Now is a great time for making a list of what needs doing in the garden to get ready for spring. We could suggest you sweep up leaves, get your gardening tools prepped, weed the borders, tidy the shed, build that compost heap and repair fences. All these jobs need doing, of course, but there are other more fun things we want to focus on for the moment.
Instead of the chores it's always nice to think about the lovely stuff when it comes to modern garden ideas. So we're highlighting what you can plant in your garden now, how to plan designer-style borders and what sort of containers to choose to create the best overall effect. As well as finally starting that vegetable garden and giving your outdoor space a color revamp with the latest paint shade for 2022.
It's all in the planning so follow our tips as your starting place for all the inspiration you need to get your garden ready for Spring.
1 Pick up some ready-to-go plants
If you want instant color, start browsing online and checking those plant catalogs for inspiration. Choose fuss-free plants that can go in the garden now and as soon as the weather gets warmer they will romp away.
Perfect for growing in a pot where it can tumble over the edges, the compact trailing clematis ‘Ovation’ produces an abundance of creamy white flowers with a vibrant lime green centre in April. When the flowers fade they are replaced by gorgeous fluffy seedheads.
For drifts of heavenly violet flowers up to midsummer, opt for Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’. It will add a splash of painterly color that will lift your spring garden. Remove the dead heads and you will even get a second flush in autumn.
For an instant burst of lime green - one of the key garden trends for now - you can’t beat ornamental Euphorbia. It will grow prolifically and brighten a shady corner with its attractive foliage and flowers from February onwards. It’s low maintenance and doesn’t require pruning, plus it will run into attractive drifts after a year or two.
And who doesn’t love the pompom headed snowy white hydrangea 'Annabelle'? Planted in the garden or a large pot, the long lasting giant clusters of flowers create a glam look for months on end and they won’t flop either. You’ll have to wait for June for the flowers but in the meantime the foliage is really pretty too.
2. Spruce up dull boundaries
It’s time to think about updating that tired fence or washed out wall, so why not opt for something fresh by choosing an on-trend shade? The Pantone official paint color of 2022 is Very Peri, already a big trend in interiors. Falling somewhere between a violet and blue shade, it creates an eye-catching pop of modern color.
If you're happy with the color of your fence or wall but think it will benefit from a quick refresh, how about hanging a modern trellis panel for a pop of color? Use it to hang pots from, another big trend that’s having a moment.
Or choose contemporary looking panels that can be customised to your preferred size and come in a range of colors. Alternatively, you can repurpose a wooden pallet instead – available from a skip near you!
Try vibrant Purple Rain Wood Paint by Thorndown for your makeover project to embrace the spirit of the Very Peri look, and can update your modern front garden ideas.
3. Switch up your containers
Container planting is the focal point of small spaces like balconies, terraces, roof gardens and courtyards. It’s a chance to have some fun and reinvent your outdoor space a little every year.
Easy-to-do planting schemes for containers mean you can freshen up your garden instantly with a vibrant display of plants. Even if you forgot to plant bulbs last Autumn it doesn't matter as you can still pick up plants from the garden center now that work just as well on doorsteps, in patio ideas and decks for a fast spring fix.
Container gardening is a great way to say hello to spring and ease yourself back into gardening after the winter chill. It's the perfect planting activity for a couple of hours in the garden when the sun comes out.
For the best results, whether it’s the pots or what’s in them, stick to two or three colours and styles that complement each other. Matching pots planted up with a selection of ornamental grasses always look stunning.
Aim for the biggest containers you can find to make a statement. In addition to looking more stylish there’s less maintenance involved, so it’s a win-win.
4. Plan your Summer border scheme
Modern garden border ideas are the focal point of every well-designed garden, drawing the eye with a pleasing combo of color, shape and texture. It's all in the planning and thinking ahead though so there's no better time than now to jump on this.
An easy trick to get stylish results is using the device of repetition so get into the habit of buying several of each plant to fill out a space rather than just one. If you find something you like, repeat the planting to create a sense of uniformity. Avoid planting in rigid layers by mixing things up. Try tall plants such as fennel at the front of the border to create a veil-like effect. Adding evergreen plants to the mix gives year-round interest and structure, too.
Even the smallest urban space can be transformed into a wildlife-rich garden by adding wood piles and bird baths to your borders, plus choosing the right plants like foxgloves and lavender as they are a magnet for nectar-seeking bees.
5. Start your vegetable plot now
Make this the year you nail the art of growing your own vegetables. After all, growing your own fresh, organic produce is all very doable. Start ordering from seed catalogs as you can sow some varieties of vegetable seeds now, either indoors on a warm windowsill or outdoors covered with cloches or fleece.
Grow tomatoes, sweet peppers and chillies from seed by utilising windowsills to create extra growing space, and potatoes can also be started off indoors.
You can sow certain varieties outside too if the conditions are right. This includes beetroot, peas, spinach, onions and garlic. This way you will get a succession of produce to see you through spring and into summer.
The trick is to grow small amounts of different crops that offer big rewards.Choose fuss-free easy cultivation varieties like cut and come again salad leaves, and leafy greens such as kale and chard.
If space is tight plant up mixed containers of vegetables and herbs, or slot in vertical planters or trellis to max up your growing space. No dig gardening could also be a suitable solution. Just remember to choose the sunniest and most sheltered spot possible and sit back to wait for that glut to roll in later in the year.
Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for Gardeningetc.com, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Easy Gardens and Modern Gardens magazines. Her first job on glossy magazines was at Elle, during which time a visit to the legendary La Colombe d'Or in St-Paul-de-Vence led to an interest in all things gardening. Later as lifestyle editor at Country Homes & Interiors magazine the real pull was the run of captivating country gardens that were featured. Having studied introductory garden and landscape design as well as a course in floristry she is currently putting the skills learned to good use in her own garden where the dream is establishing a cutting garden.
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