We've all become used to the escaping to our gardens during the recent sunny spell we've enjoyed.
However, while many of us have seized the chance to become sun worshippers, our gardens were not quite so fond...
If you're looking for ways to keep your garden looking its best for the rest of summer and beyond, Jason O'Donnell, Macmillan Cancer Support Legacy Garden Designer, is sharing his top tips...
1. Drought proof your garden
Recycled household water (this could come from your sink or baths) can play a role in helping your garden, particularly if hosepipe bans make an appearance. When the restrictions aren't in place, you should make a point of either watering your garden first thing in the morning, or last thing at night. When there's a period of intense sun, significant amounts of water will evaporate before entering the soil. Another tip - avoid planting at this time of year; the ground is hard and dry, so establishing the roots can be quite a struggle.
2. Green and tonic
There's little better than sitting in or looking out onto a green space - however, after a long summer, the majority of gardens can end up looking a little worse for wears, due to the recent hot spells. However, there will still be plenty of ways to get your garden looking colourful by using natural elements. For instance, if you want to create a shady spot, instead of investing in a parasol, why not think about a tree that can provide shade in your dining area? Popular options include Ornamental Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer'), Lime (Tilia americana), Ginkgo Biloba (Maidenhari) and Mulberry (Morus alba) - they will all provide a stylish addition to your garden, while keeping you cool.
3. Autumnal auras
A great way to introduce some seasonal colour and movement will be ornamental grasses - they don't require much water to thrive. Stipa, Pennisetum and Moilinia varieties will all put on a stunning show from September - just avoid cutting back until spring so you can marvel at their seed heads throughout winter.
4. Winter greens
Make sure your garden has a good mix of evergreens - as the summer draws to a close, you can rely on them to provide structure and interest. Ilex plants are a good idea if you're concerned about box blight and moth.
5. Go wild
Wildlife relies on gardens - did you know UK gardens now provide more protected landscape than the Norfolk Broads, Exmoor, Dartmoor and the Lake District combined? Lavender and Sedum are both drought tolerant, providing summer nectar-rich flowers. And the good news is you can relax and enjoy not needing to cut your Ivy - honey bees will rely upon this for much of the pollen and nectar they will collect during the autumn months.
6. A light touch
You can make the most of the natural and artificial light as the night draws in - simply postition the plants to project long shadows on surface walls or floors and invest in some quality external lighting.
7. Future planning
Whether you like it or loath it, you'd better get ready for more extreme and unpredictable weather patterns - eg high temperatures and intense rainfall. Choose your plants wisely and look out for drought tolerant varieties, while exploring the ways you can capture rainfall for the future.
From August 16th - August 19th Jason O’Donnell will be at the Southport Flower Show exhibiting a bespoke garden on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support. The garden itself is inspired by the importance of legacy donations to Macmillan, which receives almost a third of all funding through gifts left in wills.