The warmer weather is upon us, and spring has most definitely sprung. It is time to think about preparing our garden for the long days and warmer evenings, extending our homes into the outside space. You have likely neglected the garden over the colder months, and there is a need for some much-needed TLC. While not all of us are experienced gardeners with a love of nature, there are some practical and relatively easy steps we can all take to prepare for summer.
Clean your equipment
Having the right tool for the job in the best working condition can make gardening much easier. It is not about buying out the local gardening centre with the highest spec mower and strimmer but ensuring your basic equipment is up to scratch.
You can start your journey to the perfect summer garden by washing your metal equipment. Clearing the debris off the spades and rakes with water and a stiff brush means they will be easier to use and less likely to rust and become clogged. Dirty tools also spread diseases around the plants and will give you headaches as your garden starts to grow.
Bring your borders back to life
Your borders will need some tidying up this spring. You will need to remove the dead foliage, including leaves and dead plants, which have not survived the winter period. Once you have cleared this detritus, you should use your rake or spade to work the soil, so it doesn’t harden and make growing anything almost impossible.
You will also need to do some serious weeding. We are advised not to work our borders and planted areas until the temperature is consistently above freezing; we leave enough time for weeds to grow. Leaving the garden for a while before working allows insects and other overwintering creatures to survive, but it means we have a job on our hands.
Once clear, treat the area with weed and bug killers using environmentally friendly options from your local garden centre. Alternatively, if you want to deter slugs, you can scatter crushed coffee beans around your plants. Slugs are not a fan of coffee, which is probably why they are sluggish.
Trim back your hedges
Hedging and other evergreen bushes are great ways to add structure and privacy to your garden while being relatively simple to maintain. It is important to give these a tidy up in the spring, trimming them back and giving them a neat finish. You should remove loose twigs and other material and snip them here and there.
Trimming your hedges is one of the simplest jobs in the garden, but it will have the most impact on the garden’s overall look.
Unless we are seasoned gardeners, we will find ourselves replanting annuals every spring. While we would all love to maintain plants that flower year on year, it can be challenging to remember the constant nurture needed. Therefore, spring is a time to grow your seeds in seedling trays and then transplant your growth into the garden. Make sure you water this new planting often, even if it rains. It needs a lot of help with water, as it takes a while for its roots to reach into the earth and the water table below.
Considering plants in spring means you can grow from seeds. The later you leave it, the more likely you will need to buy plants from the garden centre to add that splash of colour.
Clean the patio and decking
If you have a simple garden with a lawn and patio or decking area, there are not many places you can direct the eye of the visitor. Therefore, you need to make sure your decking and patio are cleaned and can take the scrutiny. Jet washing is the most effective way to clear away dirt and debris.
Then, it is important to treat the area, especially wooden decking. Using varnish to protect the wood will make it easier to maintain in the future. You should also consider a patio sealant around your paving slabs to increase water resistance and prevent weeds’ growth.
Clean the garden furniture
When the heat is really starting to crank up and being out in the garden is a perfect afternoon activity, you need clean furniture to lean back on. You have likely had a cover over the furniture over the winter, but dirt will still have crept in. Make sure to hose it all down and wipe it over with a cloth. Like the patio or decking, when the rest of the garden is simple, your furniture will be a focal point, so it needs a good clean.
A garden with wildlife is a delight to sit within. There is nothing better than your morning coffee on the patio with the birds visiting for food from your table. Wildlife in your garden can help with a sense of connection and calm your mind.
As well as birds, you could attract hedgehogs with a hedgehog tunnel and amphibians with a pond. Helping the local wildlife prosper will also help your garden, a mini-ecosystem that enjoys the balance of wildlife to keep everything working.
Keeping your garden watered is essential to long-lasting, healthy plant life. Tap water tends to be quite alkaline, which can damage some plant varieties. Also, when there is a water shortage, pulling from the main water resources can damage the wider environment, as streams and rivers become too low.
Consequently, purchasing a water butt and collecting rainwater from your downpipe from the roof and from the roof of your shed can make a significant difference. An eco-friendly approach to gardening is not only, but it is also much better for the plants.
After the big clear out of spring, you can be tempted to sit back and admire your work. However, now is the time to maintain the garden, making sure your plants are watered, and your lawn is neat. Everything grows at pace during the summer months, and you will want to keep on top of it. A weekly check-in will be enough to help you continue to enjoy this extension of your home through to October when the clocks go back, and we all venture back indoors.
Preparing for the summer months in our garden is about clearing the winter months’ debris. You do not need an elaborate landscaping and planting scheme; instead, you need to make simple choices that are easily maintained. Remember how much pleasure you will get from a welcoming and tidy garden, a place where you can invite the neighbours and talk into the evening.