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renovation tales | go outdoors

Following on from my previous post about the building of the shed (that is not really a shed), now it is time to go outdoors and look at the outside of the building with its brand new deck. For this I am partnering with Argos to share with you some easy ways to make the most of your outdoor space with the help of their McGregor range of garden tools.

It’s amazing how a few hours in the garden can be so satisfying, and you will enjoy the fruits of your labour for a long time afterwards! I find that gardening for me is most enjoyable when I tackle it a little at a time. Gradually progress is made and each year has been better than the last. We inherited a garden that had been largely untouched for decades – much like the house – and the first few years were mostly about taming the unruly mess it had become.

The aim this year is to help the shed sit comfortably in the garden rather than looking like a building that’s just landed (which, of course, it has). Plants take time to grow and mature, so while we plan which ones to use around the building that will be happy on the shady side, this summer is really all about pots and containers. Well, that and having a new puppy who likes to eat eeeeeverything, which means long term planting might have to wait a while…

Small changes can make a big difference though and we always start with a trim and tidy up. We have several hedges and large shrubs which obviously need trimming from time to time, and have been using this cordless hedge trimmer (oh the joy of a completely portable tool!) for this. To make the woody waste more compost friendly, the McGregor shredder has proved to be such a useful addition.

Compost can take up to 2 years to mature, but this process can be helped along by making the woody element as fine as possible. This is a gadget Mr Smith, in particular, is quite excited about. Don’t tell him, but I quite like it too…

We also bought a selection of plants for the large collection of terracotta pots we have. I love to try and keep a colour palette limited, as much as I adore a riot of colour in other peoples gardens, the live with I find a limited range much calmer.

go outdoors – 3 ways

So here is what we have created. Those pots I mentioned above are now filled with summer flowering plants, most of which I will later plant in parts of the garden to enjoy each year.

I’m all about adaptability and have spaces we can use creatively. Whether as a family, with guests or simply for photography. Having a photogenic space on my doorstep has been a brilliant thing, and hopefully the outdoors will be just as photogenic given a little growing time!

I thought it would be fun to style the deck outside the shed 3 ways. We haven’t actually bought any furniture for it so I have cobbled together some of my favourite pieces from elsewhere in the garden (and props cupboard if I’m honest, I’m more than a little bit protective of the old french bistro table as it has been the backdrop for many of my flat lay photos and it lives tucked up safely in the tool shed usually).

I love styling for photographs, tweaking and arranging. The smallest space can still be beautiful if it is styled well and eventually I would love to turn this whole corner of the garden into a wild flower meadow. For now though it’s fun to try out different arrangements to see what might work longer term.

For now though I’m perfectly happy with the collection of terracotta pots we have amassed over the last 20 years filled with plants of all shapes and sizes.

So which is your favourite? To lounge, to drink or to dine…?

go outdoors – 5 EASY gardening tips

Life is busy, I know this as well as anyone. We all have a list as long as an arm and not quite enough hours in the day to ever truly catch our tails. So how to manage the garden too?

I genuinely find gardening in-between the routines of every day is the only way I can semi-maintain any kind of order out there. Now I also have McGregor gardening tools to help me prune, trim, cut and style my garden. The range has everything you need to maintain your garden’s order, even if you love slightly wild and wayward planting like I do.

Here are my top tips to keeping your garden looking beautiful:

1 – Design your garden according to the maintenance you have time for

There are plenty of ways to do this, for example by covering as much soil as possible with plants or a dressing can reduce weeding. The McGregor Shredder can cut any branch or garden waste up down rapidly therefore is a great tool for creating wood chips to cover bare earth, which keeps weeding to a minimum. Also choose plants that will look after themselves and need little trimming or feeding.

2 – Trim & tidy as you go

Keep a pair of McGregors secateurs easily to hand and just trim any loose growth or flowers that have gone over as and when you see them. Use a McGregor hand fork or cultivator for weeding. Those 5 minutes a day really do make a big difference! Or for larger plants, the McGregor cordless hedge trimmer is so handy.

3 – Use pots and containers filled with seasonal plants to fill gaps

I use a mixture of perennials, small shrubs and annuals to bring interest. A combination of different leaf shapes and colours will add even more interest – but make sure you buy plants that like the light and conditions of the location you intend to put them in! Ultimately you can then plant shrubs and perennials more permanently in the ground if you wish to.

4 – Let your garden evolve

Let’s face it, most of us just don’t have the budget for complete garden landscaping, so learn to take pleasure in doing a little at a time and watching it progress each year.

5 – Get others involved!

Gardening is so much more fun (and less overwhelming) if you have others help. Whether a child, a partner, a parent or a friend, make it a sociable event.

Whatever your style of gardening, don’t forget to go outdoors and enjoy it!

J x

this post is sponsored by Argos, as always all thoughts and opinions are my own


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