Easy Garden Ideas: How To Get More Use Out Of Your Garden

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A nautical themed garden deck featuring composite dining cube, a wooden bench and two wooden chairs and a blue outdoor rug.

It’s that time of year where we are all looking for easy garden ideas so that we can really enjoy our outside space and make the most of our gardens. This week’s heatwave makes me incredibly grateful that we have a back garden and can really enjoy the time that we spend in our garden. It wasn’t always this way though. When we first bought our home our garden wasn’t very practical and consequently, we didn’t spend much time enjoying our outdoor space or the positive benefits of having a garden. So today I’d like to share some easy garden ideas that you can implement to upgrade your garden and make sure that you don’t waste the outdoor space that you have.

Clear Out Your Garden

First things first, if you want to use that space, you need to work out what you have to play with. If you have random junk or debris in your garden, you should clear it out as soon as possible. You know what I’m talking about! Broken garden furniture, that old parasol, rusty bikes that your kids have outgrown, old plant pots, garden tools? You’ll be surprised how much difference a good clear-out can make to how you feel about your garden.

Get it Landscaped

A wooden deck with trellis panels and a cottage in the background

Traditional Decorative Trellis panel from Richard Burbidge Decking available at B&Q

The reason we didn’t use our garden much when we first moved in is because it was quite heavily sloped. That made it really difficult for us to enjoy spending time out there. Whilst we had a great lawn, the fact that it was so sloped meant that we couldn’t have any garden furniture as we had no flat areas to place it. Even sitting on the grass wasn’t enjoyable as the slope was very inconvenient.

We decided it would be too much work and too costly to get the garden flattened out and we didn’t want to have multiple levels in the garden. We decided to build a raised deck area that would give us a large flat surface which we could enjoy in our back garden. Since we have had the deck we spent a lot more time outside enjoying our garden space, entertaining and alfresco dining.

A deck is one option, a patio is another, and a lawn is also a great way to make your garden space more enjoyable if you don’t already have one. Whatever you decide to do, really think about how you and your family want to use the garden and use that as your starting point for any changes that you want to make. Think about maintenance when making a choice as there will obviously be some upkeep required. A composite deck will require less upkeep and maintenance than a wooden one for example.

Choose Garden Furniture

Left: Challenger T2 Square Olive Green Cantilever Parasol 3x3m from Clickstyle (affiliate link) | Right: GoodHome Hamilton Steeple grey Rattan effect Storage box from B&Q

Now that you have a useable flat area in your garden, whether that is a deck or a patio or a lawn, you will want to add some garden furniture so that you can comfortably enjoy your garden. As far as easy garden ideas go, this one probably isn’t as easy as it first seems. I’ve become obsessed with looking at garden furniture over the past few weeks and there are so many great option available it can lead to analysis paralysis.

You want to start by thinking about what you will use the furniture for. Is it for alfresco dining? It is for relaxing and lounging? Think about what you intend to spend your time doing in the garden and this will drive the decision. Next, think about the materials that your furniture will be made of. If you live somewhere wet and rainy like the UK, remember that metal furniture will rust. Wood will need regular maintenance and upkeep. If you choose furniture that is upholstered, make sure you choose waterproof fabric and better still, invest in some waterproof garden storage so that you can pack any cushions away for the wetter winter months. I highly recommend getting furniture covers to protect your investment from the elements.

Add a Garden Building

a garden featuring a 4m Premium Hexagonal Wooden Garden Gazebo with Cedar Roof

4m Premium Hexagonal Wooden Garden Gazebo with Cedar Roof from Forest

If you live in a country that does not have great weather all year round, like the UK, this will limit how much time you get to spend in your garden. One of my favourite easy garden ideas is to add a garden building. Garden buildings include things like glazed extensions, sheds, summer houses, log cabins, gazebos, pergolas, garden pods or even garden domes.

If you had a lot of clutter to clear out when you first started this garden upgrade project, you might want to explore garden sheds. They are a great way to make the most of the space in your garden. A shed is a designed to keep your tools and other things garden equipment safely out of the way, leaving the rest of your garden safe to enjoy. A quick way to install a shed is to use plastic shed bases as a foundation for your shed, then install the type and size of shed that suits your needs.

Remember to keep your shed neat and ordered. It’s easy to let it fill up with clutter if you’re not careful. We installed some tall plastic shelving in our shed so that we could neatly store everything we need to properly enjoy our garden.

Garden buildings can help you not only make the most of your garden but you can also add extra living space to your home such as a home office space, a home gym, or even a guest bedroom for visitors to have some privacy.

Install Garden Lighting

A garden bench with a blanket beside and a low wooden table surrounded by lanterns and LED candles

Garden lighting from Lights4Fun

Garden lighting will allow you to extend the time that you spend in the garden all year round. You won’t need to pack up and rush inside as soon as the sun sets if you install some practical garden lighting. Think of practical way-finding lighting that can illuminate the path from your house to the main area where you spend time in the garden. You’ll also want some lighting to illuminate the deck or patio area or the summerhouse. Consider festoon lights, fairy lights, lanterns, or realistic LED candles. You can get some great solar lights now for reasonably cheap so lighting up your garden shouldn’t be difficult or expensive.

Grow Plants and Flowers

A basket in a vegetable garden

One of the most obvious ways to use your garden is to grow things. Gardening is a fantastic hobby and a great way to make sure that your precious outdoor space isn’t going to waste.

Flower beds are beautiful and add a splash of colour to your garden. They’re also great for encouraging pollinators, which is good for the environment in general.

Growing fruit and vegetables is a great way to supplement your groceries. Some people are able to largely support themselves at certain times of the year, but even if you don’t have the time or space for an extensive garden, there’s something wonderful about providing a few key ingredients this way. A herb garden only takes up a plant pot or two, but it can make a huge difference to your cooking.

We’ve built some raised beds in our garden and this year we have grown a few of our favourite things which are quick to grow and really easy. We’ve grown cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, mint and dill. It’s not a massive selection by any means, but the kids enjoy seeing things grow and we all enjoy harvesting and eating our own food.

So those are my easy garden ideas to help you take full advantage of your outdoor space this summer and all year round. Here are some more ideas for making your garden your favourite place on earth that you might enjoy.

Let me know if there is something else you would recommend doing in the comments below.

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