How to Do a Spring Garden Clean Up With Checklist

a decking space with rattan garden furniture, a patio with pergola in the distance and blue skies

I’ve always loved Spring and watching the garden come alive. The birds seem to sing more cheerfully, the days are longer and lighter and it feels like we all start coming out of a long winter slumber like a disgruntled bear, hairy and irritable.

However, after the long winter months, a quick garden clean up is definitely on the cards! If you are anything like us, we have spent the last couple of months with our curtains closed to the world, binge-watching all the box sets available on Netflix, ignoring what was going on outside.

And this winter has been like no other, so a garden checklist has been far from my thoughts!

I’ve been quite happy to hunker down here during the colder months and leave a garden clean up until Spring.

Our garden always comes alive in the spring, but after moving house, we haven’t had much of a garden to speak of.

Our last garden was bigger – we had a huge oversized trampoline in the back corner hogging all the sunshine and decking around the side of the house with garden furniture that we never used as it was always in the shade and felt a little detached from the garden.

Our previous decking with the trampoline in the background

So, one afternoon, we ripped up the decking and moved the trampoline to the side of the house. We completely revamped the back of our garden where it got all the sun, transforming it into our own little Mediterranean paradise and all for less than £300. I wrote a blog post on our garden revamp here.

We absolutely loved this space in our garden in 2020

We moved house and with it, we inherited 2 gardens. We have 2 lawns with plenty of shrubs and a large southwest-facing balcony to the front which I cannot wait to make the most of during the summer. The sunsets are just amazing.

The front of the house with balcony, lawns, and overgrown shrubbery

In our back garden, we have a large decking space and a paved area. It needs so much work, unfortunately; the decking is extremely rotten and falling apart and the raised flower beds with sleepers have been largely forgotten and overgrown. 

Looking very lush in the summer when the house was put up for sale. It looks nothing like that now.
This is how the decking really looks! Deceptive estate agents’ photos are very deceptive!
I love these little flower beds in the decking but they’ve seen better days. It is in desperate need of a garden clean up!

Future Plans

We have finished the extension on our house, so this Spring we will be concentrating on updating our garden. Taking down the original double garage and moving our garden wall to the back of the old drive doubled the size of the garden.

We are looking to landscape it and zone it and maybe a Tiki bar will make an appearance!

I did manage to spruce up this little corner recently though. That curved wall and gate!

So for now, we will concentrate on our spring garden prep in the front garden and balcony.

Balcony sunsets

I live for the Spring and Summer, I’ve always been a sun worshipper. Give me hot and humid days and plenty of light over the depths of winter any day.

So, if you’re like me and looking at your garden wondering where on earth are you going to start, let me help a little with a garden checklist! 

Garden Clean Up Checklist

Spring is a wonderful time of year when the weather starts to warm up, and plants begin to bloom. It is also the perfect time to prepare your garden for the growing season by performing a thorough spring clean-up.

A garden checklist for spring will help you get organized and ensure that your garden is in top shape for the season.

Whether you are an experienced gardener or just starting, this garden checklist will guide you through the essential tasks to prepare your garden for success. By following this garden checklist, you can create a beautiful, healthy, and productive garden that will thrive throughout the season.

1. Rake and Move Debris

a person raking a garden

This debris can suffocate your plants, promote the growth of fungi and other pests, and make it difficult to navigate your garden.

To remove debris, start by raking up any leaves and dead branches from your lawn and garden beds. You can use a leaf blower to remove debris from hard-to-reach areas or large properties. Once you have collected the debris, dispose of it in your compost pile or waste bin. Do not burn the debris as it can be a fire hazard and release harmful pollutants into the air.

Also, make sure to clear any debris from your garden paths and other walkways. This will help to prevent slips and falls and make it easier to navigate your garden. By raking and removing debris, you can create a clean and healthy environment for your plants and make your garden more enjoyable to spend time in.

2. Prune Shrubs and Trees

front lawn surrounded by shrubs and succulents
We have a lot of bushes and shrubbery in our front garden that we have cut right back since moving in. Our garden also has a lot of succulents growing which I love

An easy way to start your spring garden prep is to prune shrubs and trees to remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Trim back any overgrown shrubs to encourage healthy growth.

In addition to leaves and branches, you should also remove any old annuals or perennials that did not survive the winter. These plants can be cut back and added to your compost pile.

Be sure to remove any weeds that have emerged in your garden beds, paths, and lawn as well. Weeds can compete with your plants for nutrients and water, so it’s essential to remove them early in the season.

It’s especially important to be cautious if you’re using chemical weed killers. Recently, there has been a surge in Roundup lawsuits related to Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia. Claimants argue that there’s a direct link between the herbicide and this rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Due to health concerns and ongoing lawsuits, consider alternative natural weed control methods or use such products cautiously.

Hydrangeas are one of the hardest garden plants I know!

I am by no means a gardener. I managed to kill a few of my Hydrangeas last year which are notoriously thirsty plants by overwatering them!

However, they are brilliant at growing back and I realized by cutting them right back, new shoots would start appearing in the Spring. I don’t think you can ever cut off too much, so give all your bushes, hedges, and shrubbery a good prune!

3. Edge Garden Beds and Tidy the Lawn

We zoned our garden in the last house. We graveled the back and put our furniture there as this is where we got the sun and created an edge around the gravel and plants.

A landscaping clean up includes edging your garden beds, pulling up weeds, and mowing your lawn. 

According to landscaping professionals, edging your garden beds is an important task in spring garden prep. Edging creates a clean and defined boundary between your garden beds and the surrounding lawn or paths. It not only makes your garden look neater and more organized, but it also has functional benefits.

Edging helps to prevent grass and weeds from growing into your garden beds, which can compete with your plants for nutrients and water. It also makes it easier to mow your lawn without damaging your garden plants.

Additionally, edging can help to retain moisture in your garden beds by preventing water from flowing out onto the surrounding lawn.

To edge your garden beds, start by using a spade or edger to create a clean and straight line along the edge of your garden beds. You can use a garden hose or string as a guide to creating a smooth and even edge.

Be sure to remove any grass or weeds that are growing into your garden beds, and create a trench that is deep enough to accommodate your edging material. 

Once you have created the trench, you can install your edging material. There are several types of edging materials available, including plastic, metal, and stone.

Choose a material that complements the style of your garden and is suitable for your budget and maintenance requirements. Be sure to install the edging material securely and level with the ground to create a neat and professional-looking edge.

a wildflower meadow with daisies
Pretty wild daisies

You’ve picked all the weeds and tidied up the edging, it’s now time to tend to your grass for your spring garden prep. Lawnmower brand Flymo has officially identified First Cut Sunday as the second Sunday in April, so now is the time to be thinking about dusting off that lawnmower and getting your lawn ready.

Once temperatures start to rise above 6 degrees, the grass begins to grow again so you might already have some growth in your garden.

Always choose an electric mower over a petrol one as they are more eco-friendly. There are also some amazing automatic lawnmowers on the market if mowing your lawn fills you with dread! 

Flymo lawnmower on the grass
Chevron 32VC is perfect for that striped lawn and your landscaping clean up! – Flymo

However, don’t go mower nuts! I’m a big fan of wild gardens, mainly because I’m lazy. But also because it encourages wildlife into your garden and the long grass can provide shelter and food for wildlife like butterflies.

I always get a little bit upset with the popular rise of astroturf in the garden. I understand people are busy and don’t have time to look after a lawn, but I still prefer an unkempt garden to a plastic one!

You could even consider scattering wildflower seeds over your lawn to encourage more wildlife. We all need to be doing our bit to look after our wonderful wildlife in this country!

4. Apply Mulch

Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded leaves or wood chips, to your garden beds as part of your spring garden prep. Mulch helps to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

5. Check your Water Butts, Watering Cans and Hosepipes

a watering can on a lawn

Checking water butts and hosepipes is an essential task in spring garden clean up. Water is a critical resource for your garden, and it’s important to ensure that your water storage and delivery systems are in good working order before the growing season begins.

Water butts are a great way to collect and store rainwater for use in your garden. They are an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to water your plants, and they also help to reduce your water bills.

However, water butts can become clogged or damaged over time, preventing them from functioning correctly. It’s essential to check your water butt for leaks, cracks, or other damage and clean it out if necessary. You should also check that your water butt is positioned correctly and that the tap is working correctly.

Hosepipes are another critical component of your watering system. They are used to deliver water to your plants and help to ensure that they receive the right amount of water at the right time.

However, hosepipes can become damaged, kinked, or clogged, preventing them from working correctly. It’s essential to check your hosepipes for damage when doing a garden clean up and ensure that they are properly connected to your water source and watering devices.

6. Plant New Flowers and Vegetables

a mixture of brightly coloured dahlias in the garden
Dahlias are such diverse and beautiful flowers. Image credit: You Garden

If you are looking for gardening tips for spring, planting more flowers and vegetables is an essential part of a spring garden clean up.

Spring is the perfect time to introduce new plants to your garden and refresh your landscape. There are several benefits to planting more flowers and vegetables in your garden.

Summer in the UK produces some of the most exotic and brightly coloured flowers so now is the time to plant them, ready for the summer. These include some of my favorite flowers like dahlias, gladioli, lilies, peonies, agapanthus, and begonias.

7. Create a Garden Plan

decking area with patio furniture and a parasol, green lawn and another patio area at the bottom of the garden
Amy’s garden has some lovely areas to sit and enjoy the sun. Image credit: @littlehouseinlondon

Start off by thinking about how you are going to use your outdoor space. Where does the sun stay the longest? Do you prefer to sit outside in the sunshine, or have your seating area in the shade?

Planning your garden layout and space is an important part of a garden checklist.  I think you have to live with it for a bit to figure out how you are going to zone it. It took us 3 years before we used our last garden to its full potential.

Figure out what part has the last of the day’s sunshine and decide whether you want your comfortable furniture to go there so you can enjoy a G&T late into the evening.

One of my favorite sheds on the gram! Image credit: @theresa_gromski

Create a garden plan for the season, including what plants you want to grow, where you will plant them, and when to fertilize and prune them. Having our own little corner of nature to enjoy and somewhere to sit that is not our house has been essential in these COVID times.

Nationwide recently reported that nearly 30% of people considering moving home were doing it because they wanted a garden or outdoor space.

Have a look at your garden and see if there’s anything you could improve. Could you turn your shed into a little summer house?  How about adding a pergola in the corner where it gets all the sun and hanging festoon lights from it? Maybe even add a Tiki bar!

You don’t even have to have a large outdoor space. You could create a little bar area on the side of your house. Image credit: Cuprinol
A pergola bar! How much fun would this be in the garden? Image credit: @heartsandhomesint
A fun addition to your garden, a tiki bar! Asda

8. Clean and Sharpen Garden Tools

tools for the garden including kneel pads, secateurs and watering cans

Clean and sharpen your garden tools, including shovels, hoes, and pruning shears, to ensure they are in good working order for the season.

If you haven’t got any garden tools, or your tools are rusty beyond repair, now is the time to get gardening tools whilst they are still relatively cheap and not high in demand. 

9. Clean Outdoor Furniture and Decor

Cleaning outdoor furniture and decor is an important task in spring garden clean up. Outdoor furniture and decor can be exposed to the elements throughout the winter months, which can cause them to become dirty, faded, or damaged.

Cleaning them can help to restore their appearance and ensure that they are in good condition for the upcoming season.

  • To clean outdoor furniture, start by removing any cushions or covers and washing them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • For metal or plastic furniture, use a mild detergent and a soft cloth or brush to remove dirt and grime.
  • For wooden furniture, use a wood cleaner or a solution of warm water and mild soap to remove dirt and stains. Be sure to rinse the furniture thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before using it again.

10. Paint Fences, and Furniture and Check Plant Pots

I always get asked a lot of questions about my blue pallet table. It is made by painting a pallet with Cuprinol Iris and then I used some tiles from Wickes and super glued them to the top!

If you have wooden furniture in your garden, it’s probably seen better days after a long winter. Garden paint has come a long way from the days when we could only buy ubiquitous brown paint and varnish in DIY stores. I wrote about glorious garden paint here.

Painting garden furniture is a great way to give it a fresh look and protect it from the elements. Here are some quick steps to follow to paint your garden furniture:

  • Clean the furniture with a brush or sponge to remove any dirt, debris, or loose paint.
  • Sand the furniture to even out any rough or uneven spots. 
  • Apply a coat of primer to the furniture using a brush or spray can. Primer helps the paint adhere better to the surface and provides an even base for the paint.
  • Apply the paint to the furniture using a brush or spray can. Be sure to use paint that is suitable for outdoor use and will resist fading, cracking, and peeling.
  • Once the final coat of paint has dried, apply a sealant to protect the furniture from the elements.
fence painted dark blue with gravel patio area and a corner sofa in the garden
Our cozy Mediterranean-inspired garden

Take a step back and look at your fence and gate. Would it benefit from a revarnish? Maybe even go with a bolder color to make your plants pop. We painted our fence Cuprinol Iris in our last house and it inspired my Mediterranean theme in the garden.

Finally, take a look at your plant pots in your garden clean up. If you’re a “gardener” like me, you’ll have plenty of pots scattered about with unloved plants in them. Remove any dead heads and trim off dead leaves. Take off the top 3 inches of soil and replace it with fresh compost or topsoil to promote growth.

If your garden pots have seen better days, you could even think about sprucing them up by painting them. Paint your garden table and chairs a wonderful sage green, or think about sprucing up your wall trellises or plant pots.

You can paint trellises and garden obelisks to turn them into a real feature! Image credit: Protek

A quick garden clean up is a great way to get your garden in shape in a short amount of time.

Following this checklist of essential tasks, including removing debris, pruning, and mulching, can help you get started with preparing your garden for spring. 

With a little effort and some strategic planning, you can quickly and easily clean up your garden and create a beautiful and productive space to enjoy all season long.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, read my full affiliate disclosure here.

how to do a garden clean up with checklist

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