Smarten up your garden with upcycled
DIY kitchen units from DIY Homefit
Dare we believe that spring has finally sprung? Even though Easter fell very early this year – with snow still in some parts of the country – the Easter weekend does always feel like it is time for spring.
But for those of us with gardens, spring can bring on a bit of a guilt trip! Yes we know we are supposed to carry on with garden maintenance throughout the winter, so that our gardens are in prime condition for spring. In fact, chances are that as you are reading this you can already hear the hum of distant lawn mowers or other garden equipment.
But many of us are not very organised or motivated to do that: and here we are with spring just around the corner and the garden looking a complete mess! What to do?
Here are our Ten Tips for getting your garden spring ready:
- Plan your space
All the best gardens start with a plan. You need to have some idea of what is already in your garden, what you want to keep and get rid of, and what new things you want to grow. Whether you draw this out on paper or computer, or even use an app, it is important to have a plan. Then no matter how large or small your garden is, you know what you are trying to achieve.
- Plan your plants
The ideal plants for your garden depend on the type of soil you have and the amount of sunlight you get. So a nice weekend task is to browse through gardening books or websites to choose what you are going to buy and what could be planted where. Also be careful what you plant and when: it is still too early for some seeds, which may need to be started indoors then planted out once the milder weather arrives. You can also add more plants as spring progresses by buying plants that are already in full bloom.
- Prepare the tools
But before you get round to doing any planting, it is essential to do some preparation. Make sure your gardening tools are all in their best shape by sharpening them before use. The better their condition, the better they will work for you. So spend the time and effort sharpening spades, shears and lawn mower blades and they will serve you well in return.
- Prepare your ground
It is also important to prepare the ground ready for planting. This is the part nobody likes! First of all it is good to break up the soil, rake it and aerate it. Once you have done that it is a good idea to add nutrients to the soil with some kind of compost. You can make your own compost using either a ready-made compost bin or by making your own compost bin using spare bits of wood or other household items like old DIY kitchen units. Once you have a suitable container just keep filling it with lawn clippings, leaves, food scraps, and any other green waste. Once you have your compost, add a thick layer to your cleared soil and work it well into the soil to release the full benefit of its richness.
- Clear and tidy
If the grass is dry there is no longer any excuse not to cut it! It will benefit from a good trim before its spring growth starts. If there are trees that have not yet started to bud you still have time to prune them without increasing the risk of disease or stressing the tree. Also have a general garden tidy up, cutting back dead growth and removing leaves and debris. Also look for garden pests such as slugs, snails and aphids: you will do yourself a big favour if you remove these before the full onset of spring.
Now is also the time to clean any garden outbuildings such as sheds, greenhouses, wendy houses and dog kennels. Sweep out any debris on the floor and inside surfaces and disinfect these surfaces and any glass with a hot solution of garden disinfectant. Ventilate your outbuilding well afterwards to give it a chance to dry thoroughly. Also clean garden furniture of dirt and mould thoroughly using either a scrubbing brush and hose or a pressure washer.
Only when everything is thoroughly prepared should you begin planting. For each type of plant, remember to check the best type of soil and sunlight that the plant needs, and the best time to plant. The easiest way to plant seeds is to push a cane or stake on the flowerbed and lightly push it into the surface to create a shallow furrow in which you can then plant the seeds. Add water before sowing then scatter the seed thinly throughout the furrow. Then gently cover the seeds with soil. It is a good idea to place a label in the soil so that you remember what is where. You may also want to cover the newly planted seeds, for example with plastic sheeting, to provide additional protection in the early days.
- Maintenance routine
It is a good idea to plan how you are going to maintain your growing garden. Life is increasingly busy these days and weeks fly by without us realising. So having a list (or spreadsheet or app) of what you plan to do when in your garden can be really helpful to get you into a routine and ensure that your garden is being cared for. You may want to automate some of this: there are some excellent automated watering systems now on the market. Or if you prefer to do things in a more traditional way then consider installing a water butt to collect seasonal rainfall and re-use water effectively.
- Garden fences and furniture
Don’t forget to keep garden fences and structures in good condition. Fix them as you go rather than let them gradually deteriorate then get completely destroyed when some stormy weather heads our way. It is also a good idea to treat your wooden garden structures and furniture with a wood preservative during dry periods; this will not only help them look better but preserve their life. If your garden furniture needs replacing then why not consider making your own using upcycled materials such as old DIY kitchen units?
We hope that the above tips help you to prepare your garden for spring, and get it looking beautiful for the rest of the year. But don’t forget to leave yourself time to enjoy it! We just hope that the great British weather does not let you down!