While you're enjoying playing games in the garden, give a thought to decorating your outside space. There are lots of fun and interesting things you can do without spending tons of cash.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Kathy Bosin adds, "Less can be more. If your garden has seasonal interest, with colors and structure during each season, you might let nature herself be the decorator."
Wind-Chimes - There are some beautiful wind chimes on the market, and you should be able to find some that suit your style and budget. However, you could go one step further and make your own. Study how they are made, and get the kids to join in! Wind chimes are soothing and very compatible with gardening, so position your chimes well.
They must be in at least a slight draft, which you should be able to find outside with ease. Also, they can scare the birds away from your fruit bushes. Hang them on the patio and in the vegetable garden.
Lights and Lanterns - For those smooth hot summer nights. Choose candles for calm nights and opt for lanterns if there's a breeze about. Solar powered lights are a good choice, as there aren't any cables, batteries or plugs to worry about. They must be in sunlight during the day to re-charge though. Large garden candles will burn for many hours and are available in all sorts of aroma-therapeutic scents.
Garden Furniture - Invest in some comfy chairs for the garden. We don't spend half as much time as we should outside, simply because we don't feel comfortable. Look at unique ways of furnishing your garden. Do you have a couple of trees a hammock could be strung between? Or how about a park-type bench with comfy cushions set under the shade of the apple tree? Whatever the style or size of your garden, look for relaxing furniture so you can fully enjoy your outside space.
Color it up - If you still need a bit of color around the place, get the kids involved. No, I don't mean let them loose with a tin of paint and brushes - what they could do is draw some great pictures of trees, flowers, animals etc, and you can pin them around the patio area or tack them to a tree or two. Remember to rescue them if it rains!
Cut down on Big Toys - Children's outdoor toys, such as swings, slides etc., can take up loads of room in the garden, and they're not always very attractive. Look for something a little less permanent. Maybe separate items you can load away in the shed at night, or go for something completely different and build a giant chess set. Or if you really feel creative, what about a tree-house?
Containers - Collect large pots and grow plants you can move around the garden. Grow herbs and flowers and position sweet smelling plants on the patio or round your seating area. Strawberries grow very well in containers as do other useful plants. Make sure the pots aren't too heavy for you to move, or invest in a garden trolley if they are. If you grow color coordinated flowers, a wonderful display can be created by positioning your pots well.
Wild Corner - I know this may be hard if you like a neat and tidy garden, but leaving a wild patch can be very entertaining and visually very pleasing. Nettles and other wildflowers attract butterflies and bees, and it's often surprising how delicate and colorful wildflowers can be when allowed to grow in their own space. If you're still unsure, how about building a little fence around the area and making a wooden plaque declaring it a wildlife zone.
Water Features - These are becoming more and more popular and also more affordable. Create a water feature that will suit your garden. Try not to be persuaded by an over-enthusiastic sales assistant trying to sell you a system that will be far too big or even too small for your outside space. Do some research before you start. There could be a fair amount of physical work involved and you should arrange some strong arm help. You could go for a full waterfall and pond or perhaps a simple water feature on your patio.
Rock Gardens - Rock gardens can take on different themes and color schemes throughout the year, with a little careful planning. There is again some heavy physical work involved when you're putting together your rock garden, but well worth it in the end. Make sure you can get to all areas for weeding, watering, etc. Try out different rock plants and flowers until you feel happy with the overall view, and even then you can change it. Nothing's set in stone!
These are just a few ideas. Let your imagination free and decorate your outside space with love. Read through the Garden Decor and Garden Ideas pages on the website for more ideas and resources.