Nothing beats spending a warm summer evening relaxing in the garden as the sun goes down, whether it's over a glass of wine with your partner or with the whole family gathered around.
In order to enjoy your garden to the full, you first need to ensure it looks the part. But even if your outdoor space is in need of some TLC, giving it a makeover doesn't have to be difficult or expensive with these top tips.
While it may be tempting to simply buy a car-boot full of plants and flowers already in pots, a much more cost-effective way to transfer your garden into a summer sanctuary is to grow from seed. Whether it's flower or vegetable seeds, garden centres, DIY stores and online retailers sell a huge variety which simply need sowing in a little compost and regularly watering before the results start to appear.
If you're sowing a new lawn, or overseeding an existing one, grass seeds can be sown directly onto the soil where you want your lawn to go and should be ready for mowing within about six weeks.
If you have garden furniture that could do with sprucing up, like benches and sheds, there's no need to spend money replacing them - a lick of paint will bring them back to life in no time.
Of course, what colour you want to paint them is up to you but black is an extremely versatile option, making old items appear chic and larger items like fences disappear into the background where they will provide the perfect backdrop for plants and greenery.
Nice gardens are there to be enjoyed, so why not illuminate yours and enjoy it right up until bedtime?
Outdoor lights are a cheap and cheerful way of bringing a gentle glow to your outdoor space, with string lights, lanterns and solar lights all effective and popular options. Positioning lights in and around trees and plants, along fences and across pergolas creates a perfect setting for barbecues and gatherings and will bring your garden to life.
Not having a lawn doesn't mean you can't enjoy a green outdoor space.
If you have a patio, decking or a balcony, container gardening is the perfect way to introduce some colourful flowers to the exterior of your property - all you need are some seeds or flowers and some containers to grow them in. Just remember, containers can restrict root growth so you'll need to be precise with how much you water them and make sure they have sufficient drainage.
Beautiful gardens are great but they also need to be practical and have some structure. If yours is in danger of becoming a little too wild, laying a gravel path will make it more user-friendly with the minimum of fuss and without breaking the bank.
To make a gravel path, simply mark out the area where you want it to go, scrape away any loose soil, pin down a permeable membrane to prevent weeds getting through and spread the gravel evenly over the top. There are several types of gravel to choose between so pick the one which most contrasts with the rest of your garden for maximum effect.
If you're trying to live more sustainably, upcycling everyday items into eye-catching garden accessories is a great - and cheap - idea. Here are some tips to get you started:
Many people's ultimate garden accessory is cheaper and easier to make than you might imagine.
All you need to do is dig a hole in your garden, protect the bottom and sides with a pool liner, lay a layer of stones and pebbles on top of the liner, then fill with water. Not only will it look great, it will bring your outdoor space to life by attracting wildlife into your garden.
At Leeds Credit Union, one of our loans can help you create your dream garden. We have loans available from £250 to £20,000 that could help make your new garden project more affordable - find out more here.
Leeds City Credit Union is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (FRN 213369).
Tel: (0113) 242 3343 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Registered Office: Leeds City Credit Union Ltd, 2nd Floor Westminster Buildings, 31 New York Street, Leeds LS2 7DT
Site by Shaw, Edinburgh
© Leeds City Credit Union 2018