It’s possible to create an attractive garden in the smallest of spaces that won’t break the bank, by choosing the right plants and by making the most of every available surface, whether you’ve got a patio, balcony or just a window ledge

Perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to give your patio a quick makeover is to use seasonal bedding plants to provide some instant colour. Whether you go for pansies or old-fashioned begonias, robust geraniums with their distinctive scent or sweet busy Lizzies you can get an easy pop of colour with a good selection of plants and pots.

Small trees, shrubs and just about any other plant can be grown in pots on a patio. Where space is really tight, underplant larger specimens with low-growing plants to really make the most of every available centimetre. For instance, trailing nasturtiums, herbs or fast-growing leafy salads look great when planted around the base of a standard tree in a container.

Don’t forget that you can always go up as well, so take advantage of your vertical space. There are many clever growing kits available that allow you to grow flowers and edibles on walls and fences – which add greenery and texture to your outside space.

Embrace the natural style and elements. Cottage gardens have classic appeal and are easy to re-create by using old materials and soft, romantic planting. Rustic, unfinished wood, warm pebbles and lightly distressed brickwork all work together to provide a natural, unfussy aesthetic. A weathered shabby chic bench surrounded by planted up pots will provide a comfortable place to sit and relax. And if your patio is partly shaded then think about plants that are happy in those conditions such as hydrangeas, violas and ferns.

The joy about container growing is that you can move plants around so that your garden is a constantly changing canvas and works with the seasons.
As spring gets underway, usually by mid-March, the more frequent sunny days provide the opportunity for an increasing range of gardening tasks. It’s time to get busy preparing seed beds, sowing seeds, cutting back winter shrubs and generally tidying up around the garden.

Jobs for this month as recommended by the RHS should include:
• Protect new spring shoots from slugs
• Plant shallots, onions and early potatoes
• Plant summer flowering bulbs
• Lift and divide clumps of perennials
• Top dress containers with fresh compost
• Mow the lawn on dry days
•Cut back dogwood and willow grown for winter stems
• Hoe and mulch weeds to keep them under control early
• Start feeding fish and using the pond fountain
• Prune bush and climbing roses



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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