backyard-upgrades

6 Backyard Upgrades to Simplify Your Gardening Hobby

Most gardeners, from hobbyists to professionals, agree that gardening can be difficult and time-consuming but also worth it. Gardening offers us amazing rewards, including hand-grown food to eat and beautiful relaxation spots. We might wish sometimes that it could be a little easier, though.

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When the gardening gets difficult, it could be a sign that a more long-sighted approach would help, such as equipping yourself with the proper tools and installations that would make parts of your garden more automatic or self-sufficient. Useful garden installations, much like good tools, save us effort. However, many of them require careful pre-planning before installation.

The planning stage asks you to think about how you see your garden developing, what landscaping you might incorporate into your garden, and what choices you want to make with your gardening methods.

Outfitting your garden with any of these installations is likely to take a bit off your workload.

1. Raised Beds

Raised Beds Garden

Raised garden beds offer the perfect balance between using an in-ground garden bed and container gardening. These beds are normally built between a few inches and few feet of the ground. Since they're isolated, they allow vegetable gardeners to perfectly tailor the garden plot to a plant’s particular needs.

This makes them great for:

  • Companion planting, as they let you use their bed space for both a vertical plant and a shrubbing plant right next to each other.
  • Isolated watering, so that you only use as much water as is needed to keep the plant healthy.
  • Drainage that's tailored to your location and the plants that you're raising.
  • Gardeners who need to take care of their knees. Garden beds that are raised off the ground reduce the amount of kneeling and standing needed for maintenance and harvesting.

It's possible to contract out the installation for raised beds. Alternatively, you can buy raised bed frames from many retail nurseries and garden supply stores. For the handy gardener, raised beds make an excellent DIY project. Making your own raised beds allows you to customize the exact height, depth, and drainage of the beds to the needs of your environment.

2. Easy Storage Garden Shed

Storage Garden Shed

For gardeners, the most important part of the shed is its walls. Wall storage allows garden tools to be accessible and easy to put away, whether it's your trowel, hand rake, or even a tidy shelf dedicated to your terracottas and plastic starter pots.

Unfortunately, clutter often keeps this tidy dream from happening. The lawnmower, yard tools, and many bags of mulch and potting soil obstruct the space. These tools can make it difficult to walk, much less use the shed’s wall real estate.

An easy to use shed can be structured into three zones:

  • A floor zone for the yard tools mower to live. You can also use this wall to hang your rake and outdoor broom.
  • A heavy-duty floor-to-ceiling shelf to house your various bags of soil and mulch. These would allow you to grab what you need into a bucket for small projects, or retrieve the whole bag for big ones. Remember to have the heaviest on the bottom shelves and lightest at the top.
  • A peg-board wall and small standing-level counter surface. Use these just for potting and grabbing your gardening tools when you need them.

This will save your shed the cluttered floors and surfaces that just might drive you away from gardening altogether.

3. Small Greenhouse

Small Greenhouse

Greenhouses don't require large complicated structures. The heat and moisture preservation that greenhouses offer can be done on a smaller scale, with various kinds of plastic covering to allow them flexibility.

Small greenhouses offer a variety of benefits. With them, you can:

  • Grow plants that prefer a more tropical climate.
  • Overwinter plants that won’t go dormant in the cold.
  • Shelter plants from bugs and small animals that want to eat them.
  • Incubate young plants and seedlings until they are strong enough for planting.
  • Offer moisture retention in dry or arid climates.

Many greenhouse setups can be broken down and set up again so that they don't occupy the garden year round.

However, if you choose to leave it up, you'll likely find that your greenhouse takes on its own character from your regular garden. It will likely have its own long-term plant varieties, while also giving you space to raise young plants for a life outside the greenhouse.

4. Composting Setup

Composting

Buying organic matter, such as natural fertilizers and mushroom compost can get very expensive. Many gardeners seek options where they can make their own organic material to feed their garden and this most often leads them to composting. It's generally the next step up from saving your coffee grounds and tea leaves, but it often requires setup and maintenance.

Composting allows you to turn your food and organic waste into natural fertilizer that you cansafely use for your gardening endeavors.

Composting installations don't necessarily require expensive closed-bin composters or tumblers. Outdoor open bins and pits are extremely inexpensive and work well for all composting content, including lawn debris and hot compost. Other trends such as compost tea and lasagna composting have been catching on among organic gardeners. Alternately, worm composting is a great choice for those who are composting in smaller spaces.

Deciding on your ideal composting system falls to a few questions:

  • What kind of organic material will you be composting, including food scraps and lawn clippings?
  • How much will you have to compost?
  • This often depends on the size of your household and yard.
  • What form of composting do you want in your garden?

Ultimately, composting can be an added process to your gardening workload. Many gardeners find this worthwhile since it saves money from purchasing rich organic matter, and it allows them to reuse some of the waste from around their own home and yard.

5. Lawn and Garden Lighting Systems

Garden Lighting Systems

It's important as a gardener to give yourself some light. This is especially important when you're a weekend warrior or someone who likes to play in the dirt after their day job.

Just because the sun is going down doesn't mean that you can't tend to your plants in the evening. You do, however, need to make sure that you can see what you are doing. This will save you from mistakenly hurting one of your plants and unnecessarily straining your eyesight.

When looking into garden lighting, opt for LEDs which remain cool even when they're lit for a long time. Plants will grow toward light sources, meaning you won't have a lot of control over errant plant leaves that reach out to touch the lights. In this case, the most you can do is use light sources that won't become hot enough to burn these leaves.

Make sure your lights are on a timer, especially those in the garden. Your plants do need the sun to go down eventually. If you're the sort of person who might forget to turn off the lights when you finish gardening, a timer will help take this load off your mind.

For energy efficiency, look for solar paneled light systems. These will often have an easy to use solar sensors located on stakes that you anchor in the ground.

6. Rain Collection Barrels

Rain Collection Barrels

Rain barrels are garden installations that help you to save the rainwater runoff that falls off your house and pools in your yard. This is most often accomplished by arranging the home's gutters and downspouts to drain into a rain barrel.

More comprehensive setups maximize the setup even more by having the downspouts drain into a particularly low area in the yard which then drains into a partially underground rain barrel. The water in the rain barrel can then be reintroduced to the garden using an irrigation system.

This water conservation effort is not only good for the earth. It also means lower water bills for people who need irrigation to keep their gardens going.

The use of rain barrels has led to the development of rain gardens, which can help with natural watering. They often reposition spouts and consider the slope of the land to optimize water use.

Since rain gardens are eco-friendly garden plots designed to catch as much rainwater as possible, they help to halt environmentally damaging water runoff. This includes the runoff of water that has picked up chemicals and pesticides from the soil in our yards and then enters our water supply through storm drains.

Whether you're an avid vegetable gardener or someone who simply likes to spend time among your flowers, using a few garden installations will remove strain from your workflow, and allow you to enjoy your gardening time more. From composting to building a cold frame, these measures allow you to experiment and appreciate the lifecycle of your garden even more.

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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