Transform your small garden with these creative landscaping hacks

When the sun is shining everyone should be able to enjoy basking in their own back yard – whether it’s a vast country manor, a compact city garden, or even just a small concrete area.

No matter how small your garden is, we want help you transform it into your own little strip of paradise for the summer.

So we met with one of our top gardening pros, Harrison Gardens founder Julian Harrison-Jones, to run through four creative ideas to liven up even the tiniest city garden.

Garden hack #1: Wall pallets

Liven up your garden with wall-mounted pallets
Liven up your small garden with stylish wall-mounted pallets

When you’re short on garden space, the key is to start thinking vertically. One classic space saving trick is to plant things in wall-mounted pallets.

This technique has become so popular in recent years, you’ll even see it used on building sites to make them look more attractive – and they’re something Julian and his team often use to liven up small gardens.

“We’ve done that quite a few times. It’s great for space, and it looks really good,” he says. “You start it horizontal and you plant everything. Then you leave it for three weeks to establish before you lift it because, obviously, you have to wait for the roots to establish before you do.”

“There are offshoots of that,” he adds. “You can have pots attached to the wall. But if you want things actually growing from the pallet, which I think looks the best, you want it horizontal first.”

Garden hack #2: Climbing plants

Another great space saving technique is to make the most of the edges of your garden using climbing plants. Boundary walls and fences that are covered with climbers will blend into their surroundings, making the garden seem bigger.

“Climbing plants are a good solution as well, you know – clematis, honeysuckle, whatever it may be. You could have a vine. You could have wisteria,” Julian explains. “But think vertical really, if you want to be saving space.”

Plants like these are relatively quick-growing compared to specimen shrubs, which means they’re also ideal for disguising things you’d rather not look at.

Garden hack #3: Tree stump features

Many people view old tree stumps as eyesores that need to be removed. But this can be expensive and, Julian argues, seeing them as a positive can help you create really interesting garden features.

“When tree surgeons take down a tree, they don’t usually take the stump,” he explains. “Another creative solution is to make a feature of that stump. You can hollow it out and make it a bed for woodland-type plants.”

Garden hack #4: Raised beds

Harrison Gardens installing a raised bed
A raised bed will make a great addition to almost any garden

Last but not least, raised beds have long been popular among serious gardeners.

They’re a great way of growing a wide range of plants, and are particularly popular for growing fruit and vegetables.

But, as Julian explains, they’re also great for small city gardens with limited space for flower beds, or very poor soil.

“In city gardens, if it’s just a paved area, then an obvious one is a raised bed,” he says. “You can use old sleepers or something and then you put the soil in, because you don’t want to dig really.”

Find a local gardening expert today

Hopefully these creative garden solutions have got you thinking about what you can do to create a garden you and your family will love spending time in this summer.

Now you’ve seen how you can turn even the tiniest outdoor space into a stylish city garden, the next step is to find the right pro to help you – and that’s where we come in!

With 3,186 registered gardening professionals, giving your garden a makeover in time for summer is easy with Bark.com. Simply click the link below to find gardening professionals in your area today.

Hire a pro to transform your small garden today.

Ask the Expert: Five essential gardening jobs to do this spring

With spring in full bloom, now is the perfect time to create the perfect space to relax with your friends and family. Getting on top of things now will make all the difference as temperatures start to rise and barbeque season gets into full swing – and that’s where Bark comes in.

To help you make the most of that neglected outside space, we asked one of our top gardening pros – Harrison Gardens founder Julian Harrison-Jones – to run you through five essential gardening jobs to do this spring.

1. Fix up your lawn

You can find hundreds of Lawn Care specialists on Bark.com
You can find hundreds of Lawn Care specialists on Bark.com

One of the main things that people think about at this time of year is Lawn Care. Weeds are coming through, the edges aren’t done and it’s starting to look overgrown.

“It’s time to start working on your lawn,” says Julian. “That means aeration, mowing, weeding and feeding. You feed the lawn twice a year, in Spring and Autumn.”

“When you’re starting to mow the lawn, because it will be the first cut of the year you should do it on a high blade,” he adds. “You’re just encouraging new, healthy growth. Don’t go crazy otherwise you’ll do damage and you might kill the lawn.”

2. Get on top of the weeding

Your lawn isn’t the only thing growing again now the winter months are behind us. Rolling up your sleeves and tackling the weeding now will mean you have a head start going into the rest of the year.

“To be honest, weeding is probably ‘number one’ because of the time of year,” says Julian. “You’ve left it over the winter, they’re coming up now and if you don’t tackle weeds now they’ll compete with shrubs and plants that you want to keep.”

“Basically, they’re all competing for nutrients and water,” he adds. “So if the weeds take over, they’ll take that away from the actual plants. As well as some weeds, like Ivy or creeping weeds, which will can strangle and kill your plants.” 

3. Choose your ‘feature’ plants

Julian planting flowers for one of his many happy clients
Julian planting flowers for one of his many happy clients

Once you’ve got the weeds under control, it’s time to think about the plants you actually want to look at.

“It’s still relatively early in the gardening year,” Julian explains. “So you can plant your ‘feature’ plants or architectural-type planting – your shrubs, the backbone of your garden.”

He adds: “If you like roses, this is the perfect time for them, as well as perineal flowers and trees.”

4. Get mulching and feeding

Mulching and feeding goes hand-in-hand with weeding and planting, but the exact type of plant food you use depends on what you’re using it for.

“It could be manure, it could be peat, it could be leaf mould or compost,” Julian explains. “If it’s roses, for example, they really like a horse manure. Whereas, in general, your shrubs prefer bark just to supress weeds and keep the heat in.

“With your lawn, it would be nitrogen. Generally, a well-balanced fertiliser containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in equal proportions. You can’t go too wrong with that.”

5. Repair damaged trees and fencing

Starting with storm Desmond back in December, the UK has been buffeted by a wave of severe storms over the past few months. Thankfully, the worst of it is behind us, and you can now be thinking about repairing those damaged fence panels.

“Because of the recent storms, any damage that’s been caused over the winter – fencing, staking trees – those kind of essential works can be done,” Julian explains. “That’s what took up most of January. Lots of fencing work.”

“About two weeks ago we had a job that involved a lot of staking and getting everything back into shape,” he adds. “You should have two large stakes either side of the tree, which should be tied together firmly, then the tree tied to that.”

Find a local gardening expert today

With thousands of registered gardening professionals, giving your garden a makeover in time for summer is easy with Bark.com.

Whether you’re fixing the fence, clearing away those pesky weeds, or planning a full-blown garden renovation, we can help. Simply click the link below to find gardening professionals in your area today.