Weekend Work: Thinking is often better than doing at this time of the year

What to do

Thinking is often better than doing at this time of the year. By March, the To Do list will be so long, there'll be no time for considering changes in the garden, looking hard at the basic design, taking decisions about fences, decks, pools or other features that may not be earning their keep as well as they should.

In small town gardens, ricketty boundaries, often of wooden larchlap or trellis, may be the single greatest problem in terms of the way the garden looks. If you do not have a secure background against which to pin climbers and wall shrubs, you can't prune them effectively, or tie them in properly. The shrubs mound up, they sag, they lean out from the boundary into the garden space, smothering whatever might be underneath them.

Spending money on securing boundaries, with strong fenceposts in between sound panels, will improve the look of a garden more radically than extra plants. When the boundary is secure, stretch wires across at intervals of 30cm, so that you have plenty of places to tie in new growth. When climbers are properly and tightly tied in, the dimensions of a garden alter radically. Most town gardens are too long in proportion to their width. If you keep climbers on the long side boundaries well trained, you gain perhaps as much as a metre and a half where you most need it.

What to see

The Garden at Normanby Hall, Normanby, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire DN15 9HU is just one of the attractions at the enormous Normanby Hall Country Park. An ambitious restoration has been under way here for the past ten years, and the Christmas Garden highlights good winter plants such as holly and ivy, Christmas box, evergreen ferns and winter hellebores. The park is open daily (10.30-4.30); £4.60. Call 01724 720588 or visit northlinc.gov.uk/normanby

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'