Eight clever ways to transform your garden this summer

Choose a colour scheme to complement your garden’s furniture and hard landscaping

 Photograph: Getty Images

Photograph: Getty Images

Looking for easy, ingenious ways to revamp your garden this summer? Read on . . .

Screen off the ugly stuff

Sheds, smelly bins, bicycle racks, compost heaps, trampolines and dog kennels are an inevitable part of most gardens but that doesn’t mean they have to be highly visible. Instead group them together in an out-of-the way corner where they can be conveniently hidden behind some ornamental trellis, fencing panels, bamboo or willow screens, hedging or a few large, container-grown, evergreen plants. Alternatively, create a living vertical screen using a mix of hardy climbers and/or specimen shrubs trained against a sturdy plant-support system of strong horizontal wires supported by a custom-made rigid metal frame. Make sure to provide safe, easy access to this utility area via a weatherproof garden path and some subtle outdoor lighting.

Consider growing a couple of tall, handsome evergreen specimen plants in large planters such as bamboos. Photograph: Getty Images
Consider growing a couple of tall, handsome evergreen specimen plants in large planters such as bamboos. Photograph: Getty Images

If you don’t have space to screen off these kinds of utilitarian household items, then consider instead how they might be incorporated into your garden in more efficient, storage-clever ways. For example, the Austrian company Biohort does a very smart range of garden sheds, mini-garages, log sheds, bicycle stores, patio lockers and compost bins whose contemporary design suits the sleekest of urban gardens (howbertandmays.ie), while Ikea (ikea.ie) offers a range of outdoor storage boxes, shelving units and storage benches. Likewise, consider replacing that ugly rotary washing line with a retractable reel-type design that’s much easier on the eye when not in use. Another clever trick used by garden designers to make ugly sheds, walls and fences visually recede is to paint them a moody shade of sooty grey, forest green or inky-blue and train hardy climbers or wall shrubs against them. 

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