential. If your garden is big or you are planning major works, you will need a lawn mower, a large shovel for planting and seeding and a shed in which to store fertilisers and pesticides. You may even want to think about investing in an automatic watering system.
Choose the correct plants
You should select plants which will prosper in the climate of the region where you live. A good tip is to seek advice in your local garden centre. The staff there will be able to tell you which plants are best suited to the weather in your part of the world. They will also be able inform you which plants are most resistant to the sun and to pests, which are the most delicate and how and when they are in bloom. If you buy plants from a shop not specialising in garden products, be sure to fully read the labels on the plant pots. These labels should indicate whether the plant needs shade or sun and how often it should be watered.
Thinking about the lawn
A lawn adds beauty and elegance to your garden but it also takes a lot of work to keep it looking good. It requires regular watering and cutting to maintain a healthy appearance. You may need to use special compost to keep it free from pests and diseases. Choosing a resistant variety of grass, even though it may be coarser, is ideal if you have children or pets. To avoid damage under foot, it is a good idea to have a ceramic or stone pathway in the areas where you and your family will most often walk.
Beware of diseased plants
It is advisable, especially if you are new to gardening, to avoid plants that require special care. When buying plants, you should take care not to choose ones with leaves that have strange marks or pigments as this could be a signal of a fungal infection. If you have already planted and after a while you notice areas of fungus, cut off the infected leaves to avoid the problem spreading.
Insecticides? Yes, but use ecological ones
These days, you can select from a wide a variety of insecticides and pesticides which are environmentally friendly. The ones to look out for include those that use capsaicin, or better still, the bacteria bacillus thuringiensis which is a biological pesticide. Furthermore, there are also plants, such as rue, thyme and basil, which naturally repel insects. When you go to a specialist shop, read the labels and avoid using those products that instruct you to destroy or bury the container once its contents have been fully used.
Identifying beneficial insects
While greenflies, snails and slugs can cause havoc in the garden, there are insects that help protect it. Ladybirds, for example, help protect your plants from insects such as greenflies as they eat them. Earthworms are also another valuable ally to have. Both species can actually be ordered online from specialists. It is also a good idea to encourage birds that eat pests to visit your garden by placing discreet bird feeders. Their birdsong will also be an extra bonus as it will bring further cheer to your green space.
What you should know about trees
Are you thinking about planting a tree? It is an excellent idea, as besides helping the environment it also gives you an area of shade within which to keep cool during hot summer days. It is important that you make the right choice. For example, if you have a small garden, do not pick a tree that has roots that spread out too much. Some trees shed leaves at different times of year and you should be aware that you will need to rake the fallen leaves from your garden. You should also be on the lookout for disease and parasites and carry out regular pruning, if you do not want excessive growth.
Locking in the moisture
Know as mulching, this technique entails using leaves and branches from pruning, stones and even straw to pack the ground surface that borders your plants. This is designed to stop the moisture from escaping. It is a technique that will also make your garden look well maintained. A machine for shredding garden materials will save you a lot of time, but if you do not have one, you can use a sharp tool to cut them up.
Fertilisers? Use the natural option
You do not have to spend a fortune on nitrogen fertilisers or special soil. Simply place your pruning materials and food waste in a compost bin at the end of your garden. This can be a plastic bin that you intersperse with layers of soil or you can even dig a hole in the ground. Either way, you can then use the compost to fertilise your soil and plants.
Dedicate your time to the garden
To fully enjoy your garden, you need to dedicate some of your time each day (or part of your weekend) to check which areas need extra soil, pruning and watering. It is good to have such a project, as you will see your plants grow and you will learn about their needs. If you are new to gardening, start with easy plants and step by step you can begin to undertake new projects. Enjoy your work and soon you will have your very own Garden of Eden.