20 easy garden projects

Spring is the perfect time to crack on with garden DIY projects. Our list of ideas includes quick, easy and cheap garden projects for children and families, as well as bigger garden jobs that will attract wildlife to your plot

Bird and bird bath

The restrictions surrounding coronavirus mean that many of us are unable to access the countryside at the moment. Instead, with more time on our hands and an increased desire to get closer to nature and wildlife, we are spending much more time in our gardens.

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Lockdown offers the perfect opportunity to focus our attention on garden improvements. There are plenty of DIY garden projects to be getting on with this winter and coming spring, meaning you don’t have to wait to get going.

Here are 20 garden projects to do in lockdown, from easy garden projects perfect for children and families and budget-friendly garden crafts for beginners, to big DIY garden projects using old wooden pallets and recycled materials.

Make a wildlife pond

Overgrown pond
Ponds are an important refuge for wildlife/Credit: Getty

Garden ponds account for 20% of all shallow-pond habitats in urban and suburban spaces in England and Wales, supporting  animals such as frogs, newts and dragonflies.

If you don’t yet have a wildlife pond in your garden, then lockdown is the perfect time to begin planning and making your very own garden pond. From designing and locating your new pond, to digging, filling and planting, our guide explores everything you need to get started. 

How to make a wildlife pond in your garden in lockdown


Make a bird feeder

Bird on branch
Many garden birds benefit from homemade feeders/Credit: Getty

This lockdown garden project is the perfect way to attract more birds to your garden and to help them survive the cold winter months. The main thing you need is an old, sturdy log, which you may find on your daily exercise walk or lying around in you garden. With a few quick drills and screws, the old tree part can become the feeding platform for garden birds.

It’s the perfect project for getting you outside using your hands, with the added value of offering support for local wildlife.

How to make a simple bird feeder for your garden


Make a green roof on you shed or bin store

Plants on top of shed
How to make a green roof on your shed/Credit: Jake Graham

Building a green roof on your garden shed, bike shed or on top of your bin store is a great way to maximise the green space in your garden. This is one of our bigger lockdown DIY projects and you may not be able to get your hands on all of the materials listed in our guide, so it may be necessary to use old screws and wood (pallets are an option) – part of the fun is giving it a go and adapting.

How to make a green roof on your garden shed


Make a macramé plant hanger

Macrame plant hanger
How to make a macramé plant hanger/Credit: Getty

Macramé doesn’t just have to be for inside your home. Why not make one to hang out in your garden, on your balcony or outside your front door? This simple garden project is quick and easy and perfect for kids. It’s a great way to use up old string, garden twine or rope and offers an alternative to hanging baskets.

How to make a simple macramé plant hanger for your garden


Make a plant obelisk

Green garden
Runner beans growing in a vegetable garden on a obelisk made of wooden sticks/Credit: Getty

As the growing season gathers pace, any sweet pea seedlings or runner beans you have grown or bought will need to be transferred to their final position in your garden.

They will need support as they grow and winter/early spring is the perfect time to make the structures. This simple, rustic obelisk-shaped structure looks really effective in a mixed bed, and it’s thrifty, too. Edible peas, runner beans, morning glory or clematis can also be trained up your obelisk, and you can make several different sizes to use among your planting.

How to make an obelisk for your peas, beans and clematis


Make leaf-pressed coasters for the garden

Leave on table
Collect leaves from your garden or daily exercise/Credit: Getty

Capture the beauty of leaves in clay and display them in a pretty and practical way around your garden. Once spring arrives you can use them as coasters on your outside table. No matter what time of year, these leaf-pressed coasters are a great way to connect with nature.

How to make leaf-pressed coasters for your garden


Make a bee house

Insect shelter
Hotel for insects made of reed. a house of different kinds of insects in a garden/Credit: Getty

Bee houses are fun and easy to make. Your bee house will be ideal for solitary bees, of which there are over 220 wild species in the UK. These solitary insects do not belong to hives like honey bees, but make their own individual nests for their larvae.

How to make a bee hotel


Make compost

Compost bin
You can compost leaves, flowers and kitchen waste/Credit: Getty

Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient-rich food for your garden. Compost will help improve soil structure, maintain moisture levels, and keep your soil’s pH balance in check while helping to suppress plant disease.

Ideally site your compost bin in a reasonably sunny spot on bare soil – it makes it very easy for beneficial microbes and insects to gain access to the rotting material. It also allows for better aeration and drainage, both important to successful composting.

How to make compost


Make a bog garden for wildlife

Yellow flower
Marsh marigolds flower in bog gardens in spring/Credit: Getty

A bog garden is a great alternative to a pond. The difference between them is that one is a pool of standing water while the other is a patch of slow-draining, waterlogged soil that mimics natural bog conditions.

Winter is a great time to lay the foundations of your bog garden, ready for planting up in spring.

How to make a bog garden to attract wildlife

Make a bird bath

Bird and bird bath
Bird baths are a valuable source of water for many garden birds/Credit: Getty

Fresh water is essential for birds, and a bird bath is a simple way to provide it. This lockdown project only requires a few simple materials, most of which you may have lying around in your garden already – the perfect activity for families or beginners to garden projects.

How to make a bird bath


Make a wooden planter

Garden chair and plants
Make a wooden planter to create more growing space for your plants/Credit: Getty

If you’re short of space in your garden, or you have a space to fill, making your own wooden planter is the perfect way to create more room for plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables.

It’s best to make your wooden planter from treated timber. But if you can’t get your hands on new wood, why not try using old wood or wooden pallets that you might have lying around – just make sure you treat the wood.

How to make a wooden planter


Build a raised bed

Vegetable garden
Learn how to make raised beds/Credit: Getty

Raised beds are easy to make compared to many garden builds. They can provide a change in elevation, adding interest to the garden, and offer space for vegetables to grow in nutrient-rich soil.

How to make raised beds


Make a compost bin

Compost bin
Make a compost bin from old pallets/Credit: Getty

Do you have some old pallets lying around in the garden, ready to be taken to the tip? Instead, why not use them to make a compost bin? It’s a great way to recycle old wood. Once built, your compost bin can be filled with kitchen and garden waste, reducing your contributions to landfill.

How to make a compost bin


Build your own smoker

How to make your own smoker for meat and fish
Making your own smoker is simple and a great way to add flavour to cheese, fish or meat/Credit: Fergus Collins

Our ancestors would have smoked meat and fish to ensure a source of protein over winter. Today, smoking adds lovely flavour to meat, cheese and fish. Your homemade smoker can be used in the garden and is a great way to get kids outside.

How to make your own smoker 


How to double-dig a vegetable plot

Vegetable garden
Create a double-dig vegetable plot/Credit: Getty

So you want to grow vegetables but don’t have an existing plot? You’ll need to dig up a corner of the garden – and to make sure your new plot is as weed-free as possible, you need to double-dig. It’s hard work but worth  it.

How to make a double-dig vegetable plot


How to lay stepping stones

Garden stepping stones
How to lay stepping stones/Credit: Getty

If you’re interested in creating a feature in your garden, or wanting to protect your lawn from foot erosion, why not lay some stepping stones? If you can’t get a hold of materials, try using old stones from your garden – rustic stones create a more naturalistic look.

How to lay stepping stones


Make a nest box

Wooden bird house
How to make a wooden bird box/Credit: Getty

This simple garden project is a great way to use old bits of wood, making very affordable (if not free). Place the nest box out of reach from predators, strong sunlight and windy spots, ideally facing the box to the north-east.

How to build a nest box


Make wildflower seed bombs

Wildflowers and seeds
Make wildflower seeds bombs for spring, summer and autumn/Credit: Getty

Making your own seed bombs is a fun and easy way to attract pollinators to otherwise-neglected wasteland. You may have dried some seeds over winter, or perhaps you have lots of half-used seed packets lying around. Either way, mix all the seeds together in a bag and give it a good shake before following our guide to making seed bombs. The seed bombs can be thrown in the ground in spring, summer and autumn.

How to make wildflower seed bombs


Make a cold frame

Vegetable growing
Cold frames are a good place to start off your tomato seedlings/Credit: Getty

Cold frames are easy to make and you can often use recycled materials to put them together. They are a great addition to any garden, and can be used for sowing seeds, hardening off and taking cuttings. They are also a good place for you to put early and late crops, such as salads.

How to make a cold frame


Make a dead wood habitat

Log pile
Log piles create cosy homes of all sorts of wildlife/Credit: Getty

Dead wood habitats are really important for wildlife in our gardens. BBC Gardeners’ World take a look at three different types of dead wood habitats that you can create for free, including log piles, wood stacks and wooden fences.

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How to create a dead wood habitat