Once you’ve got your garden plotted, planted and watered, your hard work is done. But not so fast… These easy design hacks can help you put the finishing touches on your garden and turn it into a blooming masterpiece.
The average garden may be beautiful and full of life, but that’s it right there: It’s average. Lush, green plants and flowers in bloom are wonderful to look at, but it’s clear your garden is in need of a little something more. Thanks to the convenience of the internet and DIY sites like Pinterest, jazzing up a backyard garden is easier than ever before.
Ideas to reinvent your garden space are truly limitless, but here are some of the best I’ve found from outdoor living experts and clever gardeners just like you:
1. Add outdoor pillows
OK, this one is easy, but national entertaining expert Carla McDonald, founder of The Salonniere, gets all the credit. McDonald recommends custom making your own outdoor pillows to revive your garden with a few pops of color. She says, “Turn any pillow into an outdoor pillow by spraying it with a fabric waterproofing spray, like Rust-Oleum’s NeverWet or Aqua Armor Fabric Waterproofing Spray.”
2. Create borders
Jack Smith of Gardenaholic considers this quick upgrade the most important step in backyard garden design, comparing tight and tidy garden borders to the frame of a work of art. “You wouldn’t hang the Mona Lisa in a cheap store frame would you?” says Smith. For beautiful framework that makes your garden stand out, Smith insists it is important to invest in and install simple borders that can make or break your garden. Attractive garden borders naturally draw your eye to the garden itself, showing off all your hard work.
3. Let kids design
So your kids want to get involved in your garden, but they’re not ready for weeding or hoeing just yet. Margie Saidel, MPH, RD, LDN, Vice President of Nutrition, Culinary and Sustainability at Chartwells K12, says not to worry — even young children make perfectly adorable landscape designers for those times when your garden so desperately needs an update. Saidel advises, “Give kids graph paper and colorful pencils or markers to draw their ideal garden. Encourage creativity and color — include flowers, pathways, ‘fairy houses’ and any other accents that will make the garden a favorite destination.”
4. Make a garden sign
This irresistible idea is exactly what your front garden is missing, courtesy of author and avid gardener Susan Froetschel. Froetschel shares her DIY hack with SheKnows, “I painted an old board the same color as the door to the house, added some short spikes, centered the house number on the board and posted the sign in a front garden.”
5. Replace your flowers
Replacing all the flower pots in your garden with inanimate objects may sound like sacrilege, but hear me out. Swapping terra cotta pots for one-of-a-kind salvaged decor can change the entire look and feel of your yard. Jennifer Adams, CEO of Jennifer Adams Worldwide, Inc., urges newbie gardeners to think outside the pot. Adams says, “Got a black thumb? Add interesting artifacts instead of high-maintenance flower pots. Flowers are bright and cheery, which is why every house on the market today seems to have a welcoming collection surrounding the front door. But, even just a few weeks later, they can look leggy, fade or even die. Why fuss with that? An antique milk jug, an interesting stone or fountain, a large ‘bouquet’ of sticks in an urn, a charming bench or table needs no maintenance, looks better with age and adds interest without water, fertilizer or weeding.”
6. Spray paint chairs
You know you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your beautiful backyard garden because of all the effort you put into it. You could buy some pricey loungers to recline on as you survey your land, or you could just take matters into your own hands. “Turn basic folding chairs into a garden design statement by spray painting them a fabulous color. Metallic paint adds a touch of glam to alfresco dinner parties,” recommends McDonald.
7. String Christmas lights
I may live deep in the heart of Texas, but I still maintain that Christmas lights year-round are not tacky — especially when used to strategically decorate a garden. Adams continues, “Spruce up your yard by adding holiday lights — they’re not just for Christmas anymore! Leave lights in your yard year-round! Hang from the fence, around your patio cover, from a tree or even around retaining walls and other outdoor structures.”
8. Turn trash into treasure
Image: Piiquanyin moon, Flickr
Yes, you too could be one of those DIY mavens who turns every piece of trash you touch into gold, if you follow the advice of Mihaela Lica Butler of Garden Superheroes. Butler explains, “Recycle your snow tires instead of discarding them. Wash them well, then prime them with spray primer, to create the base for outdoor paint — that will transform boring tires into planters. Choose non-toxic paint — you can either paint them all in the same color or choose different colors to create a happy, fun pattern. Caution: Use tire planters for flowers and not for growing food.”
Tires aren’t the only piece of trash that can easily transform into a garden treasure. Trisha Antonsen, head of content at Wayfair, adds, “Cement is trending right now, so why not incorporate it into the garden with a trendy and super inexpensive planter? Place cement blocks on their side with the openings facing up on the perimeter of your patio and fill the holes with soil and plants of your choosing. If you’re looking for a specific color, paint the cement or just write the name of each plant in a fun script for a word art tie in — double the trending power!”