Now that Spring is in full swing, it won’t be long before we see the grey weather open up to sunnier climes. So, now is the perfect time to get your garden ready for another fingers crossed glorious summer, with these simple steps:
1. Spring clean
Late spring is the perfect time to trim and shape overgrown hedges and trees, as this instantly adds a more defined edge to your garden space, whilst allowing the plants to heal over the coming warmer months. When pruning shrubs, make sure that you thin out the older wood to improve the vigour of the plant. Some items in your garden will need a good cleaning – a damp dishcloth, soaked in soapy water is perfect for wiping away cobwebs and stains on your garden decorations. Give any water features or bird baths a thorough clean, and continue to empty them every few days to eliminate breeding sites for pesky mosquitoes.
2. Tackle the garage/garden shed
Many of us are guilty of this last minute cleaning tactic: if in doubt, dump it in the garage. Ignored and forgotten, these piles of junk often multiply until you need to get into the garage again. Suddenly, you are faced with the impossible task of cleaning out 6 months of garage waste, when all you really wanted to do was grab the lawn mower. Avoid this overwhelming situation by clearing out your garage in the Spring. Using black bin bags and cardboard boxes can help you to distinguish between the things that you want to bin and those that you want to keep. Organising your garage into themed sections will also help to keep the space accessible, for example garden tools, automotive accessories etc.
3. Love your lawn
Give your lawn a good mow, making sure that all the cut grass and debris is cleared to allow the lawn to flourish. Lawn feeders are a great way to give your lawn that extra little boost – I personally find Scotts Lawn Builder has excellent results, as its combined formula tackles weeds whilst nourishing your grass. Make sure you identify a lawn feeder that suits your lawns needs, as garden centres like B&Q have a huge variety of products that tackle everything from moss issues to lack of lustre. Stubborn weeds usually establish their seedlings during the Spring months, so it’s a good idea to get a head start against these pesky plants and start weeding now.
A lick of paint goes a long way, even in your garden space. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to revamp your garden for the summer months, then give your fence and wooden furniture a make-over with some wood stain or varnish. Major garden retailers have a great selection of colours and finishes to choose from at prices from around £4.99, so it’s easy to find something that compliments your garden style. After a couple of coats of colour, your furniture will look as good as new.
5. Personalise your relaxation space
Designate an area of the garden just for you – whether it’s a patio, decking area, or just a corner of the garden – to make sure that you can enjoy your garden this summer. Consider shade and lighting: if you don’t have trees in your garden, then parasols are a stylish and practical way to create shelter, and garden tea lights, lanterns and solar powered lights can create a calm atmosphere in the warm summer evenings. Think about all of your senses when designing your space; lavender plants smell great and are known for their soothing qualities and the trickle of a water feature can provide a calming sound, as well as aesthetic value.
6. Get planting
Spring is the perfect time to bed some new plants, as it introduces them into your garden in time for them to thrive throughout the better part of the year. Choose your plants carefully, paying attention to colour schemes and complimentary scents. Consider adding hummingbird and butterfly feeders to attract these colourful species to your garden. If you have a neighbour or close friend who has a thriving shrub that you like the look of, then why not ask for a cutting? If it’s in nearby soil, then it is likely that it could also thrive in your garden – and why pay for these things when you don’t have to?! Once you’ve got the cutting, simply plant it in a border, water it and wait to see the results!
7. Involve the kids
Kids love gardening if you make it special for them, so this could be great way to get them off the sofa and involved in the outdoors this summer. If possible, give your children a little plot of their own to nurture. Sun flowers are always a big hit with kids, as it is fun to see how tall the flowers grow (sometimes taller than your kids!), and vegetables can provide lots of family entertainment as children watch the produce grow and then cook with it. Add some exciting toys and furniture to your garden to encourage your children to play there, for example colourful animal chairs or a Wendy House.
8. Get the BBQ ready
It’s one of the key items for your summer garden activities, so don’t leave it to the last minute to discover that your BBQ is covered in filth and grime! Scrubbing stones and scrapers can be a good way of removing some of the bigger, ingrained dirt and BBQ cleaning sprays are a must have tool to make this job a lot easier. Make sure that you properly air the BBQ after cleaning, and try to get into a habit of cleaning the BBQ after use to save you time later on.
9. Keep up the good work!
You’ve just spent a fair bit of time investing in your garden space – wouldn’t it be a shame to let it all go to waste? Develop some good habits to allow your garden to thrive, such as regular watering sessions and lawn mowings. The mornings are often the best time to water plants, as this gives them a good supply of water to face the heat of the day, so if possible try to water your plants before you go to work – you need your breakfast, so do they! Aim to mow the lawn every 1-2 weeks, as this will help to maintain a healthy level of grass and make the task more manageable in the long run.
Although this might seem like a lot of work, I can assure you that it is worth it to make sure that you enjoy your garden this summer. So don’t neglect your garden this spring! Trust me, you’ll be thankful when you’re relaxing in the sun, drink in hand, while your neighbour frantically tries to tame their garden during the stifling heat!