Remember the garden?

The British often neglect their gardens for much of the year, but once there’s as much as a glimmer of sunshine, they head outside, keen to enjoy every second of it. Corinne Card explains how to make the most of outdoor spaces

To make sure you’re really getting the most out of those precious few months of warm weather, it’s important to ensure your garden really is the type of place you’d choose to spend time in. But what makes a garden a real ‘place to be’? Barry Harper, co-director of HSP Garden Buildings, suggests that in order to feel really comfortable in your garden, you should treat it as an extension to your property. “There are ways in which you can enjoy the garden all year round,” he says. “Consider designing your outside space in the same way in which you do with your interior.” One way to achieve this is to create a food preparation area to house the barbecue, and a dining area to accommodate seating. There should also be at least one inviting relaxation area incorporated into the design. Depending on how much space you have to play with, you might even choose to create a series of ‘nooks’, offering favourite views of the garden for a cup of tea or glass of evening wine. Ideally, one of these relaxation areas will accommodate a summerhouse to retreat to when the sun gets too hot or it’s feeling a little chilly on a summer’s evening. A summer house can also act as an attractive display area for pots and herbs. The most important thing is for your garden to make you feel comfortable. Think about favourite outside spaces you’ve enjoyed relaxing in, perhaps a favourite park, National Trust property or pub garden, and draw inspiration from these.


  1. Organise different zones in your garden, just as you would in an open-plan kitchen. Think cooking, relaxing, storing and planting
  2. Remove plants which have died over the winter and fully weed your garden so it’s looking neat and tidy
  3. Consider a potting shed to tidy away all your unused pots to make your garden ready for summer
  4. Invest in a summerhouse with insulated panels and glazed doors – this way, you can enjoy spending time in your garden while it’s still feeling a little chilly outside
  5. Buy a barbecue – it’s warm enough for alfresco dining while the sun is shining


Brummies are keener gardeners than most it would appear. A recent survey by Lloyds TSB looked at Britain’s ‘garden values’ and found that the West Midlands is the UK’s horticultural hotspot. Homeowners in the region spend more time and money in the backyard than anywhere else and their gardens are worth on average £2600.