Spring is a strange time of the year – one moment it’s sunshine while the next it’s rainclouds for days. But if you’re already looking forward to summer sun in the back yard, it’s best to get planning now – but where to start?
Gardeners and landscapers give us their top tips for prepare your garden for summer.
Make a Plan
It can be easy to get carried away with big dreams, but the best way to see your gorgeous garden through is to plan out the basics before you go to the gardening center to stock up on supplies and put seeds to soil.
For example, if you already know where you’ll put the barbecue, it’ll be a great idea to plant the herbs nearby. Additionally, check your tools are all in good shape so you know what you already have, or what needs to be fixed or replaced before you start gardening.
Tending to Your Lawn
Getting a gorgeous lawn ready for summer takes a bit of forethought. Now’s the best time to collect any sticks, dead leaves or debris leftover from winter so that grass has a clear chance to grow well. It’s the time of year that roots are beginning to strengthen and grow, which is great for your grass but if you’re not careful can be a great time for weeds too.
“You should take advantage of early spring to use a combination of fertilizer (to feed your grass) and pre-emergent herbicides (to prevent crabgrass),” encourages Damon Millotte, General Manager at Tailor Made Lawns.
“One of the most important things you can do for your landscape is to mow early, and mow it right. If you let your grass grow too high in spring and wait too long to cut it, it can make your roots shallow so they can’t reproduce properly. This year has been a longer, colder winter for most people, but don’t let your grass get out of control now that it’s warming up!”
Get Ahead on Weeds and Other Unwanted Plants
It’s not only the lawn that needs weed attention, but your vegetable patch too. Pull weeds and any items that you don’t want hanging around, like ivy. Get the weeds now while they’re still small and with shallow roots; they haven’t had time to establish a root system so it should be easier. Do try to remove as much of the root system that you can find to reduce new shoots popping back up.
Nourish the Soil
Whether you want to use your backyard for a vegetable patch, you have a thriving allotment, or you simply want your ornamental landscaped garden to look happy and healthy, good soil is the key to success.
Gardening enthusiast and blogger Dianne Venetta recommends “first, till your soil to increase aeration allowing roots to more easily absorb nutrients. Amending it with organic compost will add a healthy heaping of those nutrients, and your plants will thank you!”
Get composting now. (External Link)
Prune for Blooms
Pruning is an essential gardening skill, encouraging healthy growth for your shrubs and trees. Fruit trees such as apples, pears, as well as peach trees and cherry trees, love to be thinned every year to encourage healthy growth – and greater produce! Kate Karam, a landscape architect and editorial director from Monrovia states that “the best time to prune is before new growth develops.”
If you’re in a colder region, it’s best to wait a bit so not to be tricked by late frost, but otherwise “prune roses just as or before new growth emerges from the canes to encourage strong, healthy shoots for lots of blooms.” Karam also recommends applying dormant oil to trees to ward off insects.
Shop for dormant oil now. (External Link)
While April is a tricky month to know whether to sow or not, by May it’s definitely time to get going with growing. If you are concerned about cold snaps in your region, sow in temporary seedbeds and transplant into your nourished, composted and fertilized soil in a week or so when the weather warms up. Seedlings or container-grown plants can start to move outside.
Pick up a copy of this year’s Farmer’s Almanac to be sure of which week is the best to plant which crop. (External Link)
Start Prepping Your Outdoor Furniture
“Now’s the time to pull your patio furniture out of storage and get it ready for summer barbecues and deck parties. Hand wash furniture that needs a cleaning with your hose and soapy water. Repair or replace any damaged cushions,” suggests garden design expert Rhianna Miller from Rubber Mulch. For wooden items, give them a good sanding and a varnish – especially if you have a sunny day to let them dry outside or a good spot in the garage.
Shop around for the perfect summer outdoor furniture. (External Link)
How are you preparing your garden for summer? Did we miss anything out? Drop us a comment and let us know!
If you’re still looking for tips and tricks, check out our guide to spring cleaning. Ever wondered where the tradition of spring cleaning comes from? Read our history of spring cleaning to find out more about this tradition!