With Christmas and the festive season fast approaching it’s time for outdoor entertaining, at its best, enjoying the Aussie sunshine. So, start now and get your garden party ready!
Here are a few great ideas to spruce up your outdoor area for the party season ahead.
Add pots of colour this Christmas – Potted colour is a quick and easy way to brighten up your garden. This works equally as well if you have a house or an apartment/unit where space is limited to a balcony. Try planting pots (established plants) of colour of red and white annuals such as petunias, alyssum and salvia to make a statement with an immediate burst of Christmas colour. Select plants with lots of buds rather than full flowers, so they will open up closer to the big day. Plant as borders, or have them in large planters, as big pots of colour, ideal for balconies. Petunias, marigolds, geranium, zinnia, vincas, sunflowers, snapdragon, cosmos, gerbera and daisies are ideal for sunny spots. Try impatiens or begonias in the shade. Speak to your nursery regarding a suitable fertilizer to use for faster and more prolific growth. Ready-planted hanging baskets, or pots abundant with flowers, are worth the bit extra. Try clustering your hanging baskets or pots together for a colour rush. Poinsettias are a Christmas favourite, readily available at this festive time of year and make a vibrant addition to a table. When planting them in the garden make sure you choose a shady and protected area. Also, it’s important to make sure you cut back any plants that have finished flowering.
Mulch and feed – to have the rest of your garden shrubs looking their best make sure you fertilise (there are easy hose-on options available) and apply mulch around your flowers and shrubs. Not only does mulching assist with water retention in the hot Aussie summer, it fills in bare areas and covers a multitude of sins, making your garden look neat, tidy and loved. Great choices for the soil are sugar cane, pine bark chip or tea tree mulch.
Trim any hedges and remove those dead flowers – tidy up scruffy or damaged branches and trim those out of shape hedges. Remove any dead flowers to tidy up plants. As a bonus, this will also encourage more flowers next year!
It’s important to water – moisten the soil deep down with some thorough, deep watering leading up to Christmas to freshen up your garden. The Aussie summer is HOT so deep watering is essential to keep plants looking good, but remember, don’t overwater and create muddy garden beds.
Ditch the weeds – we all know how unpleasant weeds can look, so spot spray with a suitable weed killer to eradicate these unsightly pests before your party deadline. Don’t forget your garden paths and any paved areas as well, so everything is looking squeaky clean and weed free.
A quick lawn make-over – nothing makes a garden look better than a lush, green lawn. Fast acting lawn fertilizers, such as Munns Professional Green Dominator Lawn Fertiliser are tailored to green up a growing lawn within four hours, so speak with your nursery. And if you suffer from Bindi, treat your lawn with an appropriate Bindi killer, ideally two weeks prior to your festivities.
Mow the lawn – mow little and often in the lead up to the party season. Try not to remove any more than a third of the grass each mow, as a low mow can create bare patches, a perfect haven for weeds.
Remove rubbish – if you have any rubbish in the yard (and who doesn’t) this is an excellent opportunity to get rid of it. Take a good, hard look at your yard and decide what stays and what goes. Keep and store neatly, dump or give away. Store ‘keepers’ in the garage or shed until you want to use them.
Space constraints – if you are living in a unit or an apartment, and have limited garden/balcony space, vertical gardens work a treat (nurseries have options, or try old pallets) or have potted colour clustered together to save space.
Make it sparkle – clean your barbie, give outdoor furniture a good spruce, make sure pavements are weed free and outdoor decks are swept, and if timber, re-oiled/touched up/painted to look their best. To add a festive touch, you can scatter some bright Xmas-coloured cushions on your chairs, add a bright tablecloth, and set the atmosphere in evenings with lighting such as solar garden lights or candles in metal lanterns. Easy and inexpensive and gives an instant facelift to a dull space.
Let there be light – it’s important not to go overboard and do a ‘Griswold’, however a few fairy lights in trees with appropriate outdoor lighting can do the trick. And if you have solar lights in the garden these also work a treat,
The final check – do a last-minute clean-up (trim dead flowers, edges, mow), sweep and water a couple of days prior to your party. And if you are doing the great Aussie barbeque, remember to fill your gas bottle. This will avoid last minute panic on the day!
And, most importantly, enjoy your time entertaining with family and friends.
Acknowledgements: Yates, Baileys, About the Garden, Chelsea Van Rijn