One of the joys of employing professionals to design, plan and build your outdoor structure is that they will position it sensitively within your garden space. But what happens next? You can easily enhance your outdoor building by bringing the garden even closer. Here are some practical tips on how to achieve the wow factor without too much maintenance.
Firstly, look at the purpose of your outdoor building. You can loosely group them into the following:
1. Professional usage: such as a garden office, workshop or studio
These will be used throughout the year, giving you the flexibility to plant for all seasons. Climbers will soften the hard landscaping, helping it to blend into its environment. If you have a flat area or patio, try pots of pelargoniums, begonias and dwarf dahlias in summer. Specimen trees in pots, like Japanese maples, are low-maintenance and provide stunning foliage until the first frosts.
2. Leisure: such as a gym, playroom for young children or an escape zone for teenagers
Low-maintenance is the key here, as outdoor buildings used purely for leisure are unlikely to be used every single day. Planting into the ground is ideal, to avoid the need for regular watering and feeding. Climbers like wisteria that can be kept under control by a twice-yearly pruning will offer lovely foliage and flowers through the growing season. Climbing roses planted away from doors and windows are also a great option, as are scented climbers like Star Jasmine, whose dark green leaves turn bronze in winter, providing year-round colour interest.
3. Accommodation: full-time, such as a Granny annexe, or for occasional use such as a garden guest room
If your building will be a permanent home for an elderly relative, it’s important to have plants that will bring pleasure but require minimum upkeep. Even if they are physically fit, frequent watering is a responsibility they may not want. Climbers are the perfect solution, as they will bring joy and fragrance throughout the year and can go in the ground to reduce the need for watering. Honeysuckles planted near a sitting out area will give off a delicious aroma, while different varieties of clematis will offer plentiful flowers through the seasons.
If it will be an occasional guest room, why not cheat slightly by bringing some of your own pots down from the house when visitors stay? A splash of colour will make them feel instantly at home.
Whatever your outdoor building is used for, and whether you choose pots or climbers, plants will add a touch of nature, lifting the spirits and beautifying your structure.
By Adrian Valentine
MD, Perfect Pergolas - dedicated to bringing the outside in, for everyone in the family. http://www.perfectpergolas.co.uk/
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