‘De-clutter’, ‘minimalist’ and ‘simplify’ are words we all hear thrown around on a regular basis when it comes to the inside of our homes. But what about the outside? Can you de-clutter your garden? The garden is probably only second to spaces such as the garage, shed or spare room in terms of clutter. However, one of the quickest ways to improve the appearance of any garden is to spend a weekend or two de-cluttering it.
It is not difficult to de-clutter a garden, but it seems to be one of those tasks that many people put off. Not only will you end up with a garden that is easier to maintain, easier to use and enjoy come summer, but it will look a whole better, and add value to your home.
With the Spring a few months away, it is the perfect time to start thinking about what you want to do to your outdoor space. Now the real job of actually de-cluttering can begin, a good garden spring clean if you like, and to get started just follow these simple steps:
Start with a simple plan
Think about what you want to do to your garden, how you want it to look when you’re finished, and how you can best tackle the task in hand. Only tackle one part of the garden at a time and work your way round in stages. For example, you could de-clutter and tidy your shed one weekend, and then move onto tidying up your borders the next. Do’t overwhelm yourself, break it down into manageable ‘chunks’. Try and concentrate on only one project at a time and think about the flow/design of your outdoor space carefully. And most importantly, make a list of any unfinished garden projects and focus on getting them finished.
If you don’t need it, get rid of it
One thing that surprises many people when the start sorting their garden is the amount of stuff they actually have in the garden and in outside storage spaces such as the shed or greenhouse. It happens to all of us, the garden can be a magnet for junk. However, cleaning out your shed for example is straightforward when you consolidate the process. Just sort everything into Keep It, Throw It Out, Sell It, and Donate It piles and use plastic storage boxes to help make putting items in piles a little easier.
Chuck it in the bin straight away
Immediately remove items from your garden that are in the ‘Throw It’ and ‘Giveaway’ piles. Be ruthless! If you don’t need them, and you can’t re-use or sell them, then bin them straight away to free up the space. People generally don’t like to throw things out, how many times have you heard the ‘you never know when I might need it’ line, especially if they’re a little on the sentimental side. However, when a garden item has reached the end, then it’s time to say goodbye as the song goes. Cracked ceramic containers, water-damaged hanging baskets, broken tools, you will never get around to getting them fixed or finding another use, so get rid.
Sell, recycle, donate or reuse it
Try and find an immediate home for the items that you want to keep in your garden. Also, many garden items, such as old tools old plastic plant pots etc, can be recycled. Think about how you can reuse items to save a little money. For example you can turn and old tyre into a a great raised container for growing veggies. Just remember, the aim is to de-clutter your garden, so only keep anything that is part of your plan. Do not hold on to things ‘just in case’!
You could also make a little cash towards any work that needs doing by selling unwanted items on places such as eBay or Craigslist. You could be pleasantly surprised, one mans junk can be another mans treasure. While you may no longer have a need for an item, someone else might do. If you don’t know of someone who can get good use out of it, then donate it to charity. We even gave our old children’s garden slide and playhouse etc that they’d outgrown to a local nursery. They were still in excellent condition, so they might as well go to a good home!
Clean up your garden as you go
Clutter doesn’t have to mean rubbish. It is any item that is simply out of place. From a garden hose left uncoiled on the patio to an unsightly collection of old flower pots stacked next to the garden shed. Just as with the inside of your home, every part of your garden from patio tables to the corner of your decking can become a convenient space for items that don’t belong there. As you work your way around your garden, put them away in their rightful place and you’ll see an immediate improvement. Most home improvement stores and garden supply websites offer storage solutions that will help you stay tidy and organised. From shelving/racking solutions for the shed and outdoor storage chests, to wall mounted auto rewind garden hose reels… Look for items that help keep clutter to minimum and give untidy looking items a home as you work your way around your garden.
Keep it clean
And as if all the gardening tools and accessories etc you have in your garden weren’t enough, the garden itself generates its own form of clutter. From dead branches and leaves spring to grass clippings and loose pebbles. Garden debris needs to be kept in check and your garden will continue to require a regular clean-up to keep it tidy and de-cluttered. Its quite possible that your planting may need a de-clutter too… Invasive or otherwise annoying plants qualify as clutter, as do ornamental plants when too many different kinds are planted without any sort of theme. For example, a busy looking collection of many different types of plants, might be better simplified to just one or two colours. Alternatively, different varieties of the same plant/foliage, such as say Hosta, can be grouped together by their leaf type to create a striking display.
Trust me, you’ll be much happier if your garden isn’t cluttered with plants that don’t really belong anymore and that don’t give you any joy. Sometimes you can keep a particular plant if you just cut it back to its original size. Any plant that’s prone to pests or diseases, get rid of it. Plants that have grown too or simply haven’t flourished as you’d hoped, again get rid of them. Be ruthless about what you allow back into your garden and pick a simple planting scheme that not only fit the theme, but also the sun, soil and water conditions.
Whether the purpose of your garden is to grow flowers, relax with a BBQ when the sun is shining, or a space for the kids to get a little fresh air and burn off a bit of energy, the simple act of being outdoors should be your focus. And a clutter free garden is an easy to maintain easy to enjoy garden… Happy de-cluttering this spring!