At some point in everyone’s life… okay, let us rephrase that… Apart from Keen Kevin, at some point in everyone’s life, there comes a morning where you walk down the stairs on sleepy legs, flick on the kettle, have a good old stretch, look out of the kitchen window and get slapped by the realisation that, yes, your garden has gotten a tad overgrown. And, what’s worse, you didn’t even see it coming.
It seems only a minute ago that you were all excited and giddy about the plants you planted with your own two hands actually managed to survive the tough early days and fill out a little (which isn’t just a satisfying realisation; it’s totally addictive). And now, all of sudden, these plants you never thought would make it to adolescence have started to develop thuggish attitudes, shedding their lovely lush image in favour of rebelling with as much anarchy as a plant can muster. It’s madness. It’s chaotic. It’s messy.
But before you freak out and try to regain some lawn and order with a heavy-duty hoe, you need to know that ripping your plants up and start afresh isn’t your only option. You see, we’ve got some little hacks that will help you get your garden looking more glorious than Beyonce at the Grammy’s and, what’s more, they hardly require any effort at all (#gardenwin). Of course, these hacks aren’t going to put an end to all your gardening maintenance needs. Not by a long shot. But they will help give your garden that much-needed definition and, as we all know, it’s definition that makes something look good.
1.Call In The Border Patrol
The great thing about edging is that it – literally – draws a line between the garden you love, and the garden you want to be considered less, well, gardeny. You know, things like shrubs and bushes and big bits of greenery. Without a border, these things can start to blend in with your lawn and that’s enough to make a garden look super-messy. However, get a spade-slash-edger out, carve a nice smooth line and raise the bed slightly with some bark chips or soil and, voila, you’ve made it clear that this is, in fact, an ornamental space for your plants (and not just a corner where you lost control and let your plants do whatever they wanted).
2. Not Just Lawn Flowers
Once upon a time, before gardener’s had imaginations, flower beds were strictly-reserved to the edges of a lawn and that was that. But nowadays, oh boy, there’s just so much subtle creativity, such as the much-loved Flower Bed In The Middle Of A Lawn look, which isn’t just a beautiful feature, it’s a destination for your gaze to enjoy. However, this look only works if you get the edging right. If you don’t, it will just look like your lawn has sprouted some colourful perennials in the same way a potato sprouts gross roots when it’s on it’s way to Rotten-ville.
3. Nothing Is Mightier Than Mulch
Most people that mulch do so because a) it keeps weeds at bay and b) it helps to conserve water. But the purpose of mulching stretches beyond practicality and into the realm of beautification. Mmm hmmm. The contrasting colours of dark mulch and lush green leaves bathing in the sun’s rays is spectacular (at least we think so). In fact, it’s part of the reason why edging creates such a dramatic effect. But what mulching does differently is it takes that gorgeous juxtaposition and spreads it throughout your entire garden. Of course, the darker the mulch the more your plants will stand out. So while you may love using grass clippings and hay for your mulch, cocoa hulls and bark will make the long emerald leaves of your Pampas grass pop more than an Andy Warhol painting (and that’s the look every garden-fanatic wants).
4. The Magic Of Recycling
Up until now, every time we’ve thrown around the term edging, we’ve alluded to you getting a spade out and cutting a dramatic edge into your lawn. But this needn’t be the case and that’s because edges don’t have to be deep cuts in your soil. In fact, you’ll find it way easier to maintain your garden if you can recycle the sort of materials that can be used as an edge. If you dug up a load of big rocks when digging out a bed, then put them to good use by using them as a border. Alternatively, you could have some old fence posts kicking around, in which case, cut them into six-inch lengths, slice them in half and create a neat little timber edge for your beds. Your garden will look twice as good and it will take half the effort.
5. A Path Well-Trod
When plants start to revolt – rising up from out of nowhere to take over your garden – you can find the view from your kitchen window looks horrendous: like nothing more than a tangled mess of greens. Our advice: make yourself a path. Yeah, that’s right, just put down a path. It doesn’t matter if it’s shingle, bark, patio slabs, stepping stones, old sleepers, or socks knitted together by your great-granny; laying down a path is one of those things that can tame even the most unruly of gardens. As for making it that little more enticing to waltz down, try popping an object of some sort at the end, like a bench, an ornamental bear, a fountain or anything else that will give your stroll a destination.
And there we have it, five simple ways to make your overgrown garden look “shabby chic” (as interior designers love to say).