Staying at home or self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak might be challenging, especially for people who live on their own. Gardening can help us turn this situation into a positive – we can sow seeds or plant seedlings now and watch them develop and bloom over the coming weeks and months.

Sow seeds

Sowing seeds and watching the plants grow is a great way to relieve stress and remain mindful of your surroundings. You could sow anything you fancy – annual herbs to use in cooking, flowers such as cosmos and sunflowers to brighten up the garden, or vegetables to use in nutritious meals later in the season.

Plant up a container display

A pretty container display can really help to lift the spirits. Now Garden Centres are open – why not choose from perennial plants that are in flower now, which you can transplant into the garden when they’re past their best, or annuals for a quick, seasonal display.

Feed the birds

Feeding the birds is great way to entertain yourself while self-isolating at home. Hang feeders in front of a window where you sit regularly, so you can watch the antics of the birds from your sofa. Buy feeders and food online from a reputable supplier and avoid cheaper seed mixes if possible – these are less likely to attract garden birds. Sunflower hearts are a great all-round choice, attracting a wide range of species.

Clean the greenhouse

For many people, there’s never a good time to clean the greenhouse. But doing so will bring more light to tender seedlings growing inside, as well as remove harmful pests and pathogens, which could be lingering on from last year.

Install a water butt

If you’ve been meaning to install a water butt for a while then now’s the time to do it. You can buy whole kits online and simply follow instructions on installing it. Wall-mounted water butts are a great way to save space. It’s fairly straightforward to connect them to a downpipe from your house, shed or greenhouse.

Build a garden pond

A pond is one of the best garden habitats you can create for wildlife, attracting birds, amphibians, mammals and aquatic insects. Digging a pond is labour intensive but extremely rewarding – if you’re missing your gym then this is the job for you.

Build a raised bed

A raised bed makes growing vegetables easier, particularly if you have heavy soil. It can also be useful if you have a disability or mobility issues. You can buy raised bed kits or make your own using old scaffolding planks.

Make a bee hotel

A bee hotel provides nesting habitat for solitary bees such as red mason bees, which are on the wing from April to June, and leafcutter bees, which are flying from June to August. Rather than forming large nests like bumblebees and honeybee, solitary bees lay individual eggs in cells, stocked with nectar and pollen for the grubs to eat when they hatch.

Grow houseplants

If you don’t have a garden, or can’t get into the garden, you can bring a touch of the outdoors, in. Houseplants have been shown to clean the air in our homes, as well as lift our spirits.

Design a new border

Have you been putting off revamping that garden border? Now is as good a time as any. Whether you’re after a prairie look, a woodland border or a gravel garden, plan beforehand, carefully choosing which plants to grow and working out where to grow them. Buy your plants at your local Garden Centre and hey presto – a new look for your garden.