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After the cold and wet winter months have passed, you will be looking forward to spending more time in your garden. But there is much to do if you are to maximise both the potential of your outside space and your enjoyment of the summer sunshine.

Autumn leaves and the winter weather will have taken their toll. When spring has sprung, your outside spaces will begin bursting into life and could quickly run out of control. Weather conditions are becoming ever more extreme. We are experiencing wetter winters and hotter summers, a combination that ensures garden management is more difficult.

Getting ahead of the game will limit the amount of work you need to do at times when you would rather be enjoying your garden and will give you beautiful outside spaces.

Here’s how to prepare your garden for summer:

Fake Grass Garden
  • Clean your tools and equipment

Any work you have completed over the winter will have left your tools and equipment covered in mud and debris. Dirty tools will deteriorate quicker, costing you money. Worse still, your dirty tools could spread disease around your property.

Blast away mud with water and then remove any debris that remains using a brush. Clean tools are less likely to rust, they are easier to use and will perform more efficiently.

  • Tidy your beds and borders

It is inevitable that your beds and borders will have accumulated a variety of dead leaves and other debris. Remove any leaves and rubbish from your beds and then neaten your borders by trimming the edges. Remove any weeds that have started to appear and then turn the soil to cultivate it, this will help to ensure that your plants will thrive.

  • Prune your shrubs and roses

To promote growth and enhance the look of your plants, remove any dead branches and leaves from shrubs. Dead head your perennial plants and then prune shrubs and roses. If you are an inexperienced gardener, it is worth researching the plants that feature in your garden to discover how each should be pruned and generally cared for. While some species will benefit from minimal pruning, others should be cut back significantly.

  • Attend to your pots and planters

Remove dead bedding plants from planters, empty the planters and clean them. Check ceramic pots for damage and seal any cracks. Paint or treat wooden planters and line them. Place pebbles or broken crockery over drainage holes and fill pots with compost in readiness for new plants.

  • Clean and tidy your patio

Your patio will be the place where you will spend much of your time relaxing outdoors and entertaining. It is important that this space looks at its best for the season. There’s nothing worse than a tired or grubby patio. Clear leaves and any rubbish that has accumulated. Give your slabs a brush using soapy water or jet wash your patio utilising a low setting. Higher jet wash settings could see you destroying the mortar between your slabs.

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  • Clean and treat your garden furniture

If your furniture has been stored or covered throughout the winter, remove it from storage or relieve it of its covers. Dust and clean every piece and treat wooden furniture to preserve it. Wash or wipe cushion covers and clean any patio equipment including heaters, lights and your barbecue. You will have a pristine patio to enjoy during warm weather and one that your friends and family will relish.

  • Clean and restock bird feeders

Dirty bird feeders and those that have become mouldy pose a threat to the health of wildlife. It is crucial to clean them regularly and a good clean should feature in your summer preparations. Your freshly cleaned feeders can then be restocked to encourage birds to visit your garden where you can watch them from your beautiful patio.

  • Attend to your lawn

Your lawn could be the centrepiece of your garden. When spring arrives, the grass will begin to grow again and you will need to mow it. But don’t be tempted to cut your lawn too short early in the year. Choose a high setting on your mower as this will help your lawn to develop a deeper root system. Aerate your lawn using a garden fork to create holes in the soil. These will allow nutrients, air and water to pass into the soil to give you a lusher lawn. Remove any moss or weeds and then apply feed.

  • Plan to conserve water

Our warmer climate is problematic in several ways, not least when it comes to water. We can expect many future years to deliver feast or famine situations – consistent rain in winter and lengthy dry spells in summer. You will need to water your garden in summer and so it makes sense to collect water when there’s an abundant supply as you could find yourself subjected to hose pipe bans. Think about investing in water buts to collect rainwater including run-off from your roof. It’s never too early in the year to start collecting water. You can also use household water such as bath water on your garden. Every little helps!

  •   Plan your planting

There are several areas of your garden that you need to consider. If you benefit from a heated greenhouse, you should formulate your plans for this first as it will enable you to begin planting early in the year. Think about which bedding plants you wish to grow for use in your beds and planters. Obtain the seeds and seed trays you need and start propagating plants according to the provided instructions. Plan your planting calendar for fruit and veg in your greenhouse and then turn your attention to your beds and borders.

Decide which flowers and shrubs you wish to plant in your beds and borders and evolve a planting scheme. Research each species to discover the best time to plant it. Create a planting calendar so you don’t forget to purchase and plant everything at the optimal time. Draw a plan of your beds and borders illustrating where each plant should be positioned.

Finally, think about your pots and baskets. Which plants do you wish to feature and how many of each do you need? Write a list of what you intend to purchase as this will prevent you from investing in too many plants or finding that you don’t have enough to fill your planters.

It is worth thinking about your budget and whether you need to adapt your planting ideas to adhere to that budget. Growing at least some of your bedding plants from seed in your greenhouse will significantly reduce your costs.

  •   Mulch your beds and borders

Mulch is a layer of material that is applied over soil. It usually consists of straw, chopped leaves, grass clippings and/or bark. Bags of bark chippings are freely available. Mulch creates a pleasing aesthetic while helping soil to retain moisture and also retarding weed growth. An investment in mulch can save you time throughout the summer and will reduce your water usage.

There is no doubt that a little time spent planning and preparing your garden for the summer will save you time later in the year while ensuring that your garden looks amazing. If you prepare well and formulate a plan, you will then boast outside spaces with the wow factor.

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