It’s hard for an avid gardener to put down their spade come winter. That’s why so many choose to garden year-round.
Whether it is wintering expensive outdoor annuals inside your home, investing in a small greenhouse or growing miniature indoor gardens on window ledges and in special containers, there are many ways to continue gardening all year.
Growing plants and flowers, both indoors and outdoors, adds an element of beauty to your yard and home that can be very satisfying. It’s also profitable. Well-placed trees, shrubs, flowering plants and an attractive lawn can increase the value of your property by as much as 10 per cent.
A greenhouse or solarium, or miniature indoor gardens that allow you to garden year-round, also add beauty and value to your home. A greenhouse, in fact, can be therapeutic. Not only can you watch flowers bloom and harvest vegetables and herbs 365 days a year, you can work the soil and tend to it regardless of weather conditions.
So, if you don’t want to give up the spade this fall, begin to consider the following options now.
Bringing your fancy annuals indoors
In addition to the inexpensive annuals such as the impatiens and petunias most of us plant to add colour to our gardens, you could consider investing in more expensive but interesting and hardier annuals.
It is well worth the extra investment because most of the more expensive annuals will winter quite well inside your home, adding colour and brightness to those dull, dreary winter days. Plants that perform well over the winter include hibiscus, lantana, Mexican heather, passion flower, lithodora, the Mandevilla hybrid, geraniums and others available in spring at most garden centres.
After enjoying their beauty all summer long, cut them back before the first frost in fall, pot and place them in a bright spot indoors until the following spring when you can slowly re-introduce them to the outdoors. Don’t forget to include some herbs such as rosemary, which stay well indoors over the winter, too. Don’t expect the plant tags to tell you these plants thrive for more than one summer, though.
Invest in a greenhouse
A greenhouse can be the key to year-round gardening for many avid gardeners. There are many greenhouse models on the market today, in varying sizes and prices to choose from. You can build your own, buy prefabricated kits which must be assembled or have one custom-built for your home.
Greenhouse gardening requires plenty of sunlight. So choose the location carefully and consider the possibility of future expansion when deciding on the size. Greenhouses require fans, heaters, vents, sprinklers and shelving units. A variety of glazing materials are used to promote thermal efficiency, including glass, acrylic, film and polycarbonate. These materials can increase the rate of plant growth by as much as 50 per cent.
A greenhouse can be an avid gardener’s dream come true. You can grow exotic plants and vegetables, experiment with new gardening techniques and experience the warmth of a summer garden on the coldest of winter days.
Creating an indoor garden
Greening your home with indoor plants is fun and a bargain compared to filling up and brightening spaces using furniture and other decorative techniques. You can hang them from the ceiling, set them on tables and other furniture pieces, perch them on window sills, prop them in empty comers – the possibilities are endless.
Don’t settle for just simple houseplants. There are many varieties of plants to choose from, including dwarf trees that can easily raise a crop of grapefruits, lemons or oranges right in your living room – but you should expect a three to five year wait for the first fruit to develop.
If you don’t have a big home or big ideas about indoor gardening, miniature house plants can be very cheerful and great decorators. Because they occupy less space, you can also grow more of them and in greater variety. Dwarf geraniums will do well on a narrow window sill.
Windows can be the best places to decorate with a living garden, as long as all the plants are not haphazardly arranged. It should be an artistic composition, an arrangement of plants and containers that create an attractive, refreshing and charming effect.
Improving the “look” of your home can not only make it more attractive and comfortable but it may also increase the market value of the property.
The wisest improvements in any home are those that bring it up to the standards of other properties in the immediate area. If most properties have garages or carports, central air and fireplaces, these are well-worth adding. Other good improvements that enhance the exterior of your home are adding terraces, wooden decks and fences that increase privacy. Shade trees, shrubs and landscaping that is easy to keep up also add value.
Very specialized improvements, unless strictly for your own enjoyment, are not a good idea because the money spent may not be returned through added value. Saunas, home gyms, green houses and dark rooms are examples of personalized improvements that have limited demand and, as a result, little added value.
Making your home more attractive doesn’t always require major improvements, changing the colour scheme, repainting, paneling, hanging new wall coverings and installing new lighting and flooring can help give your home the facelift it needs without breaking your budget.
Before you begin any improvements, take stock of what you have. Try tow work any new colour schemes withing the furnishings you want to keep. For continuity and to create spaciousness, maintain the same colour scheme through the living areas of the home, varying only the accent colour from room to room. Also stick to one style, whether traditional or contemporary. Personal spaces such as bedrooms and bathrooms can depart from the overall style and theme.
Get free advice
While planning your home’s facelift, take advantage of free advice available from paint stores, wallpaper outlets, fabric shops, picture framers, furniture and craft stores. Take home samples whenever you can and take your time. Scale, size and colour are dramatically different in a store setting. Samples may appear completely different in your home
Paint it all
When it comes to home decorating, colour is your best friend. Colours can visually enlarge or reduce the size of a room; heighten or lower a ceiling. And there is nothing that comes in more colours than paint One of the best ways to update your home on a tight budget is to use paint Paint can transfer dated cupboards and vanities to.