How to Create a Garden all the family will Enjoy
How do you create a garden which all the family will enjoy spending time in?
With a bit of planning and some creativity you can create a garden everyone will find a joy to spend time in.
During the Summer months a garden can be an extension of the house for the whole family. So creating a garden that everyone will enjoy spending time in will be very beneficial – More time outside for everyone!
Although creating an outdoor space to suit everyone can be a challenge. Planning your outdoor space and trying to work your garden into areas will create space for everyone.
What Is Gardening?
Most people assume gardening has to be difficult – it really doesn’t.
It is your space and you can make it as low or high maintenance as you like. There is so much choice with gardening. From a few simple pots full of bedding plants to a full vegetable garden. The choice is really yours.
Think of gardening as that, the laying out and care of plants.
Gardening can be very technical and some of the terminology may appear very confusing, but don’t let that put you off. It is amazing what you can achieve with a bit of basic gardening knowledge and learning as you go.
What are the benefits of gardening?
Gardening has so many benefits and it is quite amazing once you get into gardening how inspiring and motivating it can be.
It is good exercise, digging, weeding, planting. It is like doing a workout but you won’t even realise!
Being outdoors naturally makes you more active and all that Vitamin D can have a multitude of health benefits, especially if you’ve been cooped up all winter.
All that fresh air and exercise can help with sleep – for adults and kids!
Being outdoors, especially gardening can really help boost your mood. Gardening can give you a real sense of achievement and being surrounded by beautiful plants and greenery naturally lifts your spirits.
Sense of purpose
Creating a garden whatever the size can give you a real sense of purpose. The results you can achieve from even the smallest gardens can be a focus to keep you motivated to nurture and grow.
Pottering in your garden can be a great stress reliever. Even just 10 minutes can help you gather your own thoughts and relax. It is a chance to have a bit of time to yourself and the natural environment and fresh air will help clear your mind.
A beautiful garden is a pleasure to be in
Even just a few pots of colour can make an outdoor space look vibrant. It is a pleasure to sit or be out in a garden which is colourful and buzzing with wildlife especially if you have created it yourself.
A great activity to spend time outdoors with the kids
Kids will enjoy helping you in the garden. It is a great motivation to get them and yourself outdoors. It will teach them some great life skills whilst spending some lovely quality time together. There are so many ways kids can be involved with gardening, read the post Gardening Activities Kids Will Enjoy for some ideas.
So, we know there are an abundance of benefits to gardening but if you’re not particularly green fingered there will be lots of questions you will ask yourself…….
Where do I start?
What will I grow?
I don’t know how to grow?
I don’t have time?
Do you need special tools?
Is it an expensive hobby?
All these questions can easily put you off before you have begun. It shouldn’t! – Read on to find some helpful resources which will help you to enjoy gardening (even if you don’t!)
Where do I start?
If you have never been into gardening, starting a garden will seem like a mammoth task. It really doesn’t need to be.
Firstly, you need to look at your outdoor space. What do you want your garden to look like? How can the outdoor space work for you and your family?
Grab a notebook or use my simple printable gardening plan. Jot down some rough ideas about your space.
If you have the space try and have ‘areas’. Seating area, storage area, play area, planting area etc.
Think about the sun, where gets the most sun and which areas are shaded. Knowing this will come in handy when you come to planting.
Draw out a rough sketch of your garden. Mark in any existing elements, lawns, trees, seating areas, play equipment.
Don’t worry about the detail, this is just to give you an idea of the space you have and what it can be used for.
What will I Grow?
There are so many varieties of plants, vegetables, flowers…… it can be overwhelming.
The terminology of gardening can also be confusing but with a little research you can learn the basics.
Try not to get too overrun with information. You only need to know the basic information to get going. You will learn as you go or grow!
What you grow will largely depend on your personal choice and what will work well in your garden.
Questions you need to ask yourself are:
- What colours do I like?
- Do I want to grow flowers or vegetables?
- Do I want to replant every year or have the same plant come back?
- Do I want high maintenance plants or low maintenance? (What time do you have)
- Where do I get sun / shade
- Will I have time?
- Which tools do I need?
What colours do I like?
I always start with how I want the garden to look. Being a visual person this helps me to break down my choice of plants. I do a vision board just showing colours and shapes I like. Pinterest or Canva is great for this.
Don’t think too much about the types of plants just get a vision of how you want it to look. After all it is your space, you want to enjoy spending time in it.
Do I want to grow flowers or vegetables
Would you prefer to grow a vibrant, colorful flower garden or a healthy veg patch? There is no reason why you can’t grow both but do think about the time you have and the space you have.
If you’re just starting out with gardening and would like to try growing veg, make a small plot or use containers.
Start with quick growing veg such as runner beans which are great for kids, look attractive and grow quickly.
Another option is to plant a herb garden. Easy to grow and readily available to buy as small plants or seeds. Herb gardens are a wonderful addition to any garden. They provide an attractive display of greenery, smell fragrant and are oh so handy for cooking.
Do I want to replant every year or have the same plant come back?
Think about whether you want to replant every year? These are Annuals.
You can buy beautiful annual plants from anywhere. They can be planted anywhere and will give you a lovely vibrant display, however they will only last one season, so will have to be re-planted each year.
Or would you prefer to plant a plant to come back every year? These are perennials. There are so many different varieties of perennials and the success of perennials does depend on where you plant them.
They are also more expensive to buy (but worth it) so if you are going to invest in perennials a bit of research may be necessary. The RHS is a great source of information about perennials with useful tips and growing guides.
Perennials do need a bit more research, there are so many varieties
Even just a few perennials can create a ‘backbone’ for your garden. Planted in the right spots they will thrive, adding colour and interest year on year.
Most can also be divided and put into different areas of your garden, saving lots of cost in the long run.
You could always opt for both! A few perennials and some seasonal annuals can create evolving interest and colour.
When you have a visual of colour and style refer back to your earlier notes about the sun / shade etc of your garden.
Choose a few plants you like
RHS has a good search tool on the website. You have the option of searching by plant name or by choosing the characteristics of your garden to find suitable plants.
When you have found a plant you like it advises you about growing conditions.
Check the growing conditions, don’t worry too much about the soil conditions, you probably should but unless your an avid gardener (then forgive me) you are not going to be checking the ph level of your soil!
Just see if they need full sun, shade, well draining soil etc. Then see whether these will work in the areas you want them to go.
A lesson I have learnt myself is that things have to be put in the right places to grow!
I have planted things not checking first what conditions the plant needs and it doesn’t grow?! And I wonder why.
The main thing to consider is the sun and watering!
Keep a note of which plants you are considering. Try and keep this visual so print off any ideas or create a Pinterest board so you can refer to it for any details.
Do I want high maintenance plants or low maintenance? (What time do you have)
This question is really important because it will depend on what you plant and where you plant it.
Be realistic, plants need watering and some plants need looking after. If you don’t have time to do this go for a simple garden. A few pots or containers will still create a beautiful garden but will be easier to maintain.
If you don’t like mowing a lawn or cutting hedges – don’t have them! Think about what works for you and what you have time to do. Gardening should be enjoyable, not a chore!
Group plants together in areas of your garden to save time watering or invest in some water butts. This can be a great time saver.
Choose plants which are hardy so they don’t need much care as the seasons change or plant in containers so they can be moved easily come the winter months.
Where do I get sun / shade?
Ahhhh this is so important. A lesson I didn’t really learn at first. Certain plants need certain conditions. If they like sun, they like sun.
I have a planter which I have tried to perfect for years. With no success. Because one side gets sun and one side doesn’t! Trying to get the same plant to grow successfully each side is proving troublesome…. But I keep trying!
This year I have tried to do some research, instead of just planting the same plant either side and hoping for the best, I am going to buy a plant which grows in sun and shade. Fingers crossed this may be my lucky year!
Every plant you buy, every seed you sow will tell you what conditions they prefer. Mainly whether they like sun, shade, partial shade, how often to water, soil conditions and winter care.
For the best results with growing, try and follow these instructions.
If you’re anything like me and ‘misplace’ the care instructions. Jot it down in your Garden plan or a notebook. It doesn’t have to be anything too complex, just how often you water, if they need feeding and how to care for them in winter.
I don’t have time
Gardening does take time but how much time totally depends on your garden. It doesn’t have to be overly time consuming.
When planning your garden, be realistic. Would you prefer to nip to a garden centre and buy garden ready plants or grow from seed or bulb?
Planting plants already established will save a lot of time and is probably best for beginners whereas planting from seed or bulb is extremely rewarding.
So which one – why not do both!
Buy some already established plants and try sowing some simple, easy to grow seeds. Sunflowers are always a favourite with kids and you will both enjoy seeing the first shoots grow into giant colourful sunflowers as the summer season begins.
Beans are another easy to grow favourite. Not only are they a pleasure to grow, they are a pleasure to eat!
Which tools do I need?
Gardening does require the use of certain tools but you don’t need to invest in an abundance of specialist tools. Check this list of gardening tools for a handy checklist.
If you don’t have any gardening tools, ask friends and family if they have any spare. Look on Facebook or visit local boot sales, you often find people giving away old pots or unwanted tools.
There are also lots of inexpensive sets you can buy which will give you a good starting kit.
As you get into gardening and find you enjoy it, you can add to your tool selection.
Is gardening an expensive hobby? It can be but it doesn’t need to be.
Everything costs money and so does gardening, but with a bit of thought and research there are lots of ways you can save money.
Gardening is such a pleasurable activity and can be for the whole family.
Your garden is always local, it is outside, everyone can enjoy it! Investing in your garden is so worthwhile as it can be enjoyed by the whole family, at anytime.
How to enjoy your garden
1. Spend time in it
This seems obvious but not always do-able but even short periods spent in your garden will be beneficial. If you have time to sit and relax with a good book – great!
If not, think about what household chores you can do in the garden. Doing chores in the garden, surrounded by beautiful flowers can even make the chore not seem as bad!
Hanging clothes out to dry, cleaning shoes, sorting toys – even ironing!
If you work from home try spending time working outside. Find a shaded spot and set up a mini work station. There are loads of foldable tables you can buy which will also be handy for picnics or outdoor crafts.
Just ten minutes in your garden will make you feel better.
2. Play with the kids
There are so many ways you can create engaging play with your kids in the garden. Just being outside makes children more active and curious.
Jaques of London have loads of traditional outdoor games https://www.jaqueslondon.co.uk/search?q=outdoor&type=product. Their products are good quality so if stored away in winter should last a while.
You could always take indoor toys out! In summer our garden becomes another room. Just remember to store them away at night or if it is raining.
Creating small worlds are great for kids of any ages. Promoting creativity, you can use anything to create small worlds. Items lying around your garden, made items, toys. Using a few props you can create a magical world for little ones to emerge themselves in.
Growing with them, teaching them about growing and nature will engage them with the garden. Sunflowers are a great flower for kids to grow as the seeds are big enough to handle and they will grow quickly.
A mini bug hunt or garden nature trail will add a bit of interest.
Read about more gardening activities with kids here.
3. Eat outside
Whether its a BBQ or sandwiches or even breakfast, eating outside is always enjoyable. Make a picnic and set up a blanket. You can easily create themed picnics for the kids using a few props.
After eating outside kids and yourself will be more inclined to stay in the garden for a while.
There are loads of summer food recipes, you could even use some of the fruit or veggies that you have grown.
Make a day of it, choose the recipes with the kids, make it together then eat it together in your beautiful garden!
4. Watering the plants
Don’t think of watering as a chore. It gives you a chance to really look at your garden and notice changes and new things growing.
Make watering easier for yourself. Group plants together and install water butts.
Water butts are great for saving water and also practical for hard to water areas.
5. Add decorations and lights
Lights create a wonderful ambience in the evening and will encourage you to stay in your garden longer especially during the warmer summer months.
Adding decorations brightens up any garden and kids will love them. Make some decorations with the kids Windmills, wind chimes and painted rocks are simple to make and the kids will love adding their personal touch.
6. Cut flowers
Cutting flowers to bring indoors or to press and dry is so relaxing and enjoyable.
Something I worry about is the flower not growing back but lots of plants are grown for cut flowers.
Just check your original instruction packet or check online if you are not sure. Some flowers prefer to be cut, promoting healthier growth.
You could try drying your flowers or pressing them, giving you a beautiful reminder of your blooming garden for crafting or gifts.
7. Harvest fruit or vegetables
If you have grown fruit or vegetables remember to enjoy harvesting them. Check the instructions to see when they will be ready if underground and have the kids help you to collect them.
Strawberries, beans and tomatoes are easy for kids to pick. They will love seeing how many they can get.
Herbs can also be cut back and dried or frozen.
8. Take the inside out
If you have an area which is undercover you could create an outside room. Add a rug, cushions and comfy seating. Lighting, artificial plants and decoration will add atmosphere. A perfect area for cooler evenings or overcast days.
Also a great shaded area to relax and play in.
9. Craft outdoors
You naturally feel more creative outdoors amongst nature so if you enjoy crafting – craft outdoors.
A foldable table will work well if your limited with space. You also don’t have to worry about making too much mess!
Try some crafting with natural materials, by yourself or with the kids.
10. Keep growing
Your garden will evolve throughout the seasons and if you enjoy growing you can always start growing or planning for next Spring / Summer.
When your garden is in full bloom you can really see how it looks and works for you. This is a good time to start thinking what you would like to add or change for the following year.
Keep enjoying your garden!
The main thing about creating a garden is that it suits you and your family. If it works well for you, you will enjoy spending time in it.
Having areas creates ‘outdoor rooms’ giving every space a purpose and making it easier to manage.
These don’t have to be huge areas. If your limited for space or have a very open garden, try and create borders. Reed fencing, bushes or even containers can create areas.
Consider your planting – location and what you plant. You will feel more motivated to grow if your planting is successful.
Storage is a definite bonus, there are many options if you don’t have a shed. Storage will help to keep things tidy but will also make outdoor items last so much longer.
If you don’t get it perfect – don’t worry. A garden constantly evolves, that’s its beauty. Just make a note of what worked for you and anything you want to change for next year.
Lets hope for lots of long sunny days to spend time enjoying our wonderful gardens.