Building a better garden for your cottage rental
Some people do not have the green thumb, nor do they have the budget. Some people do not believe in landscaping at all or changing one twig on the property – they love the natural look. However, if you’re looking to add a little bit of appeal to your property without breaking the bank, and making your cottage rental stand out in photographs, building a better garden could bring that appeal you are looking for and improve your cottage rental’s exposure.
Everything I learned in yard work, I learned from my dad. He was an amazing man. He showed me how to cut grass, prune bushes and trees, and plant everything from plants, to herbs, to vegetables to herbs and perennials. He knew at some point that I would have to walk on my own with my garden, and when the property up north was purchased, his first visit was all about the stern lecture.
“You have a large property now….much bigger than your home and yard in the city. It’s more complex with a different set of challenges. If you remember nothing, remember this:
Always work with what you have. Do not try to change what you think should grow here, with what is already in bloom. Respect nature. Be a friend to nature – not its enemy.”
In my father’s words was the best advice I could have and pay forward to others. It has served me well in the 20 years of cottaging my husband and I have experienced. And this advice I have translated into a simple list of do’s and don’ts:
- Research the region/area and learn about what trees and bushes do well and the type of seasons (especially winters) that exist. When you have a handle on the terrain, type of soil you have to work with, and understand your property’s landscape – then you can go shopping for what you need, not what you want.
- Take a photo of the area that you are thinking of working on. Print it off and show it to your spouse and some friends – get some input from others to give yourself some ideas. Map it out on the image so you can have a plan on what you are doing.
- Create a budget. It’s a good way to keep your costs in line and stay within your means.
- Get the basic tools that you know how to use: a shovel for digging, 2 hand shovels, 2-3 clippers in different sizes, good pair of gloves, a bucket and a watering can, wheel barrel (if you have the budget – an old box works too), small hand saw, knee pad cushion or a squatting chair (both of which can be bought at the Dollar Store for a couple of bucks). If you have a garden hose – great, if not but are lakeside – a bucket and a watering can work well too. A lot of the basics can be purchased fairly inexpensively. The shovel itself will probably be about $30. And the wheel barrel is optional.
- Make a list of what you want to do. In that list you will also have items you can poach from your own property (wild flowers, wild perennials, herbs that are pre-existing, young shrub or tree…). Poaching is not hard. You need to learn exactly how far from the leaf and branch line you need to dig out and into the earth from the roots. This is something you can research from the start to learn a bit about your property’s vegetation. Poaching is also a great way to keep to the plants and trees that are indigenous.
- Buy new locally. Chances are the local garden centre will know more than you do and can keep you in the needed custom of the region your cottage rental exits in – don’t try to wildly creative. Always read the plants profile card prior to purchasing. Don’t forget to ask about plant food.
- Not sure? Ask an expert. Don’t be afraid to sound like you are clueless in the garden. The best part of doing it yourself is learning, and you need to give yourself time. As we get older, learning is harder and we need to spend a bit more time reading to remember things. Experts know more and if they don’t have the answer they have resources.
- Annuals or perennials? There is a difference. Figure out which ones work and which ones don’t – learn the difference between full sun and shade-loving plants. How does it apply to your property?
- Check the weather forecast. There’s nothing worse than planning and it rains. Of course no weather is perfect and no prediction is either in the forecast. However, if you stay connected, chances are you will be successful. Rain is a good thing, it makes the digging easier and feeds the vegetation eventually.
- Take more pictures during the project. It is always good to see things from afar during so you can get a second opinion from your new buddy at the garden centre. Don’t be afraid to change it up if you need to – the key here is making it look better and helping the new planting survive.
Building a better garden for your cottage rental is like redecorating your home. It’s all about improvements without breaking the piggy bank. Every cottage rental property can do with a bit of green love from a newbie green thumb.
Image Source: tomandhenry via Instagram