As much as I long for sunny days, winter is a great time to make structural changes in your garden and get some key jobs done. I’ve been repairing the rabbit fencing, putting in the foundations for a new shed and generally getting myself sorted in time for spring. I’ve also put up my new clock. There’s a good range available at Town and Country.
Practical advantages of winter work include the fact that you can transplant even large shrubs this time of year without damage. Any changes won’t mean newly planted flowers drying out before they’ve had chance to establish.
Pen out any design ideas you have for your garden. Large borders with generous soft landscaping cost less than lots of hard landscape. You may wish to introduce new materials or new plants into your garden. Or perhaps you want to go all out this year with a water feature, hot tub or swimming pool!
Many people consider their garden to be a place to relax and socialise, so a comfortable, low-maintenance environment is popular. A patio or timber deck is ideal. You can keep costs down by choosing decking over paving. A more affordable option still is to lay an aggregate material such as gravel or chipped wood for a patio. This is a much easier option for the DIY-er.
Once you’ve chosen a location, ideally somewhere sunny and not too overlooked by neighbours, clear the sites completely of weeds and debris. Remove as many of the weeds as possible, then lay a layer of good-quality geotextile membrane, overlapping any edges by 500mm. You’ll need a raised edge to retain the aggregate, but simple timber boards supported by stakes should do the trick. Lastly, spread your chosen material evenly with a rake to a depth of 50mm. After a couple of weeks it will have compacted so top it up as necessary.
-- Rob Amey