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7 Tips to Make the Most of your Garden

Get your green fingers going with these great pointers

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Haywain, Plum Guide home in Essex, UK

So, you finally took the plunge, and bought or rented a place with a garden. In these times of increasing stress and urbanisation, gardens are more important than ever for our well-being, mental health and physical activity (depending on the size of the garden of course). And after so much home isolation time, your back yard is a life saver, making for a safe outdoor space for recreation. Of course, now that you have that garden, you’re left with something of a conundrum: what to do with it. You can’t just leave it to fester and die. Rather, it must grow and bloom into a source of pride. Easier said than done? Just follow these steps to create a garden of Babylon proportions. Before you know it, birds and ladybugs will grace the shiny leaves of your own little forest. Here at Plum Guide, we offer so much more than just the best holiday homes around - also utilising our knowledge to provide you with expert advice to help you really make the most of your garden.

1. Take care of your plants

Garden plant being watered

Garden plant being watered

Well, first you have to actually use the verb of the noun. By that, we mean you have to plant the plants. This means picking up seeds at your local garden centre. Make sure you do your research about the kinds of plants that prosper in your home’s climate. Once you’ve set up these floral beauties, ensure you water regularly, and deadhead the spent flowers. This means pruning the dead blooms so that other rival petals can thrive in their place.

Rollright Retreat, Plum Guide home in the Cotswolds, UK

Rollright Retreat, Plum Guide home in the Cotswolds, UK

2. Kit your space out with garden furniture

So, now that your plants are blooming like a Dutch tulip farm, you’ll need to complement those flowers with furniture to really make the most of your garden. If you have a patio, set up a dining table for outdoor meals. Guests will love socialising outside with you into the early hours. For something trendy and comfortable, try furniture made from rattan vines that are woven together. It’s strong and durable, and comes in a range of colours and styles. Wooden furniture is another great option, although can need maintenance. Metal chairs will probably need cushions, and can get hot on those sunny summer days, but are another great option for kitting out your back yard.

Moon Hangout, Plum Guide home in Paris

Moon Hangout, Plum Guide home in Paris

3. Add lights for a pleasant evening ambiance

Lights can turn even the dullest of nights into a buzzy or romantic evening with a flick of a switch. Wind the lights around some of your favourite new plants, as a way of focussing attention on your green-fingered artistic endeavours. Electric is an option, but solar powered lights are the eco-friendliest option, and you can impress your friends with your commitment to a healthier environment. You can get all sorts of different displays, with some resembling fireworks, and others like imitation flames to really give your party a fiery ambiance. Or you can even just use the lights for their intended purpose of helping you see at night (boring).

LE CHACUEL, Plum Guide home in Joshua Tree, US

LE CHACUEL, Plum Guide home in Joshua Tree, US

4. Grow vegetables to spice up your meals

Tomatoes growing on a plant

Tomatoes growing on a plant

Yes, we’ve moved on from the agricultural revolution, and you can now buy food from these wonderful things called supermarkets. But there’s nothing quite like growing your own food from scratch and serving it to friends over dinner with a smug smile. Don’t forget to test your soil before you start, as you’ll need your pH levels to be hitting between 6.5 and 7. You can get a measuring kit in most garden centres. Take care of the spacing between your veggies, and know that you start the onion process indoors. And be patient - these things won't grow overnight, but they'll be well worth the wait.

Olive Branch Offering, Plum Guide home in Umbria, Italy

Olive Branch Offering, Plum Guide home in Umbria, Italy

5. Welcome the birds into your garden

Birds on a feeder

Birds on a feeder

If it was good enough for Mary Poppins (and Home Alone 2), then it’s good enough for us. There’s something magical and Disney-esque (we’re thinking of Snow White now) about feeding winged wildlife. The sound of chirping birds filling your garden is enough to brighten any garden-keeper’s day. Purchase a feeder from a garden centre, and set it up in an open spot (away from predators). Pick up your seeds and live mealworms, fat balls and bird cakes, and the birds will soon flock. Hopefully, it’ll be like those aforementioned films, rather than Hitchcock’s The Birds.

6. Dig a pond to cater for the fish

Fish and flower in a pond

Fish and flower in a pond

If the birds, plants and vegetables still aren’t enough, it’s time to dig a pond. It’s thought that there are now more frogs and other such slimy things in garden ponds than in the countryside nowadays. All you need is an open area, a plank of wood and a few other bits and pieces to truly make the most of your garden. Stick some pond plants inside, and fill it up with rainwater. Within a few months you’ll have a thriving eco-system in your very own back yard.

7. Build a ladybug habitat

Ladybug on grass

Ladybug on grass

It’s not just the birds that can bring life to your forest-like garden. For something a little subtler and smaller in scope, build a ladybug habitat. Did you know that you can order these pretty little insects in the mail? Better yet, construct your own environment for them by simply piecing together a hollow pipe, and padding it with bamboo and scrap wood. You can also attract these spotted creatures by leaving nettles in your garden, and avoiding pesticides. Your garden will reap the benefits, because ladybugs eat some of the most destructive pests known for attacking plants.

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