Winter is the ideal time to reassess your garden design, when it is, as it were, stripped down to its bare bones. It’s also a good time to renovate the garden without disturbing the garden’s summer beauty.
Here are some of our best suggestions.
Do away with tatty lawn: Can you see areas of lawn that are shabby through overuse or because of shade? Constructing a non-plant surface with paving, sleepers, gravel, pebbles or bark chips or other materials will give the garden floor a facelift and also provide textural contrast within the garden.
Sort out steep slopes: A lawn on a steep slope makes mowing difficult. Create a rockery, or plant the slope with a selection of soil-retaining plants. Create more level space in the garden with a retaining wall – straight or curved – and a set of steps to create different levels in the garden. Besides being practical, different levels also add interest to a garden.
Neaten edges: Are the boundaries between your lawn and garden beds lacking in definition? Neaten them up by planting one species of a low growing evergreen plant such as mondo grass, liriope, or gazania at the front of the border. Alternatively, install an edging of brick, small flagstones or terracotta edging tiles. While you’re about it, do away with any small squiggles in the border edge – sustained gentle curves are more pleasing to the eye.
Make boundary walls disappear: Do the garden walls dominate the garden? Reduce their impact by painting them charcoal grey; or plant climbers against them. These plants are back in fashion as they provide eco-habitats and, when planted against house walls, keep the interior warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Create garden rooms: Divide the garden in to separate areas that have to be entered in order to be fully seen, thereby emphasizing intrigue and interest! In a large garden, plant a bed of screening plants with an open section, allowing access to the hidden garden. In smaller gardens, use narrow conifers or wattle screening and an archway.
Provide interest: Create focal points of interest, like a sculpture or water feature to attract the eye, for instance at the end of a path or vista. Make sure the focal point is in proportion to the garden, for example, a large statue or strikingly-shaped evergreen tree such as a palm tree would work well in a large garden whereas a bench or micro water feature would better suit a small garden.
Get painting: Is the paint work on garden benches, gazebos, trellises, and other garden structures rather scruffy? A new coat of paint will work wonders. You can also revamp dated garden containers to achieve a fashionable stone-like finish, a rusted iron effect or a verdigris weathered copper effect with one of the many Earthcote products.
Prune back trees: Winter is the best time to remove dead and low growing branches from the trees in your garden. This allows more light into the garden, enabling plants beneath trees to grow better. Ask a trained tree specialist for professional advice on how to achieve the best effect.
Plant a drought-resistant garden: Use this time to prep your garden for the predicted dry months ahead… Remove dead growth and replant with waterwise plants that will make it through the drought the Western Cape is currently experiencing. Ask any of our horticulturalists on what’s best to plant, when – we’ll be glad to help you.