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How to restore a neglected garden


To make the most of your wooden garden chairs, you need a landscape that will relax and delight you.  A neglected garden can be dispiriting.  To make a difference seems like such a lot of work and could take a lot of money.  You could have weeds everywhere, grass up to your thighs, out of control trees.  Where do you begin?

If you are going to enjoy your outside space, you need to embrace this challenge and get to grips with the wilderness of your neglected garden.  Here we give you some simple tips to guide you.

It will take patience

If you have just moved into the house and have inherited a neglected garden, then it is best to wait before undertaking too much work.  You need to know where the shade falls in the garden and where you will experience harsh sunlight.  It is a good idea to see the garden each season too, to understand how the garden evolves.

Obviously, there are jobs you can start, but you need to take these a step at a time.  If you see the whole job, you will feel intimidated.  Therefore, you need to consider it a work in progress rather than something to be attacked in one go.  If you want to motivate yourself, do one of the quickest jobs first.  If all you do is mow the lawn, there will be a great sense of achievement.

Write a to-do list and budget

As you watch your garden and get to know its character, begin to make a list of the jobs you want doing.  Which plants do you want to preserve or turn into a feature, which trees dominate and need dealing with? Once you have a complete list, put the jobs into a sensible order.  You should also research the cost of these changes and make sure you have the budget to cover them.

Part of your plan should be which plants you want to keep and which you wish to clear.  You may decide you want to clear out some trees.  However, having a tree removed is difficult and expensive.  The trees also grow slowly, so they are difficult to replace if you change your mind.  Therefore, leave your trees until last, putting them to the bottom of your to-do list.

Create some space

The first jobs you do will create space in the garden.  You are looking to clear the area, so you can see exactly what you need to do.  This will help with your to-do list and your overall design plan for the garden.  It is best to clear this space during the winter months when nothing is growing.  You can then compost any organic matter you have cleared for use later in your beds and borders.

To create space, you do not have to dig everything up.  You can just prune back the existing plants to create the space but also to encourage new growth.  If the idea of pruning scares you, then do some internet searching to identify the plants and how they like to be treated.

Working on the lawn

Steps to improve the grass will take time to take effect.  The first step is to mow it and trim the edges.  You may find there are a lot of patches or weeds.  You can reseed in spring, and during the summer months feed the lawn.  You should make sure the lawn is well watered on hotter days.

If rescuing the lawn is out of the question, you could re-turf the lawn.  If you do re-turf, you may wish to dig down to make sure there is no builder’s scree preventing the lawn from prospering.

Drawing up a design and sticking to it

When you have finished clearing the space and tidying up the neglected landscape, you should start to think about the positive choices you will make.  It would be best if you researched on the theme, choosing a consistent design that will guide all your decisions will give you the best overall finish.  Enjoy this, visiting garden shows and open gardens to see what you like.

When you have finished your to-do list, then it is time to start thinking of those wonderful extras.  Garden chairs and tables, sheds and decking will add value to your outdoor space.

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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