Moving to your first property with a garden? Slightly daunted by the prospect and your lack of green fingers? All is not lost. A wealth of new and clever man-made materials can give you a secret helping hand. Here are some ideas to prove you don’t need to grow green fingers to enjoy a great garden.


We have seen a huge increase in the popularity of Astroturf over the past few years, It is now far better than it used to be and you will now find nearly as many varieties as you do carpet. Some are staggeringly realistic with the added benefit it looks fabulous in photos, and can’t be worn away by kids or pets. It’s ideal in front gardens where it’s a bind to drag around the mower, or in poorly draining gardens with heavy clay soils. No mowing, no hassle and looks tip-top all year round.

Composite decking

Composite decking like Millboard is a wood-free alternative to timber decking. It’s anti-slip, maintenance free, UV stable and because it is made from recycled plastic doesn’t support algae growth. It comes in a wide variety of colours and finishes and is a popular choice with architects because it looks so good and stands up well to Edinburgh’s climate. It is more expensive than wood, but will last longer, look better for longer and best of all you’ll spend your summers sitting on it, not painting it.

There are now a great number of exceptionally good recycled alternatives for other garden uses too such as paving and furniture. Have a look online, as many take little or no looking after compared to wooden products.

Bark and mulch

Mulch and bark are both great at suppressing weeds. You can add a polythene membrane which is a bit more involved, or simply tip the mulch or bark around the base of the plants.  Mulch has essential plant nutrients in it too so no only will it save you hours of weeding, it will pump colour and vitality into everything in the garden.

Container gardening

If you’re short on time why not consider going for a gravel garden decorated with pots of colour? Pots are much easier to manage than wide expanses of soil and there are many garden suppliers online who will even send you a ready selected mix of young plants ready to pop in the container.

Garden design

If you have the budget to invest in garden design, new plants or landscaping you may want to re-consider the type of garden you have. You could fill the border with bulbs and low maintenance shrubs so you have beauty without the back-breaking effort. Grasses and ‘prairie-style’ schemes are becoming increasingly popular. Whether spilling from pots or as several varieties combined; grasses are low maintenance plants and look amazing being blown around by our windy climate. 

Architectural pieces

Let your artistic flair drift into the garden by adding architectural features, mirrors or touches of trompe l’oeil to perhaps a paved or gravel garden. Each will draw the eye and provide a worthy point of focus. A number of cost-effective garden sculpture suppliers can be found online.


Bulbs are buried treasure. Year upon year they’ll bring you bursts of colour for the price of an afternoon’s digging in the garden. Plant once and let them surprise you for years to come.

Posted by
Matthew Munro

Consultant - Property Sales

0131 525 8608

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