If having a green thumb is something you have never thought of you having, but you still would love a great city garden, you have came to the right place. Here you will find all the helpful tips and tricks to establishing your relaxing garden, for the good and bad weather, and if you have children or pets.
Don’t Let Your Garden Become A Burden
Gardens are one of the first parts of a house/home a person sees. This is where someone makes an initial thought of what they expect from your home. If your garden is tidy, this will assume that the inside of your home is too (or a controlled mess at most!). If your garden is untidy or overgrown, it might deter people from visiting your home, even if your home is beautiful inside. It’s all about perception and prejudice.
So, what if you’re are not the biggest greens-keeper compared to your neighbours and other members of your family? How can you keep your garden looking beautiful, easily? How can you make use of the spare space you have?
Having a lawn can be too much effort for some people. It requires maintenance all year round and then in the summer months every few weeks. It might not be your thing, and that’s okay. There are other ways to limit the upkeep of your garden. Such as a patio, decking or even turning it into a small playground for yourself or if you have kids.
For those willing to try and spend more time in their garden, planting vegetables is a great use of space. There are plenty of foods that are easily grown outdoors in Ireland. They can provide very rewarding results. Up-cycling containers and sowing from seed are cost-effective ways of growing food in your own garden.
Patio is a Spanish word meaning a courtyard of a building. The only real difference between the term courtyard and patio, is that a patio is more open planned/spaced. Usually patios are designed with the surrounding environment in mind and are made with a variety of materials including store, concrete, bricks, tiles, almost any kind of hard material. Nowadays patios are used for a variety of purposes. Many people use them as a way off making their garden easier to maintain rather than grass. So, generally they would use a number of concrete slabs and place them on top of the grass in their garden. This is great initially but can ultimately make your garden harder to maintain further down the line in around a year or two.
If a patio is placed on top of grass, it will mean grass and any other plants in your garden such as nettles will eventually come through any gaps between slabs of concrete and even up past them along walls. To make sure this does not happen you would need to take away all the grass in your garden already or place the patio within the grass, so it sits nicely within it. That will then make your garden easier to maintain in the long term.
Decking is very similar to a patios, only they are normally made of wood and other materials such as vinyl and in some case plastic (which we do not recommend, as they can break easily). The best times to use decking is to get access to a great view or to form structural parts of your garden.
Many times when decking is used, it will need to have barriers around its perimeter as it is an elevated platform from the rest of your garden. Without this, accidents may happen. The only issue with decking is that it is usually made of wood. This makes it look great, but to keep its look, it needs to be maintained at least on a yearly basis. Lack of care will lead to erosion and damage, meaning you might need to invest in new decking. It’s a fair trade; some maintenance for some money saved.
Another great alternative for a city garden is a flower garden. Picking the right plants for you may be difficult, but with our help below you will be sure, to know what plants to involve in your garden.
Pick hardy, resilient plants that won’t require much TLC. Think evergreens and avoid self-pollinating plants (otherwise your garden will quickly turn into a miniature forest). Shrubs require very little tending, and “evergreen” is a great word to look out for as these plants will keep their leaves all year round and still look lovely.
Potted plants can be especially handy if you have a garden that stays mostly in the shade: this way, you can move your plants as needed into and out of any sunlight you receive. This will keep your plants alive as well as adding some colour. Vibrant potted plants are great to include in your garden as they bring a sense of life to your garden.
Including some plants with colourful blooms is an easy way of attracting pollinators to your garden. Bees and butterflies love lavender, verbena, lilies, poppies, and geraniums. Consider planting a few of these in the containers to provide some food for these busy pollinators.
If you have annuals in the pots, they will die in winter. However, pots and containers are highly versatile so you still have a number of options. You can remove the plant and store the pots away with the remaining soil, ready for Spring and Summer. You can replant the containers with winter flowers, of which there are plenty of varieties. Or, you can plant bulbs for flowers in the spring, e.g., tulips, daffodils, crocus, etc.
If you are a novice gardener, be sure to visit your nearest garden centre for advice on low-maintenance plants. They will be able to suggest the plants that will suit your needs, as well as the type of soil they prefer. Your garden will be soon looking as good as new.
Very similar to a flower garden, a vegetable patch can be easily maintained if you do it right. Many keen chefs and cooks like to produce their own ingredients. Why not use your city garden to grow some ingredients for yourself? Many herbs and vegetables can be grown in small, urban gardens, and it can be a great hobby to take up. And the best way to do this is having a vegetable patch within your garden. You could even use a green house if you wanted. Fruit can also be easily grown.
The best way to have a vegetable patch within your garden is to make it yourself. To do this you should make a large box in your garden filled with good soil until it is full. The best vegetable patches are usually made of a box made of wood, or made within patches in your garden. But the latter can get out of control easier than the box method. Sow seeds in your containers when there is no risk of frost for numerous vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips, strawberries and much more.
The best place to locate one of these patches is in a sunny part of your garden, so that they can grow easily and quickly. Sowing and planting in the Spring and early Summer will mean you can harvest throughout the Summer and Autumn months. It is a good idea to sow small amounts of the same seed each month, 2-3 times. This will provide you with a manageable amount of vegetables for a longer period of time.
Growing your own ingredients has become a very popular past-time with many people especially those who love to cook. It is also a brilliant way to encourage more home cooking in general as it creates more interest in the food you are eating.
When choosing what to grow…
When choosing what to grow, make sure to choose things you like to eat – otherwise it is a waste! If you can grow things that are usually expensive to buy in the shop, this is an added bonus. It keeps your weekly grocery costs down that little bit more. Greenside Up.ie is a great resource for gardeners. It offers advice on what best to grow in small Irish gardens, such as peas, shallots, and early potatoes.
There is also a great seasonal fruit and vegetable calendar available on stopfoodwaste.ie. From this, you can work backwards and decide what seeds so sow for year-round homegrown food.
Entertain the family
You can turn your garden into an amazing place to entertain the whole family. In great weather a garden can become one of the best places to have family get-to-gathers, cook a barbecue and have a relaxing drink. If your garden is big enough you can even get a hot tub out for those who love to have a relaxing time in the water.
We, for one sure thing, love to have a good BBQ in our downtime with a great bunch of family around us.
One of the greatest alternatives you can turn your garden into is a playground. If you are a big kid or have children yourself, having a playground can always help you out with your parenting. Many props to include in your playground for children include, swings, slides, bouncy castles and room for small bikes. Maybe even room for a football goal, or other sports such as a putting green, should be thought about. This can relieve you off your parenting duties for a good few hours. It also provides you with more space to stay active.
The internet has a wealth of unusual and inexpensive plant containers. Many of which are ideal for both large and small city gardens. Many people who have small gardens or even just a balcony have came up with numerous genius ways to have their own beautiful garden.
Check out this Article from Homebnc for the best balcony garden ideas…click Here
Remember to (quite literally) think outside the box when it comes to your city garden – the more unique the container, the bigger the impact a small city garden will have. Wellies, mason jars, wine crates, and old sinks can all be used as cool, funky alternatives to traditional plant pots. Just make sure they are made of durable material and have good drainage. Check out this old Belfast sink re-purposed as a flower bed in a city garden:
If you only have a small space to play with, why not make your city garden stand out from the crowd? Your garden can be a great feature for your property. Regardless of its size – so make the most of it.
Adding some colour to your garden can make a huge impact. Brightly coloured plants and containers are great, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Why not paint your decking or shed a pastel shade? This will immediately brighten up even the most shaded of spaces. It also makes your outdoor space look tended-to (even if it isn’t).
To really pack a punch with your city garden, consider adding a “living wall”. These gorgeous features need to be seen to be believed. Check out LivingWalls.ie to see some of their creations. The perfect centre piece to an urban space…
Your garden is yours, so make the most out of it. If you want it to be low maintenance make it that. If you want it to be a place for fun make it a place for family and friends. At the end of the day it is all about what you want and how to express yourself in your garden.