With winter hopefully being left behind, it is the perfect time to get out in the garden and sort it out ready for the new growth, new planting and of course for the kiddies. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to say to Jake it’s too cold or wet to enjoy being out there so I am definitely ready for this to change.
I’ve worked hard to transform our tiny garden over the last few years and it has become a labour of love, so each spring I tend to take a good look at what needs doing, what could do with going, get an idea of what new plants and flowers we could add and I begin planning.
Here are a few tips to get your garden summer ready:
Clearing the Leaves
After having what has felt like the longest winter ever my garden, lawn and gutters are littered with the dead leaves left over. Before I even begin to tackle any other jobs I always clear these away first. It is boring and backbreaking but it has to be done to allow for new growth and prevent your current plants from being damaged. My top tips are to invest in some good gardening gloves, a rake for the lawn and find your patience!
Removing Dead Plants/Flowers
First off you need to check which plants and flowers actually are dead. It can be very easy to look around and think that nothing has survived the winter but some may surprise you. If you don’t have an idea of what is already in your garden, take the time to do a little research and find out if you have perennials or just seasonal flowers or plants. You don’t want to be spending money where you don’t need to. Most perennials will just need basic dead heading carried out which will allow for new growth. As lovely as seasonal flowers can be, I have discovered the hard way how much time, money and effort goes into maintaining a garden that only has these types of plants. If you want to create a mature garden that will develop over the years I would recommend investing in hardy plants and save your seasonals for the odd pot here and there.
Power/Jet Washing the Patio
When we laid our patio a couple of years ago we made the mistake of not protecting it with a water seal and because it was so wet last year we didn’t get around to doing it then either, which means every Spring I am left with green, slippery slabs. I could really do with investing in my own power wash as we have been borrowing one from family. They do such a great job and bring the patio up looking like new.
Cleaning Flower Pots
It’s not just the patio that ends up green and filthy after the winter. The pots you leave out all year will also be looking a little worse for wear. I usually leave most of my pots out but any that are a little more delicate or ones that contain plants which need protection during the colder weather will be put away in the garage. The rest just need a little clean up with warm soapy water and the dead flowers removed. It is amazing how different a quick tidy up can change your garden.
Touch up the Paintwork
I always have a tin of paint stored away ready to do a quick touch up on the fence, gate and patio furniture. It never comes out of the winter without damage from the damp or from out cat’s claws(!) so it’s handy to have plenty of paint to reach for come the Spring. It’s a quick way to brighten up the area and make the garden look fresh.
Improving the Lawn
Even though our garden is small it doesn’t mean the grass is quick and easy to maintain. New build gardens are often made up of rubbish soil, leftover bricks and stones all of which don’t help with the growth of plants or the lawn. Another thing that is an issue with the maintenance is the fact we have a dog. This means that a lot of time is spent checking for mess, especially before Jake can go out and play and also tidying up where she kicks the grass up and runs about. It’s a year-round job which is why I have been thinking about replacing the whole lot with fake grass. I’ve been looking into the benefits and I am drawn to the fact that it is easy to clean up dog mess from, you can hose down very dirty areas, it will stop muddy footprints and pawprints from coming in the house plus it would dramatically reduce the time we spend maintaining a natural lawn.
Once you start to clear the problems left over from the wet and cold weather the results will really begin to show and then you can start to plan your summer plants and flowers.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.