Whether you live in the city or the countryside, having a garden means that you are able to enjoy the outdoor life all year round. Although city living means many people now live in flats, in the UK there are still millions of people who are lucky enough to have their own outdoor area. Whether big or small, a garden is a private space which can be made into a beautiful place that reflects the personality of its owners.
Building a garden involves a number of factors. You might be laying it out from scratch or making the most of a design that you've inherited. Some people like to impose order on their garden, whilst others like to let it take on a more natural appearance. Often the main choices come down to how much effort you want to put into ongoing maintenance.
Paving and decking has the effect of making an outdoor space easy to maintain and keep clean. Some people choose to cover their entire garden in this way as a result.
This is part of an increasing trend for people to treat their garden as extensions of the living space in their homes, effectively creating 'outdoor rooms'. New materials mean that you can even get all-weather 'outdoor carpets' to bring both colour and functionality to your garden.
Garden furniture comes in many different shapes and sizes and can be a great way to both enjoy more time outside but also to make a style statement as well.
Chairs are no longer a plain choice between a classic deck chair or a hard-backed wooden upright option and tables can easily be sleek steel and glass creations as much as they might be sturdy wooden or metal constructions.
Large parasols can bring both shade and protection from the elements and be easily arranged to make the most of seating areas.
Gazebos, sheds and even purpose-built garden offices are more permanent constructions that can be utilised in even smaller urban gardens with a little bit of clever design work. These will not usually need planning permission or official building work approvals.
Keeping your garden in shape can be hard work, especially if you have flower beds, large collections of potted plants or other showpiece flower arrangements.
Common tasks such as removing old and dead plants, clearing away debris and bringing a lawn back to life are things that many people enjoy each Spring. For others, these are exactly the kind of things that lead them to choose an easier option in terms of looking after their garden.
All images from Heart Home magazine.