If you have an outdoor space to call your own, you will know that with a little work it can bring you endless joy. But with so many options, it is sometimes hard to decide what you want to from your garden to maximise happiness or utility.
A recent Princeton study delved into how much happiness and meaningfulness certain activities brought to individuals with intriguing results. Not only did the study highlight how important having an active garden is for your mental health, but it also stated that gardening was “among the top five activities associated with high average net affect, average happiness, and average meaningfulness”. The study considered that gardening was more effective as a ‘happiness tool’ than eating out, cycling or general leisure activities.
It doesn't matter if you have a small patio or a couple of acres. The garden is a great place to reuse and recycle unwanted items and make great additions to your home. But alas, Winter always comes around too soon and spending quality time outdoors turns into a distant, albeit cherished memory. To make the most of the sun here are five must-do gardening projects that can bring joy to you and yours this Summer.
Create an outdoor relaxation area
This one may seem like an obvious answer. However, we’re not talking about setting up some garden furniture on the patio and calling it quits. A well-thought-out area in the garden can transform your landscape into a great place to relax, meditate or entertain.
If what you crave most from your garden is comfort, then don’t be afraid to add some outdoor furniture. You can find a wide range of fixtures in many different shapes and sizes and at a few different price points from places like Ikea, Homebase and Wayfair.
To make your space pop, try adding some decking which is even available in pre-built kit form if you’ve got the time to do it yourself. Decking will combat any uneven surfaces and add precise cornering and dimensions to your relaxation space.
One of my favourite aspects of spending time in the garden during the Summer only appears once the sun goes down. Suitable lighting is vital to any modern space whether you’ve got a penchant for lanterns or laser beams. A fire pit is also a cost-effective and irreplaceable addition to any plot. It can transform any area into the perfect place for a cosy gathering.
Make a space for the family
Whether it be children, grandchildren, nephews, or nieces, the garden is one of the best places for children to have fun and learn about nature. You don’t need a sprawling space to keep the kids busy! If social distancing has made it difficult to stay in touch with family, turn your garden into the perfect place for a much-needed reunion.
So-called ‘bug hotels’ are a great way to get the kids involved outdoors. You can even make your own if you've got some old boxes, bricks or wood lying around. Not only will this encourage helpful fauna into your garden, but it will also use up materials destined for the dump.
There are so many different garden crafts that are perfect for young and old alike, and you can use them in any functioning garden. Two great examples are these painted rock garden markers and these yoghurt container herb pots which need minimal setup. Garden crafts keep the little ones entertained for hours and leave you with some irreplaceable keepsakes.
If you're looking for something a little more involved, fairy gardens are a perfect alternative. You can shop around for professionally made models or build your own from scratch. Fairy gardens take up very little space, so if you've got a spare stump, pot, or bucket, you can create your very own magical miniature.
Add some space-saving micro-builds
You don’t have to have a lot of spare space to create grand designs, and that’s proven with some of these micro-garden creations.
Terrariums are a unique and creative way to have a lot of the outdoors in a very compact space. These mini environments are highly customisable. For the best results include low maintenance moisture-loving plants like succulents and cacti. You can also add a base of soil, gravel, charcoal or moss.
You can craft Mini ponds out of pretty much any sturdy container, and they help to attract frogs, damselflies and birds. With the mini pond, you can put in as much or as little effort as you please. Mini ponds create amazing natural water feature aesthetics within small spaces.
You can make vertical planters for either flowers or vegetables from pallets to make efficient use of your space with minimal cost. This is again extremely customisable as far as both design and contents go. The use of vertical space makes it the perfect addition for either a smaller area or efficiency-based garden.
Introduce some new technology
As the modern garden has evolved, so has the technology that comes with it, and updating your garden with the latest tech is a perfect summer project.
With some cinemas beginning to trial phased reopenings some experts claim that they won’t return to normal until the middle of next year. Now is an opportune time to beat the queues and invest in an outdoor cinema to screen your favourites. You can set up an idyllic viewing area or invest in inflatable screens, and some projectors are suitable for a range of spaces and budgets.
The Olla originated in Africa over 4000 years ago. Many companies are rejuvenating this ancient irrigation technique which eliminates surface evaporation and water runoff. Using the Olla means that you will only have to water the garden once every few days as your vegetation draws all the hydration that it needs.
Now that we have everything from smart cars to smart homes, it's definitely time for the smart garden. With wireless plant monitors, you can check things like light levels, humidity and soil nutrients at a glance so you can keep on top of your garden from anywhere.
Get ready for next summer
They say that the best time to plant a tree was ten years ago, but the second-best time is today. This translates over to getting your garden ready so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labour next time around. Plan your space, start a garden budget, and plant any hardy vegetables that you can. Before you know it, everything will start falling into place for the next Summer season. You can quite literally make hay while the sun shines, so make the best of the warmth not only to enjoy the present but also plan for the future. Now is the time to measure and cut and prune so you can see how much your garden has grown and adjust accordingly so that your garden is all the better next year.