How to garden when you don't know how to garden

Look to these products to easily transform your outdoor space into a flower-filled wonder
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Eva Nemeth

Gardening is not an inherent knowledge that we all magically have. Simply because you have some green space, it does not mean you know what to do with it and we cannot all be Tom Stuart-Smith, Arne Maynard or Gertrude Jekyll, more's the pity. So what do you do if you have a garden but have no idea how to garden?

Of course, you can research, train, use a gardening app or two or, even better, hire one of the best garden designers to sort all your problems for you. However, there is another solution; enter the niche line of gardening products that simply do it all for you. Seeds that you scatter haphazardly and a wildflower meadow sprouts underfoot? Yes please. How about an entire garden border that you simply roll out? Wonderful! Below are the best products to help you garden without a single clue what you're doing.

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Garden on a Roll

The name sort of says it all and the idea is pure, simple and genius: choose the border design you like best, order it and a large box arrives at your house with a nifty roll out plan and all the plants you'll need. All you have to do is roll the plan onto your border plot, make holes in the template and then plant your plants accordingly. The plan is biodegradable, so you just pop compost over the top, sit back and watch your newly plotted plants flourish.

English cottage garden border

Pre-potted plants

A container garden (a garden where all the plants are in pots and planters, rather than the ground) is fairly simple to maintain, no matter how much of a novice you may be. However, you often have to buy bulbs, soil, compost (if you don't make your own) and pots and plant it all yourself. Ignore that and instead opt for pre-potted plants. The selection won't be as large as if you grow from seed or bulb, but it means plants arrive in your garden fully formed and ready to go. All you have to do is look after them, prune them and get them ready for the next season once winter kicks in.

RHS Plants sell some larger shrubs and trees to add heft to a garden, while Muddy Trowel has more colourful flowers on offer too. Sarah Raven has a lovely range of potted bulbs, sadly they are now sold out for the season but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on or adding yourself to a waitlist as those are extremely lovely and take all the pressure off in spring. Crocus is also a great source for potted bulbs at certain times of year.

Potted English yew tree
Potted Scabious 'Butterfly Blue'

Self-sowing seed packets

Provided you like your garden on the more naturalistic side, with plants roaming wild and free and not necessarily contained to plots and plans, then a wildflower seed packet is an excellent tool. There's a delightful element of surprise with these too as you simply shake the box over your grass, rake the seeds around to spread them out and add water to bring them to life. Soon enough, a meadow or flower-filled patch will appear in your garden – with the added benefit of bringing with it lots of wildlife, if you pick certain packets. The RHS Flowers for Bees is a bright punch of orange, purple and white flowers that the insects love, and Sarah Raven offers a choice selection in varying colours and species to suit any garden.

RHS Shake & Sow flowers for bees
Cottage garden seed mix

Ready made window boxes

Much like Garden on a Roll, Window Fleur offer a brilliant solution for the non-green fingered amongst us, or people who are simply too busy: ready made window boxes. There are no treks to garden centres involved, no dropping soil in your living room as you wrangle the planter across to the window and no fuss. It's a seasonal subscription service so when you sign up, you choose between two planted options for each season – so four choices in total – and they arrive at your door in the window boxes, ready to be secured easily to your windows. It's a brilliant idea, and the entire thing is biodegradable too.

Ready planted window box

Allotment in a box

If a kitchen garden is the dream, Roots Plants offer a brilliant solution: an allotment in a box. You do have to plant it all up yourself, but they send you between six and 18 premium varieties of vegetables to plant. They've done the hard work of growing them from seed, so varieties arrive either potted or in strips, ready for you to transplant to your vegetable patch. The products they choose to put in the box are all known for being easy to grow, meaning pretty much anyone can have a kitchen garden with a few easy steps.

Allotment in a box