When I moved the family up to Alberta, Canada from the USA a couple of years ago we had a huge amount to do to the home which we bought. I knew that this would be our family home for many years to come but I also knew that it would require a lot of work to get it to the standard which we wanted. After just a few months the one aspect of the house which would give me sleepless nights was the gardens. All of our neighbors had great gardens and this gave me a lot of envy, I felt like a fraud! The garden is usually the least important place to spend money but I was ready to go to our lender and add some more on to the loan to get the garden in shape. Thankfully we discovered that one of our neighbors , was a master gardener and he was able to offer us some simple tricks which helped to improve our garden 10-fold.
It may sound all too simple but just cleaning up our garden made a massive difference to its overall appearance. We spent almost a week getting rid of weeds and moss, throwing out trash and dead plants, pressure washing the stones and cutting the lawn. It was very tiring work but in the end the garden looked incredibly clean and at least habitable. This gave us the perfect canvas for future work and it gave me far less shame than I had previously had.
Transforming the entire garden space is expensive so a great way to improve how this space looks without it costing the Earth, is to split it up into sections. Not only does this make any renovation work easier, a garden which has different sections looks absolutely great. We divided our garden into four, put plastic sheeting over 3 quarters of it and then invested our efforts into the first little quadrant of the garden. If you are transforming your garden little by little, this is a great way to do so.
Given that you won’t have the cash to invest in a landscaped garden it is a good idea to put things in it, rather than planting huge amounts of bushes, plants and grass. A water feature may be out of the question but you can pick up some weird and wonderful items from thrift shops which look great in the garden. Try out things like old bicycles and metal ornaments which really work well in the natural space.
Instead of buying potting or bedding plants for your garden which will have an instant impact, look ahead to the future and plant some seeds. Seeds cost around 10% of what a fully grown plant will and as long as you are patient, you can expect the exact same results. We did this in our first year in the house and these plants are just about reaching their full potential, and they look absolutely great.
The homes around us still have better gardens, but we are working on it.