If your garden and outdoor area is looking a little drab, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to give it a quick lift and create a stylish, relaxing and functional space with just a little bit of time and effort. A tidy, well-manicured outdoor space can create the perfect first impression of your home – even small changes can give your property the ‘wow factor’ and if you’re looking to sell, can potentially add value come sale time.
Here are some ideas to inspire your garden transformation this autumn:
Clean and declutter
A great way to start any garden makeover is with a deep clean – it can be surprising how effective a simple tidy up can be to the overall appearance of your garden and property. Rake away old leaves and debris, pull out weeds and prune flowers and plants that need it. Remove dead or dying flowers and plants – besides looking untidy, they can harbour disease, pests and fungi so it’s important to remove them including all of their roots. Sweep decking, paths and paving, or pressure wash surfaces to bring them back to life. Declutter your yard by moving tools and equipment to a shed or a covered spot to keep them tidy and protected from the elements. Hire a skip and throw out anything you don’t need or that doesn't add value to your property.
New plants and flowers
Despite the cool autumn months and upcoming frosty Canberra winter, you can still have a thriving garden that bursts with life, colour and fragrance. Flowers that love the cool conditions include lavender, viola, snowdrops, pansies and jonquils, among many others. Before planting, take the time to plan where your new plants will go, how much room they need to grow, and how much water and sunlight they require. Aerate your soil and add some compost, and be sure to fertilise the soil, especially near the roots. Take a trip to your local nursery to explore your options and what plant life will best suit your garden.
Landscaping your outdoor space doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Attractive, subtle and cost-effective additions can include a new garden path, decorative pebbles, stepping stones, a water feature or pond, or perhaps some sophisticated outdoor lighting to set the mood. If your budget allows, a timber deck, patio or alfresco area can completely transform your outdoor space, as well as give you and your family an entertaining area to enjoy for years to come.
A well-kept lawn can make a dramatic difference to the overall appearance of your garden. Start by raking your lawns of old leaves and debris and pulling out any weeds, then give your lawn a mow and use a power trimmer or hand-held shears to sharpen up the edges. When it comes to preparing your lawn for winter, the colder season is a good time to use a liquid fertiliser while growth is generally slow. If your lawn isn’t in good shape and could do with replacing – and if your budget allows – you could consider laying new turf. Winter is an ideal time to do this as there are no long periods of hot, dry weather, which often require additional maintenance and watering.
Furniture and accessories
You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to improve your garden space with a few accessories or well-chosen pieces of outdoor furniture. A new patio lounge, day bed or a simple wooden bench can create a perfect outdoor sanctuary on a warm autumn day. Likewise, a sleek barbecue, a stylish patio heater or a fire pit can create a snug space for entertaining in the cooler months. For a cheap and easy refresh, bring colour and texture to your deck or alfresco area with cushions, an outdoor rug or umbrella. To give the illusion of space, consider a large statement mirror.
Beds, fences and gates
A garden makeover isn’t just about the lawn, flowers and plants, but the beds, fences and gates that surround your outdoor space and property. Damaged or ageing structures can detract from what otherwise would be an attractive garden space, so take the time to check for cracks, loose bolts and hinges, and unstable or leaning structures. A new lick of paint can work wonders to old fencing, gates and boundaries, including an old garden shed. If your budget allows, investing in a new fence can provide a striking backdrop for furniture, greenery and plants.
Refreshing mulch is a simple, low-cost way of making your garden, potted plants and flower beds look fresh and well-manicured, but it’s also beneficial for your plant life and your wallet, particularly as some mulches can reduce watering by up to 60 per cent. Despite the fact that new mulch looks great, it also benefits your garden in the colder months as it helps to regulate soil temperatures, insulates plant roots from frost and prevents soil from erosion, so with autumn here and winter on the way, it’s a great time to start the process. Mulches can be made of organic materials, including straw and bark, or inorganic, including scoria, gravel and stone river pebbles. Be sure to research the type of mulch that is best suited to your plants and flowers.
Pots and planters
Add style and colour to your garden with pots, hanging baskets and planters of different sizes, heights and designs and fill them with bright flowers and statement greenery. Depending on your style preferences and budget, opt for popular and practical materials such as terracotta, clay, ceramic, fibreglass, resin and plastic. Rustic wooden planters, glazed pots and pewter can also add a classy touch to your garden.
Hire a professional
If gardening isn’t your cup of tea or if you just don’t have the time, you can hire an expert to take the work off your hands and bring your outdoor area back to life. A professional gardener in the ACT can cost around $25–45 per hour, according to ServiceSeeking. If you want to make big changes to your garden, seek the creative vision of a good designer or landscape architect.