Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Spring into Action; HOMES Let the Warmth of the New Season Give You Some Gardening Ideas, Says JULIA GRAY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Spring into Action; HOMES Let the Warmth of the New Season Give You Some Gardening Ideas, Says JULIA GRAY

Article excerpt

Byline: JULIA GRAY

AFTER a wet and windy winter, the lovely spring most of us are enjoying is a very welcome sight - one that'd be even more welcome, if you could enjoy it by sitting outside in a bright, light and newly transformed outdoor space.

Bare brick walls in a courtyard garden, for example, can look drab and boring, but a layer of paint will transform them in no time.

Sandtex's Feature Wall range of masonry paint includes some pretty vibrant colours, but if you'd rather let the plants do the talking, one of the colours, Evening Shadow, is a sophisticated dark grey. At the very least, if you can't decide on a colour, painting courtyard walls white will make a big difference - they'll be lighter, brighter and cheerier.

Dilapidated fences really let an otherwise smart garden down, so make the effort to repair or replace broken ones. If you have to start from scratch, fence panels are the quickest option because each panel covers a large area, but closeboard fencing (also called featherboard or featheredge), where the fence is built up board by board, is more durable and bespoke.

Finish off your fence with garden wood paint - it's more attractive, and unique, than the simple brown wood stain. If you also have a wooden garden shed, be creative and paint it and the fence in co-ordinating colours, either something subtle and subdued, or (if you're feeling brave) bold and bright.

If only a hedge will do, opt for shrubs that grow quickly, such as the notoriously vigorous leylandis, or try ready-made hedges, which are much more expensive but provide instant impact. Hedges are better windbreaks than a solid barrier, although not as secure for children and pets. Hedges also filter noise from roads and neighbours, provide natural beauty, encourage wildlife, and tend to be longer-lasting and more weather resistant than fences.

Of course, a garden isn't much good without an entertaining area. For an inexpensive and quick fix, use gravel, pebbles or slate chips to cover unsightly concrete or paving.

Tiles are a more attractive, practical and permanent solution, but getting the ground level enough can be tricky. …

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