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. And this year is absolutely no exception after starting 2021 in lockdown!
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!
Our garden was an absolute blessing last year in lockdown. 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.
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 about a blog post on our garden revamp here.
We moved house a few weeks ago (I wrote about our house move here) and with it we inherited 2 gardens. We have 2 lawns with plenty of shrubbery and a large south west facing balcony to the front which I cannot wait to make the most of during the summer. The sunsets are just amazing.
In our back garden we have a large decking space and 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.
We probably won’t be able to do much about our back yard this year as we are about to start large renovations at the back of the house, taking down our double garage and extending our boundary to the back of the drive. This will mean we will double the size of the garden and eventually we will landscape it and zone it. Maybe even a Tiki bar will make an appearance!
So for now, we will concentrate on getting the front garden and balcony ready for Spring.
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!
Zoning your garden
Start off by thinking 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?
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 days sunshine and decide whether you want your comfortable furniture to go there so you can enjoy a G&T late into the evening.
Using your garden to its full potential
I think after the last year, we have all realised how important our outdoor spaces are. 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.
Seeing as it looks like we’ll be entertaining friends and family in our gardens for the foreseeable, 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 of where it gets all the sun and hang festoon lights from it? Maybe even add a Tiki bar!
A pergola bar! How much fun would this be in the garden? Image credit: @heartsandhomesint
Time to cut back!
By early March a lot of your shrubbery and plants are probably looking a little sorry for themselves, so put on your best gardening gloves, grab your secateurs and get cutting!
I am by no means a gardener. I managed to kill a few of my Hydrangeas last year which are notoriously thirsty plants by over watering them! However, they are brilliant at growing back and I realised 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!
Banish pesky weeds
Now that it’s getting warmer, it’s more enjoyable to spend time in the garden so get out there and start weeding. Concentrate on the flower beds, lawn, lawn edges and flower pots. It’s easier to control weeds if you remove them whilst they are still young so now is the best time to start doing it.
Don’t go over the top with your weeding though. Do enough to tidy up your garden, but be mindful that wildlife and bugs rely on vegetation and plants to thrive.
Get that lawn ready!
You’ve picked all the weeds from the lawn, it’s now time to tend to your grass. Lawnmower brand Flymo have 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.
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 astro turf 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 in. We all need to be doing our bit to look after our wonderful wildlife in this country!
If you’re a “gardener” like me, you’ll have plenty of pots scattered about with plants in them that have seen better days. Remove any dead heads and trim off dead leaves. Take off the top 3 inches of soil and replace it with fresh compost or top soil to promote growth.
If your garden pots have seen better days, you could even think about sprucing them up by painting them.
Check your plants for moisture levels
Hopefully, April is the month when we start to see dryer and warmer weather so it’s a good idea to check the moisture levels of your patio plants and flowers that are in pots. Plants in containers will always need more care as plants in the ground can take moisture from the soil around it.
Think about painting your garden furniture
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.
Paint your garden table and chairs a wonderful sage green, or think about sprucing up your wall trellises or plant pots.
And whilst you’ve got that paint brush out, look at that fence!
Take a step back and look at your fence and gate. Would it benefit from a revarnish? Maybe even go a bolder colour to make your plants pop.
We painted our fence Cuprinol Iris in our last house and it inspired my Mediterranean theme in the garden.
Start planting your flowers ready for summer.
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 favourite flowers like dahlias, gladioli, lilies, peonies, agapanthus and begonias.
After the unexpected heat wave we’ve had this week, I’ve realised how much I’ve missed being able to get back out into the garden and can’t wait to dust down my plant pots and furniture and get it ready for family and friends to come and visit.