Now that the nights are getting shorter and sunshine is starting to creep back into the days again, many people are turning their thoughts to the spaces outside their homes. In the warmer months, having a garden you’re proud of can add a whole new element to your house – it’s almost as if you’ve got a whole extra room! If you want to get the most out of your garden this spring and summer, now is the time to start thinking about getting it just the way you want it. Check out our quick guide to building your dream garden this year.

Build the basics

Before you start thinking about planting bulbs and furnishing your garden, you want to make sure you’ve got the bare bones just right. Always wanted to replace your ageing patio with some stylish decking? If you get started now you can have everything ready to use by the time the warmer weather kicks in. There are plenty of professional gardeners happy to do the job for you – for a fee of course – but with stores like B&Q it’s surprisingly easy to buy everything you need and build it yourself to your own specifications. It’s also a great time to start thinking about other things you might want to add to your garden. Whether it’s a brick barbecue or a pond stocked with ornamental fish, there are plenty of things you can do to liven up your outdoor space and make it a more appealing place to relax and entertain.

Get planting

plantingMarch is a great time to start planting flowers and shrubs that will bloom later in the year. If you’ve got a greenhouse, begonias and dahlias can be planted ready to move outdoors once the weather gets warmer, while bright flowers like poppies and cornflowers can be sowed directly outdoors at this time of year for bursts of colour in the summer months. March is also a fantastic time to plant wildflowers – ideal for more informal gardens and for scattering amongst lawns to create a laid-back, dreamy garden, wildflowers are especially beloved by children and easy for them to plant. Got a vegetable patch in your garden? Beetroot, broad beans, carrots, kale and leeks – as well as herbs like chicory, chives, coriander, dill and parsley – can all be planted now to provide a bountiful crop later in the year.

Add the extras

garden furnitureOnce you’ve planned out and planted your dream garden, it’s time to start thinking about how you want to use the space. For families, try and divide your garden into a section for play and a section where the adults can go to relax. If you only have a small space, you can easily make it multi-purpose by investing in toys and furniture that can be quickly folded up and stowed away. A play area with a paddling pool and sandpit, for example, can easily be converted into an evening entertainment area by packing away the toys and using fold-out furniture for your guests. Modular garden furniture is also ideal for those without much room, as it can be arranged in different ways to serve a variety of purposes. If you’ve got a bit more room, choose quality furniture that’s built to last. Stores like Argos have a fantastic selection of outdoor dining tables and chairs to choose from, while loungers and day beds can add a bit of VIP glamour to the summer garden.

Get entertaining

Now you’ve got the perfect garden, it’s time to invite all your friends round to enjoy it! While March and April may still be a little on the chilly side, they’re great months to gather everyone around a fire and welcome in the spring. Fire pits allow even those with the smallest outdoor spaces to enjoy the magical atmosphere of a garden bonfire – check out your local homeware stores for specially made fire pits, or make your own from the drum of an old washing machine. Think about outside catering too – building your own BBQ now will set you up for the summer months, while an outdoor bar is a great addition for anyone that loves to be the perfect host. And if you’re guests plan on staying late into the evening, there are loads of fun lighting ideas you can try out to transform your garden in the dark. Try solar powered fairy lights for a fun, eco-friendly addition, or light tea lights in glass holders for a romantic glow.