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To celebrate National Gardening Week, we’ve teamed up with West Midlands based gardening expert Andi Way of Andi Way Garden Design. Being in the domestic landscaping and design business for more than 20 years, Andi knows a thing or two about getting the best out of your garden at minimal cost.

So, with the summer fast approaching, here are his suggestions to spruce up your garden whether it’s a new or existing outdoor living space.

Get to know your garden
There are plenty of considerations to weigh up before making changes to a new or existing garden, so it is a good idea to do some research and really get to know your outdoor area. How does the sun fall at different times of the day and will that influence where you want to sit? Is there a view, perhaps being overlooked by a neighbour or a large building in the distance, you would rather not have? How does the prevailing wind affect your garden and is it exposed to strong or cold winds? Once you’ve answered these questions, you are ready to start thinking about how to get the most from it.

Soil preparation
This is one of the important jobs when creating a new garden because soil types can vary quite significantly and you need to understand yours before investing in any plants, trees or lawn. Is it heavy and hard to dig? Or is it light and sandy? One way to determine the pH levels in your soil is to buy a testing kit online for about £15 as this will help you understand what minerals are abundant or lacking in your soil. You can find lots of useful information online too.

Consider your design
Do you want paving to divide your garden into sections or act as a central feature? Do you want to create a kid’s area for mucky play? No matter the size of your garden, there is so much scope and the layout can really boost its potential. Keeping plants low and loose and the variety of colours to a minimum can help create the illusion of a bigger garden, clean lines and symmetry are associated with modern style gardens, while ornamental grass and billowing perennial borders are great for low-maintenance gardens. There are some great online garden planners to help you visualise your final design.

Add a flash of colour
Buying colourful bedding or pot plants can be a great way to inject some vibrance into your outdoor space and can be bought from most local supermarkets; while flower baskets can be used to frame a view from your window. Purple and yellow are complementary colours or you could opt for a more striking variation! Getting hold of some paint and giving your garden fences a new coat can also dramatically change the look and feel with dark grey shades and black particularly popular right now.

Create your own habitat
Using piles of rocks, twigs and rotting wood why not set your children the challenge of building their own insect hotel? This is particularly popular with all sorts of insects such as beetles and spiders. You could also create your own compost through a mixture of green (grass cuttings and weeds) and brown (dead twigs and leaves) garden waste or build your own bird box out of wood providing protein-rich feed like fat balls to encourage a healthy garden ecosystem.

The beauty of transforming your garden is that it doesn’t have to happen overnight; you can take your time and see it as a project. For more award-winning tips from Andi, you can head over to his website for more.

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