When you rent your home, sinking plants into the soil in its back garden can feel counterintuitive: establishing a garden is a long-term project, but you may only be in this home for a short while. Your rented home may only have a tiny pocket of outdoor space, too, throwing up another set of challenges.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to improve the outside area attached to your rented home, from simple styling to ingenious planting. These ideas won’t cost a packet, either, but will quickly bring colour and personality to your patch.
Style the space
Take your approach to the interior of your home outside and style your space as you would a room. Here, cacti, table decorations, versatile furniture and a lantern give this compact balcony masses of character. Choose pieces you can leave outdoors, or simply move indoor items out when needed.
Lay an outdoor rug
Disguise a damaged deck or brighten up a shady space with an outdoor rug. Woven from fibres that will withstand the weather, an outdoor rug is an easy and inexpensive way to bring colour to a garden.
Convert some cans
Potted plants are ideal in a rented garden: you can move them around the space and then take them with you when you leave. Rather than invest in planters, though, why not make your own with colourful cans?
Use vibrant, decorated tins, remove the labels from regular cans and spray-paint them, or leave them bare if you like metallic accents. Remember to punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage.
Build some seating
Use a simple row of wooden pallets, stacked a couple deep and topped with foam cushions, to make comfy, stylish outdoor seating. Then use an unadorned pallet as a coffee table. Minimal investment and very little time required!
Bring blankets, light candles
Even the most modest of outdoor spaces can look magical when lit by candles. Invest in hurricane lamps, or simply pop tealights into old jam jars and dot them around.
To help you enjoy the outdoors late into the evening, layer seats with old blankets that you can snuggle into when the temperature drops.
OK, so your rented home has only a sliver of outdoor space or a micro-balcony. No problem!
Capitalise on the available vertical space instead. Create layers of interest with bright cushions, potted plants on tables or fixed to railings, art on walls and hanging lanterns.
Paint the fence
You may need to get permission from your landlord for this, but if you can paint your fence, it’s a fast and lasting way to brighten up a rented garden. Anything from a pale shade like this to a hot colour or a fashionable dark grey or black can re-energise a tired space.
For the cost of a few pots of exterior wood paint, you can bring colour to a garden that will last year-round and offset the need for impressive planting.
Decorate with salvaged pieces
Dot pretty salvaged finds around your rented outdoor space to ratchet up its character and charm. Ironwork, lanterns, old tools, picture frames, ceramics – anything goes!
Hang a mirror
A large mirror will max the green and obscure an ugly boundary wall. It can also make a small garden feel a little bigger.
Alternatively, opt for some mirror art, like this. It will add sparkle and interesting reflections to a plain wall and, since it’s smaller than a single pane of mirrored glass, should reduce the risk of birds flying into it.
Make your own handles and latches
Personalise a shed, bike store or back gate with homemade handles and latches, fashioned from old tools. In this garden, the owners have recycled an old horseshoe, but spanners would also work well, and you can often grab old tools at car-boot sales for a few quid.