The end of May always signifies a change for our home. The weather is warm enough to go out and STAY out. So throughout the month we have been preparing for the massive exodus into our garden. The funny thing is that when we first saw the property and decided to put an offer in it, most of the garden was hibernating (it was early March) and we had thought 'Boy, we have to buy a few plants alright..". Little did we know then that come mid April our garden would fully awaken. By May that would be a totally different garden altogether. Kudos to the previous owners who thought landscaping was a must and as such engaged a professional firm to landscape, build round decks and install lighting around fences, rockery and outside the house, front and back. They also supplied great quality plants that have been properly established and keep blooming year after year with no effort from us, whatsoever.
How to make the most of your garden
First of all you need some garden furniture, right? If you're in the look out for smaller garden furniture or something to fit a balcony, this pretty little set from Clas Ohlson does exactly what it says on the box. The fact that it is foldable means you can pack it nicely in your shed during the winter months to keep it out of the rain. If you just have a balcony, note that the wood is treated so it should handle rain nicely, nevertheless a rain cover means you will enjoy your outdoor furniture longer. If your space is bigger however, synthetic rattan (which will last longer) is a firm favourite and this is a set that you can accessorise easily with planters and hurricane lamps.
I was looking for a small set that is easier to move around so I could chase the sun in different places around the garden throughout the day. Our main garden furniture - which I must say came with the house - weighs too much to move on my own so this pre-treated cafe set is just perfect. With all our garden furniture already being wood-coloured, I also wanted something that would not look out of place. This set comes from Clas Ohlson and costs £29.99. It is available online as well as in their shops.
The cafe set includes 2 chairs and 1 foldable table, £24.99 Clas Ohlson
The set arrived within a couple days of ordering it, in its own set box, and required no assembly what so ever. Just unpack and enjoy, which is exactly what I did. So I made some of my favourite rose tea, I brought a couple sheepskin seat covers - just for the fab factor - and an interiors magazine, and set about to enjoy the garden. Then I realised there was work to be done, and started planning.
This month - June
We consider our garden to be generally low maintenance - there are two large decks and a big patch of lawn in the middle, a big patch of plants next to the lawn and the whole garden has a natural 4 meter hedge all around. We have the hedge pruned once a year and cut the lawn once a week in Spring/Summer. The patch of plants in the middle is "contained" and we only need to take care of weeds as they come out. And out they come indeed! Here are my go to accessories for a tidy garden.
From the top: Nitrile Foam Work Gloves, £7.99; Cocraft Garden Trowel, £4.99; Fiskars P68 Bypass Secateurs, £18.99 are top of the range but mine have lasted over 4 years now! Cocraft 2 L Pressure Sprayer, £7.99 is my go to tool in the war against weeds. Great for mixing up the right amount of weed killer and water, pump and then just spray; Jute Twine, £2.99 is great for supporting plants; Flexible Plastic Tub, £7.99, will come in handy when you are pruning or getting weeds out and you want something to gather them all in; I use this pop-up bag (in fact have two of them!) for when cutting the lawn, £7.99; a hose reel that you can carry or mount on your wall (like I have) makes the garden extra tidy, £19.99; and of course, for some extra special help, MiracleGro will help you get your flowers to the next level, £13.99. All products available from CLAS OHLSON.
Top 5 jobs for this month:
Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds
Position summer hanging baskets and containers outside
Mow lawns at least once a week
Stake tall or floppy plants
Prune many spring-flowering shrubs
Best tip: you might be inclined to buy a pair of cute looking garden gloves. Don't! Go for properly lined work gloves so that thorns won't come through easily and which will still look good after you used them a couple times. The gloves below fit properly around your wrist so no soil will get in when you're digging/ carrying soil. Avoid white gloves!
Accessorise your garden
This is a no brainer really. No matter what the size of your outdoor space you can use a number of accessories to add focal points. Try containers, which can restrain growth, so if you are not green fingered all you need to do is just water the containers and if you kill the plants (oh-oh) you just start again next year. Remember to go for frost free planters if you are buying ceramic to avoid any breakage from cold. Planters in groups of three in different heights are the best.
Add an outdoor area rug - they are made of fancy plastic and - hurray - won't get ruined by rain. So you can leave them out throughout the summer, but remember to give your rug a good wash underneath and store away for winter. No point in having the colour fade away unnecessarily. Put it under a dining table, a bench or under your coffee table set. I am already planning to purchase one!
In a sense, replicate what you have indoors. Your garden is that extra room you have and you should make the most out of it. Have benches? Put some cushions on them. Bring a basket or two outside and keep some throws in them in case it gets chilly. Baskets with handles like the one below are perfect for keeping your outdoor space tidy and for carrying things inside quickly when rain comes your way.
In the meanTIME
While I do spend more time outdoors, I pop back inside when inspiration strikes or when I need to see something on my computer. This week in blogger's HQ (aka my office) I added two lovely new items: copper hangers as magazine holders and an equally stylish copper wall clock (which will go on the wall, in due course!). I am particularly happy that the clock does not make any irritating noise while moving so it is perfect.
This post was prepared in collaboration with Clas Ohlson. All opinions and content my own. Products always chosen by me as I genuinely like them for my own space. A big thanks to the Clas Ohlson marketing team for allowing me to create fresh content on my blog and thank you, the readers, for supporting the brands that support this blog! Virtual high fives all around.