DIY garden projects for a great summer

You don’t need to break the bank to have your garden looking good this summer. How can this be done?

It’s surprising what you can achieve and how much value you can add to your property with even the most rudimentary tools – from hanging baskets to renovating garden furniture and building a water feature.

Hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are a great way to add colour to your garden, especially if space is limited. They’re also budget-friendly, with garden centres and hardware stores offering a wide range of baskets, liners and wall brackets to match any décor.

  • Hanging baskets are best prepared in September or October, with bedding plants blooming beautifully in the summer.
  • Hanging baskets are also ideal for trailing succulents, ferns, and shade-loving plants like peace in the home.
  • Balance the basket, add the liner, and fill with potting soil. Then arrange the plants in the baskets, making sure they’re equally distributed, around the whole basket.
  • Be sure to water regularly and hang flowering plants in a sunny spot. Ferns and other shade-loving plants need to be in a more sheltered position.

Renovate garden furniture

Old garden furniture, fences, and sheds can be given a new lease on life, with a fresh coat of paint.

  • Neutral colours like whites or creams will lift a dull area and create a sense of space. Evergreen plants and colourful flowers will show off beautifully against a white backdrop.
  • For a more dramatic garden impact don’t be afraid to go for bold colours. Bright purples or blues will offset pink and white flowers as well as green foliage plants.
  • Garden paint is preferable to ordinary acrylic paint as it will provide weather protection and makes repainting intervals longer.

Insect hotel

Insect hotels are popular with gardeners and fruit and vegetable growers as they host pollinators and encourage pollination. Some elaborately designed insect hotels may also be attractions in their own right and, increasingly, can be found in pub gardens and various tourist locations.

Constructing an insect hotel is a great project to tackle with your kids. They will enjoy getting their hands dirty and seeing the habitat buzzing with wildlife.

  • Most insects prefer a dry home so place the hotel in a sheltered spot.
  • Make a small wooden box that is open on at least one side. If you have enough space, you can stack up a few pallets.
  • Loosely fill the gaps with garden materials such as bits of brick, chunks of wood, moss, dry leaves, and broken plant pots or patio slabs.
  • You could also add a ‘living roof’ by digging up a patch of grass and laying it on top of the hotel.


You can add a number of cheap structures to your garden with recycled pallets – from planters to storage space and even seats.

  • Using some nails, a saw, and a drill, you can use pallets to assemble a straightforward plant table. These practical and attractive items are ideal for keeping garden tools and storing garden produce.
  • Erect garden furniture from pallets. There are many online tutorials showing you how to make a pallet sofa. You can then add some comfortable and colourful cushions.

Water feature

A birdbath or a pond are essential additions to any garden.

Creating a natural pond is one of the best ways to help local wildlife. A pond can be any size – even as small as a bucket so that it can fit in most gardens.

You could bury a salvaged bath or sink, but it’s much more fun to dig your own pond.

You’ll need a pond liner, which is sold at most garden centres.

  • Remove any sharp stones before laying the pond liner in the hole.
  • Fill with water.
  • Dig a small trench around the outside and tuck the liner into it.
  • Then plant suitable plants around the perimeter or lay large stones to hide the liner.
  • To ensure small animals can access the pond, you could build a walkway using a plank or create a sloping pebble beach.
  • Frogs, birds, and dragonflies will be frequent visitors.

Whether you have a small garden, a patio, or just a balcony, there are plenty of simple updates that you can achieve on a budget, and that can make a huge difference to the appearance of your outdoor space.

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