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Gardens: 14 of the best (and worst) garden investments!

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by PHU Bortnowski
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Making more of your garden isn't always easy, as how do you know which project are worth taking on and which will just be more hassle than they are worth? You want fancy flowers, but you don't want to buy expensive ones that you can't care for and don't even get us started on outdoor lighting that costs a fortune to run! We looked at what talented landscape architects have been including and most notably, excluding, from their projects and we think we have a great handle on the best and worst garden investments that you could make! Come with us now as we tell you them all and see which items you can cross off your dream garden list! You might even be a little surprised at what you add onto it…

Gardens: 14 of the best (and worst) garden investments!

1. Worst: high maintenance flowers.

Don't do it to yourself! We know you love the look of certain flowers, but they might need special soil, food, nutrients and a program of pruning that you simply can't keep up with. Let just one element slide and you might end up with a very expensive pile of dead greenery! Avoid!

2. Best: decking.

Decking is a steadfast garden addition. It creates beautiful terraces, which effectively increase the usable space of your home, it looks elegant and will never date or look old fashioned. With some simple maintenance, decking will last for years too, so it is cost-effective and stylish choice.

3. Best: attractive fencing.

Everyone needs privacy in their garden but you can still enjoy a pleasant aesthetic too! Sturdy, attractive fencing works for both you and your neighbors and just like decking, if you protect it regularly and make sure plant roots don't interfere with it, it'll last ages!

4. Worst: expensive lighting.

We're not talking about innovative solar-powered lighting, but stupid plug-in lights that run up your electricity bill and don't really offer much in return! Talk about money down the drain! Never choose mains-powered garden lights as they are a real waste of money, especially where there are some amazing eco alternatives.

5. Best: ground-covering plants.

Look out for pretty little shrubs that offer good ground cover but need little in the way of ongoing care. Alpine shrubs are usually best for this and are very inexpensive too! Mix and match varieties for a little diversity, but stick with similarly sized plants, so you can maintain them.

6. Worst: complicated water features.

Complicated water features might look impressive once they are in place, but how much do you have to go through to get them up and running? It's ridiculous when you stop and think about it and nobody is going to ask, so you can't even brag about it! Stick to something simpler and more elegant!

7. Best: evergreen plants.

Luscious and green all year round, evergreen plants are a fantastic investment for your garden, especially if you know you won't have a huge amount of time spare for collecting leaves and pruning! With so many different varieties to choose from, there will be at least a handful that you love and look great together too.

8. Worst: seed packets.

Even with the best intention on the world, it is unlikely that you are ever going to grow something truly impressive and beautiful from a seed packet. You know it as well as we do, so stop buying them! It really is pointless when you could put the money towards a sapling that is already on its way!

9. Best: a covered terrace.

You want your garden to have year round appeal and functionality, so a covered terrace is a valuable addition to your space! Come rain or shine, you can still enjoy some alfresco dining, socializing under the stars and beautiful views of the rest of your garden. They add value to your home too!

10. Worst: commercial pesticides.

AWFUL! Never use commercial pesticides, as they are harmful to the environment and most definitely not safe for use in a family garden that has children and/or pets running around in it! The chemicals used in these atrocious cocktails are extremely dangerous, so always look for natural pest control solutions.

11. Best: an amazing barbecue.

classic  by La Hacienda, Classic
La Hacienda

Romana wood fired oven

La Hacienda

When you want to cook up a storm in your garden, there's only one option: a full on fabulous grill! Don't see a top-of-the-range version as a huge expense, as you can look after it and it will serve up delicious perfectly cooked food for years to come. Get one that comes on wheels and you'll be able to pop it out of the rain in a flash too!

12. Worst: way too many ornaments.

When it comes to garden ornaments, the general rule of thumb is that less is more, but this goes doubly for tacky, novelty items. If you love sculptures and statues, by all means have some in the garden, but tuck them under plants and make more subtle displays and whatever you do, step away from the gnomes!

13. Best: an outdoor dining furniture set.

Splashing out on an outdoor dining set might seem like an expense you can live without, but if you get a good quality set-up right from the start, it will last you a lifetime. Be sure to treat wooden varieties once a year and touch up metal ones with special paint too, to ensure a longer lifespan. Come summer, you'll be glad you invested!

14. Worst: expensive, water-sensitive furniture.

We never know why people buy outdoor furniture that isn't suitable for use in the rain! It's such a waste of money that will come back to haunt you every year when you do it again! Start thinking about function and style, instead of just style and you'll find something perfect for your space.

For more garden inspiration. take a look at this article: 12 garden styles for each zodiac sign.

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