Most of us long for hazy, summer days when we can spend hours on end soaking up the sun and enjoying al fresco gatherings with friends and family. While it can be a lot easier to keep on top of garden maintenance in the warmer months, you don’t have to resign yourself to life indoors when the temperature plunges. In this guide, we’ll explore weatherproofing solutions to help you make the most of your outdoor space come rain or shine.
Shelter and shade
We all know that the weather can be unpredictable, and sometimes, it can feel like we experience four seasons in a day. One of the best ways to cater to the conditions and ensure you can enjoy your garden all year-round is investing in structures that enable you to take shelter from the rain and enjoy a refreshing break in the shade in the sunshine. You can use awnings or gazebos or add a covered patio to your garden depending on your budget, the amount of space you have available and your design preferences.
If you have shelter and shade, you can make use of your garden and enjoy the fresh air whatever the weather. Another option, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, is a garden room. Summer houses, log cabins, luxury sheds and garden rooms give you the option to embrace the outdoors and to feel like you’re close to fresh air and greenery without risking the rain. These additions are also likely to add value, particularly as many people are going to be working from home more regularly in the future.
Storage is essential in the autumn and winter months, when there is a risk of furniture getting damaged, umbrellas and temporary gazebos blowing away, and beanbags and chairs getting damp and mouldy. If you don’t already have a shed or storage space in your garage, it’s worth investigating some options to keep your garden furniture safe and ensure that it’s in good condition when you come to dust it off and display it when the mercury rises. You could buy a new shed or spruce up a second-hand shed, clear out your garage or convert an outhouse, for example. Removing mould from fabric is possible, but it’s always better to prevent damage than to try and remedy the problem at the end of a long winter. Store cushions, beanbags, throws and blankets indoors and make use of your storage space to prolong the lifespan of benches, tables and chairs.
Varnishing and wood protection
Many of us like to use wood in our gardens. Wooden fences, decks and sheds look fabulous, but there is a risk of damage and wear and tear occurring when it’s cold and wet outside. Varnishing is a simple and effective means of protecting the wood, enhancing the aesthetic of your garden and prolonging the lifespan of decking, sheds and fencing. Apply a coat of varnish at least once a year, following the instructions on the product to ensure the best results. If extreme weather is forecast, it’s also a good idea to add extra protection by placing covers over wooden tables, benches or chairs.
Planting and growing vegetables
Plants and flowers bring colour and vibrancy to our gardens, but sadly, many of the most popular plants we buy don’t last long. If you tend to experience a flurry of colours in the spring and summer, which gives way to a palette of shades of brown when it gets colder, there are solutions. You can opt for hardy plants, such as shrubs, which can survive the cold, as well as including additions that look great all year-round. Examples include the Forest Pansy, fruit trees, witch hazel and Amelanchier lamarckii. If you grow vegetables, it’s important to be aware of the conditions required to grow specific types of produce. It is possible to grow vegetables, including onions, spring onions, broad beans and peas, in winter. You could also consider growing indoors. The best vegetables for indoor gardeners include carrots, lettuce and tomatoes.
For most of us, gardening is much more fun in the spring and summer, but it shouldn’t be a seasonal hobby. It’s essential to prioritise maintenance throughout the year to ensure that you’re able to enjoy your outdoor space whenever you feel the urge to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Take good care of your lawn, clear gutters and pathways, keep on top of weeding and clear away debris and rubbish on a regular basis. If you neglect these tasks when it’s grey and miserable outside, it’ll take longer to get your garden ready when warmer climes arrive. If you don’t have much time for gardening, and you’re keen to make the most of your garden without spending all your free time doing chores, there are options to consider. You could either hire a gardener to tick off the maintenance jobs and keep your garden looking smart and tidy for you, or you could think about low-maintenance solutions like artificial turf or a paved yard. Artificial turf requires very little in the way of care and attention, it’s safe for pets and children and it looks vibrant and healthy all year-round.
We know all too well that the weather can put pay to plans with very little notice. The good news is that you don’t have to stay indoors for months on end when it’s cold and wet outside. If you take steps to weatherproof your garden and create a more versatile space, there is scope to use your garden throughout the year and ensure it looks the part no matter what the weather is doing. Do what you can to protect purchases like garden furniture and soft furnishings, varnish fences and decking and add structures that offer shelter from passing showers and shade from bright sunlight. Try to keep on top of maintenance throughout the year and add trees and plants that will enhance the aesthetic even when it’s grey and chilly outside.0