Spring may seem far off in the future – especially with the stormy weather we’ve been having, but the sight of snowdrops this week gives us a delightful reminder that the end of the winter is in sight. Is your garden in need of a face lift? Or maybe it’s a completely blank canvas? This is the perfect time of year to get started. Here are a few important points to consider:
Would you like 2020 to be the year you give your garden a makeover?
To ensure that you will have the garden of your dreams, it is a good idea to make a list of things you would like to include. Also note any aspects of your garden that you don’t like and would like to change. For example, a very common problem is lack of car parking space. Most modern households have at least two cars. Is there room for two cars to park without having to manoeuvre one to allow the other to go out? Also, is your driveway wide enough to walk past the car without having to walk on the grass? Is the entrance from the road wide enough, or do you have to watch your wing mirrors on the way in? If any of these apply to you, they could possibly be remedied fairly simply. Depending on your budget, you may not need to re-do the whole driveway. A simple extra parking space or addition to the driveway could be constructed from Tegula or Shannon paving brick alongside the existing driveway.
In your list of requirements, remember to include everyone who will be using the garden. For example if you have children, or even grandchildren coming to visit, you might need a play area. This ensures the football stays away from your precious herbaceous border or greenhouse! If you have a dog, it might be useful to have a separate dog run area. Most people have an oil tank, coal bunker and several wheelie bins. These should have their own utility area, screened off with trellis and climbing plants.
A very important aspect is: where does the sun rise and set in your garden? If you would like a paved patio area, it is imperative to position it to benefit from morning and evening sunshine. This may not be just outside the doors of your house, so it may be better to create a path from the house, leading to the main patio area in the best place for the evening sun.
If your garden is sloping, it is easy to create a level patio area using a retaining wall. The Secura retaining wall system from Tobermore is easy to build as it does not require mortar, so it is a perfect project for the DIY enthusiast. It is better to have the patio level with the garden, rather than raised up steps, as it creates a more sheltered place to sit.
If you require steps at each door of your house, it’s a good idea to make the step risers in a contrasting colour to the tread of the step, for example: Heather Step Risers with Golden Tegula on the tread of the step. This ensures good visibility for safety. If you have patio doors which open outwards, the tread of the top step must be bigger than the door at approximately 1 metre. For a door opening inwards, the tread should be 60cm.
Perhaps you could include some raised beds in your garden. These are easier on your back for planting and weeding, and if you make them approximately 60cm in height, they will also be perfect for seating. The Country Stone walling from Tobermore is perfect for this.
If you would like a good garden design but you don’t know where to start, why not give us a call and we can have a chat about your project. We can measure the area and draw a detailed, CAD plan on the computer. We will give you a full colour plan with the planting & paving suggestions and quantities required. We can also suggest a few local paving contractors who may be able to give you a quote to carry out the work.
This is the perfect time of year to start thinking about your new garden design. There is still plenty of time to have a plan drawn up, decide which paving products you would like to use, get a quote for the paving and arrange for someone to do the work. With a bit of good planning, you could be enjoying your new patio area in time for the lovely summer days which are just around the corner!
Vanessa Drew is a highly experienced garden designer based near Rathfriland, Co Down. Vanessa is also a part-time farmer, animal lover and owner of Ballyroney Cottage farmstay B&B. She enjoys hiking, mindfulness and is a wildlife and conservation enthusiast. In her blogs, she shares her passion for horticulture, animals and country lifestyle.