Enjoying your outdoors

A Vegetable garden in Lorton
Those with allotments are not alone in growing fruit and vegetables.

Phil and Liz Newport of Wildroof Landscapes and Buzy Lizzie Garden Design share advice for unusual times.

While you’re forced to stay at home, there are lots of practical ways of making your garden a more useable space. Not only is this something constructive to be doing with your time, but also the mental health benefits of being outdoors are going to be really important in the weeks ahead. We need to create a space and sanctuary where we can wind down.

If you’re planning to relax or exercise outside, you need any paved area to be the right size and in the right spot in your garden. It’s worth watching how the shadows move during the day so that you know when and where is best for sun or for shade at the times you want to use your garden. And, with many Cumbrian garden centres and building suppliers maintaining local deliveries, you could even plan to extend your paving or decking to create a bigger exercise space if you need one.

a water feature in the vegetable garden

If you feel exposed or overlooked in your garden, now might be the time to improve things. Add screening with fence panels or trellises, height with pergolas and arches or consider taller planting with small trees and shrubs such as Osmanthus burkwoodii and Pyracantha ‘Red Column’ or perennials such as Aruncus dioicus and Euptorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’. This approach adds interest to your garden, giving a third dimension. A water feature will mask the sound of neighbouring voices and add to a relaxed ambience too.

Your garden could be a source of fresh produce. Those with allotments are certainly not alone in being able to grow fruit and vegetables. You could plant salad leaves and other leafy veg in your borders; there are varieties of cucumbers, lettuce and baby tomatoes as well as most culinary herbs that will thrive in hanging baskets; and you could even go full on and “dig for victory” by constructing raised beds or replacing an area of lawn.

water feature

Whatever you’re planning, it’s worth getting advice from an experienced gardener. We have a notoriously short growing season in Cumbria and established gardeners will be able to advise on what grows best. Look online for sources of information or contact a local garden centre or plant nursery for advice. With many of them surviving by offering home deliveries at present, it’s worth talking to them anyway.

Finally, don’t spend all your time outdoors working hard. Making a few changes to reduce maintenance requirements should give you time to enjoy it too. And you deserve it.

Finishing touches

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