5 ways to spruce up your outdoor space for summer

A golden ticket to garden lighting: The old saying of making hay while the sun shines comes into its own this time of year.

From giving your furniture a fresh coat of paint to pruning your plants, experts give you their best advice on how to transform your garden into an outdoor oasis perfect to enjoy during the hottest months of the calendar…

1. Prune trees and prune plants“Plants and shrubs are a great way to revitalize your outdoor space with colour,” says Rachael Munby, marketing director at Anglian Home Improvements. “However, it is important to stay on top of their growth to prevent them from getting out of control.”

“Overgrown trees and hedges are not only unsightly, they can also attract pests and cause damage to your property, not to mention fallen leaves or flowers are a nuisance to clean up.”

She recommends paying attention to any shrubs, hedges or trees overhanging your property or greenhouse, as a buildup of leaves and twigs can block gutters or cause damage.

Pruning hedges and trees will not only make your garden look nice and tidy, but it also means that some of the sticky sap that can fall from certain trees won't pool up and cover the roof or windows of your greenhouse, warns Munby.

“When left in the sun for too long, it can be difficult to remove, so it will save you the trouble of having to clean it regularly.”

2. Quickly renew your garden

“For a quick garden polish that you can do yourself in just a few hours, consider installing your own patio,” suggests Harriet Goodacre, style consultant at Topps Tiles.

“Look for an outdoor-specific tile that can be laid over your chosen substrate to create elegant pathways or patio areas that blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape.”

If you are laying tiles on a concrete or cement surface, you will need a flexible powder tile adhesive and a cementitious grout.

“If you're worried about stains, apply the grout to a few tiles in a small test area,” says Goodacre. “If discoloration occurs, you can use a protective sealer to protect the tile.”

To apply the grout, he recommends using a suitable grout trowel, holding it at a 45-degree angle. “Fill the joints and smooth the grout over the surface of the tile with diagonal movements until the gap is completely filled.

“Remove any excess with your float before continuing. Once all joints have been grouted, allow them to dry for approximately 15 minutes before using a damp sponge to clean the surface.”

Goodacre reassures him: “There are several easy ways to lay outdoor tile, so you don't have to be a veteran DIYer to get the job done.”

3. Renovate your current patio

If you have a beautiful patio space, make sure it looks its best…

“Most exterior tile can be cleaned with a pressure washer; however, regular washing can affect the grout over time,” notes Goodacre.

If the grout cracks, falls off or becomes discolored, he recommends removing at least 3mm of the existing grout so that the new grout can have a firm base and a greater surface area to adhere to.

“You can do this manually using a grout rake, applying firm pressure while moving it up and down along the grout line.”

For a less labor-intensive method, he recommends removing grout mechanically using a reliable multi-function tool and a grout removal saw blade.

“Push the blade directly into the grout between two tiles, applying gentle pressure; you may need to use a grout rake to scrape away any debris.”

Whether you remove grout manually or mechanically, work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the edge or surface of the slab, he advises. “And always wear a mask. Remove excess adhesive with a damp sponge.

“When it comes to applying the new grout, do some research on a permeable grout suitable for outdoor tiles, as it should hold up better to pressure washing in the future,” adds Goodacre.

4. Update the exterior paint

With a little paint and a lot of creativity, you can give your outdoor space a whole new look, enthuses Kerry Murfin, vice president of European marketing at Keter.

“Exterior paint allows for bolder, bolder color choices, and more opportunities to apply your personal style to fencing and patio furniture.”

Murfin continues, “Neutral tones provide the perfect backdrop for colorful flowers or your outdoor furniture, while bright and jewel tones will give your space an instant facelift and inject personality into the space.”

To create a natural extension of your home, she recommends sprucing up your lounging area with an outdoor sofa, fire pit, and upholstered furniture that can be safely stored in weatherproof storage in case it rains.

When choosing storage, she recommends looking for items made from durable, easy-to-clean resin or recycled plastic for a simple, low-maintenance solution.

5. Take care of your shed so it lasts longer

“Sturdy, quality sheds should not need to be replaced frequently, as long as they are well maintained,” Murfin points out.

“And longer afternoons mean we can finally get out into the garden and cross those pesky tasks off our list – summer is the perfect time to assess whether your shed needs some TLC.”

While the weather is dry, he recommends checking for holes or signs of leaks, such as puddles of water, water marks, or discoloration.

“Leaks are usually caused by holes or cracks in the shed or damaged shingles on the roof.” Murfin continues. “If the problem is detected early, it can soon be rectified to prevent further damage.”

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