As lockdown has reminded us, green spaces are crucial to our wellbeing, and more house buyers than ever are now searching for homes with gardens.

If you want to add value to your outside space, or simply spend more time in it, why not make sure your garden is in good shape for the summer? These simple jobs will smarten up your space in no time and with very little budget.

1. Pep up your paving

Nothing spoils paving slabs like black spot or algae. Cleaning up your patio or driveway is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to give your garden a transformation. Most paving cleaners require very little effort and time.

Whatever your type of paving stone, find the garden cleaner best suited to you and enjoy that ‘newly laid’ look once again! Always check the label to make sure you are applying the right product in suitable conditions.

Black spot remover can help to transform tired outside spaces

Patio Black Spot Remover and preventer makes light work of reviving paving like these limestone steps

2. Give gravel a go

A quick and easy way to add instant impact to a neglected patch of ground is to add a bit of shingle. With colours and sizes of stone to suit every garden, decorative aggregates are a great permeable surface too, so really help with drainage.

You’ll find it’s much easier to keep on top of weeds if you use a geo-textile membrane underneath your stones. But if you’re after for a more informal look, you might prefer to do without. Alpines and drought-tolerant Mediterranean planting like lavender and euphorbias will find it easier to self-seed, rewarding you with a beautiful rustic gravel garden for relatively little cost.

Blue slate chippings with plants and terracotta pot

Decorative stones like these Blue Slate chippings provide a quick makeover and great drainage for low maintenance plants

3. Create a dedicated play zone

Is your lawn looking worn and bare from ball games and children’s play? Why not replace a section with a durable surface that can take daily wear and tear?

A layer of bark chippings can bring a new lease of life to a well-used area in your garden. Play bark is low maintenance and provides a cushioned surface for slides and play equipment.

With discounts on bulk purchases, it can be a very affordable option for covering large areas. And it’s really easy to do yourself!

Children's play area with bark chippings

Play Bark provides a durable and cushioned surface for children to have fun

4. Tidy up your edging

Adding edging around borders, lawns and paths can give real definition and create a striking finish to freshen your garden.

With edging options in concrete, metal and timber, there is something to suit any contemporary or traditional garden style. Flexible steel and log edgings are ideal for finishing curved areas.

Core-ten weathered steel metal edging with bark chippings

Core-ten weathered steel edging is simple to install and has striking impact

5. Re-point your patio

Any paved area with joints will need repairs at some point in its lifetime as weather damage can cause mortar to break up.

Bring your patio back to life with some nice clean pointing. Chip out any loose mortar and buy a jointing compound that matches your existing joints.

Single part polymeric compounds like Joint-It are suitable for most paving types. Joint-It is quick and easy to apply with a squeegee and a brush, as shown below.

Find out more about choosing the right grout for your paving

6. Fix your fencing

The most common problem with fencing is a rotten post. Check for broken posts and act quickly, as they can cause further damage to your fence panels.

Adding a Postsaver to a replacement timber fence post will protect it from damp under-ground, and double its lifetime.

And whilst you’re making changes, why not include a hedgehog friendly gravel board to give these endangered animals a better chance of survival?

Timber fence post with postsaver

A simple Postsaver will prolong the life of your timber fencing and posts

7. Grow your own

No garden is too small to give you a ready supply of fresh produce. Whether it’s a terracotta herb pot, or window box salad leaves, growing your own will taste better than anything you can buy in the shops.

Creating a raised sleeper vegetable bed is a simple project. With good quality compost, you can enjoy produce all year round.

Try sowing fast growing crops like peas and French beans straight into the soil as late as July for an Autumn crop.

Raised bed with salad leaves

Raised beds filled with compost will give home-grown produce a great start

With these simple steps you’ll be adding new life to your garden so you can sit back and enjoy it for the summer!

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