Published: 18/05/2023Gardening can be a fun and rewarding experience for anyone, whether you own your home or rent a property. Plus, it has so many mental and physical health benefits, so if a gym membership is out of the budget and going for a run is a massive no, then gardening needs to be your new hobby. Whether you have green fingers or just want to learn how to keep your garden looking good, this blog is for you! We have thrown together some quick and easy gardening tips for homeowners and tenants, regardless of their garden size, shape or design.
If you're renting a property with a garden, it's important to read your lease agreement to understand what is expected of you in terms of garden maintenance. Landlords have different expectations when it comes to garden care, so it's essential to clarify what your responsibilities are. Typically, tenants are responsible for keeping the garden tidy and free of weeds, but the landlord may take care of major maintenance, like pruning trees. If you're unsure what is expected of you, it's best to talk to your landlord or property manager. No one wants any nasty surprises at a home visit or the end of a tenancy check.
Ok, you’ve established who is responsible for what, and you hopefully have half an idea of what you want to achieve; now let's get to some quick and easy gardening tips for those without the know!
Start small - If you're new to gardening, don't feel you need to create a massive work of art from scratch. Start with a few small pots or raised beds and plant some easy-to-grow herbs or vegetables - if we can do it, anyone can! This will help you get a feel for gardening and build confidence before tackling a larger project. If you enjoy it, you will feel inspired to do more. And if you don’t? Well, you have been able to manage the minimum, and that in itself is progress.
Choose the right plants - Different plants have different needs, so make sure you choose the right plants for your garden. If you have a shady spot, select plants that thrive in the shade; if you have a sunny area, choose plants that love the sun. It might all sound a bit scary, but you can find plant information online or at your local nursery. The staff will have bucketsful of experience and will be more than happy to share their knowledge with you.
Water regularly - Most plants need regular watering, but the amount of water they need can vary. Check the soil moisture level by sticking your finger a few inches into the soil. If the soil is dry, it's time to water. Generally, it's better to water deeply and less often than lightly and frequently. This will encourage the roots to grow deep into the soil. You learn something new every day with us!
Use mulch - Mulch is a layer of material, such as bark or wood chips, spread over the soil surface. It helps to retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Plus, it can give your garden the perfect finish. Apply a layer of 2-3 inches of mulch around your plants, and there you have it: an attractive piece of garden that also serves a practical purpose. Win-win.
Prune and deadhead - Pruning is the act of cutting off dead or overgrown branches from trees or shrubs. Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers from plants. These practices help promote new growth and keep your plants healthy. Make sure to use the right tools for pruning, such as sharp pruning shears or loppers; otherwise, you may be there a very long time…
Composting - Composting is the process of breaking down organic material, such as leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. It's a great way to reduce waste and improve your soil quality. You can start a compost pile in your garden or use a compost bin, whichever works best for your budget and skill set. Having a compost heap in your garden means you have somewhere to dump all your green waste (the green recycling bin is never big enough!) and vegetable scraps after cooking dinner. It's great to include the kids, too…they can do the compost run while you enjoy your cuppa indoors.
Invite beneficial insects - Not all insects are pests. Some insects, such as ladybirds and bees, benefit your garden. They help to pollinate plants, control pest populations, and improve soil health. You can attract the right insects by planting flowers they love (marigolds, sunflowers, and daisies) or adding a bug house to your garden. Again, a fun activity for the kids, but this time, one that you can do together.
Use natural pest control - Chemical pesticides can harm insects and contaminate the soil and water. Instead, try using natural pest control methods or physical barriers, such as row covers or netting, to keep pests away from your plants.
Get creative with containers - If you don't have a lot of space for a traditional garden, consider using containers. You can grow herbs, vegetables, and even small fruit trees in containers on a balcony or patio. Get creative with your containers by using recycled materials, such as old tires or pallets, or by painting them to add a pop of colour to your garden. Containers are also great if you rent your property and can’t make any permanent changes to the garden – be sure to check the terms of this first. Containers can transform a garden but can also be removed without long-term implications or financial consequences.
Gardening sounds ok, after all…
In conclusion, gardening can be a fun and rewarding experience for anyone, regardless of whether you own or rent your home. Following these quick and easy gardening tips lets you keep your garden looking beautiful and healthy without breaking the bank. Remember to read your lease agreement to understand what is expected of you regarding garden maintenance, and don't be afraid to ask your landlord or property manager if you're unsure. If you own your home, you have free reign to do exactly as you please; your garden is a blank canvas. Happy gardening!