Ready, Steady, Garden!!!!
Forget Christmas or Halloween, Valentine’s or Easter, the most hotly contested day of the year has to be when it is finally warm enough to sit outside in your garden!
So, how do you start preparing a garden for spring?
The plants are starting to wake from their winter slumber, our wooden furniture is looking a bit tired and worn down and our lawns have seen better days. Do you need some spring garden tips?
When should I start preparing a garden for spring?
Spring is just around the corner! I’m often found staring out towards our garden and writing lists of what needs to be done before the warmer months, but when should we start our garden maintenance jobs for spring?
The timing for preparing a garden for spring really depends on factors such as where you live, the climate, and the types of plants you want to grow. It also depends on the size of the garden, how well you packed away your garden furniture and if you kept your garden tidy throughout winter!
As a general rule of thumb, you should start garden prep for spring around 4-6 weeks before the last expected frost, you can find this information at plantmaps.com
We don’t have much of a back garden at the moment. After all our renovations, the garden is still a building site with only our Trex composite decking laid.
I have a completely blank canvas to work with and I’m really excited to get started with it this Spring!
Starting your garden prep early will give you enough time to clean up your garden, plan your layout and start seeding and preparing your bulbs to plant in spring.
Even though I am about as green-fingered as a Polar Bear wearing boxing gloves, my gardening and garden idea blogs always attract a lot of traffic so I thought I would help you on your way to getting your garden ready for the Spring/Summer
From garden accessories to garden sheds, here are my 10 tips for preparing a garden for spring –
1. Garden design
I think we have all used our garden a lot more in the past 2 years and we now understand how we can use it to its best ability.
Gardens really are an extension of our homes and if you plan it right, there can be no better place to sit with a glass of wine after a long day.
I really believe you have to live with your garden for a few years to work out how the layout will best work for you. You can then figure out where the sun appears in your garden to either provide shade in the form of a pergola or put your sun loungers there.
By zoning your garden to work out where best to put your seating area, shed, lawn and perhaps a hot tub, you can really make the most out of your garden.
If you’re going to plant flowers and vegetable gardens, decide what you want to plant and where. Consider factors like sun exposure, soil conditions, and spacing requirements. Then you can find the best place for your bulbs to plant in spring.
A big garden trend in recent years has been the outdoor kitchen and something we will definitely look at doing in our new garden.
If you are a fan of BBQs and have friends and families over for a get-together in your garden, outdoor kitchens are the perfect setup! With a bit of planning, you can include a BBQ, shelving to hold all the food and plates and even a kitchen sink!
2. Bulbs to plant in Spring
If you want your flowers to bloom in the spring, they generally need to be planted around October and November. So, if you’re reading this blog post in the early months of Spring, it may already be too late to plant flowers like daffodils, tulips, hyacinths or alliums.
However, it’s not too late to start preparing a garden for spring and planning your garden for the warmer months and there are numerous bulbs to plant in spring.
The best bulbs to plant in spring are flowers like Dahlias, Marigolds, Gladiolis, Pansies and Petunias. These can all be planted in March and April and will provide an abundance of beautiful colours for the summer months.
If you’re looking at growing a vegetable garden, the late spring months of April and May are a good time to get a summer harvest. You can start looking at sowing seeds for beetroot, lettuce, leeks, spring onions, peas and spinach!
Once you’ve planted your seeds, make sure to water your plants regularly, especially during dry spells. Deep watering encourages deeper root growth and healthier plants.
3. Garden accessory must-haves
If this summer is going to be anything like the last 2 years, garden accessories such as festoon lights, sofas and dining sets are going to be in HUGE demand.
Now is the time to start planning how best to use your garden and buy what you need.
If you start preparing a garden for spring now, you can get ahead of the usual late Spring rush for garden items, when many things go out of stock.
Here are some of my favourite garden accessories to really turn your outdoor space into the perfect place to relax –
4. Tidy up your lawn
If you’re anything like us, our lawn (we also have a front garden with a nice little lawn, although it’s been used as a dumping ground for the last 6 months!) has not seen any action since August 2021.
It now resembles a hot mess of grass, weeds and some random Snowdrops that have made their way over on the back of a bee I can only presume!
Our first job is to tidy it by giving it a good cut and tidying around the edges. But not too much! I still like a lawn to look a little unkept as it helps attract wildlife and can help provide shelter.
5. Add a wildflower meadow
If you want to go one step further with your lawn, how about adding a wildflower meadow? You could section off part of your lawn to create a little meadow that can be planted in March/April or let your border become wild!
Make sure you prepare the earth first by removing all traces of weeds, ensuring the ground isn’t too waterlogged, and digging up the top layer of soil and raking. Head over to The RHS for more spring garden tips.
6. Prune back your bushes
If you haven’t done so already! I made the mistake of not pruning back our hydrangeas last autumn and they’ve now seen better days.
I don’t think some of them will even make an appearance this year!
I think it is really important to deadhead your flowers and plants and prune your bushes to encourage new growth and to keep your garden looking tidy.
7. Give your patio or decking a bit of love.
If you’ve had a lot of storms, rain or bad weather over the winter, I’m sure your patio or decking area is looking a little rough around the edges.
If you have a paved patio or wooden deck, the best thing to do is to give it a pressure wash! This will help lift the dirt, mould, stains and mildew from the last 6 months and will have it looking new!
If you feel that your decking has had a winter or pressure wash too many, then maybe look at painting it.
There are so many different colours of decking paint in the shops these days, it is a brilliant way to brighten up your garden for very little cost.
8. Paint tired-looking furniture
If in doubt, paint it! That’s my motto anyway. Some easy spring garden tips don’t always have to be about planting flowers and vegetables, they can include sprucing up your fence, shed and furniture.
If you feel like your garden furniture has literally been washed away with the winter, you can add some colour to your chairs and tables. Make sure you use paint that is suitable for outside, you may find that it keeps your furniture looking fresher for longer.
We have some lovely Adirondack chairs from Wayfair that have been sitting on our balcony for a year and as it is south facing, they have been at the mercy of the sun!
They are now a much paler version of their original selves so I am looking at painting them either dark blue or black.
Cuprinol paint has a huge number of colours you can choose from. Your garden furniture can be as pretty and colourful as the flowers you’ve just planted! I wrote a blog post about garden paint here.
9. Repair and reuse
If you’ve got the garden paint out, how about giving some of your tired plant pots a new lease of life? You can paint them the same colour as your garden furniture to make it all feel cohesive, or maybe paint them different colours so that they really pop in the garden.
10. Clean out your shed/greenhouse
Finally, if you can face it, look at cleaning out your shed or greenhouse as a bit of garden prep for spring!
Do you really need all the crap that has been sitting in your shed since autumn?
I bet if you went out there, you would find an old paddling pool with a hole in it that you’ve been meaning to repair since 2016. Or maybe a dozen old plastic plant pots that have seen better days.
Sheds have seen a huge revival in recent years with a lot of people turning them into extra places to sit, work and play.
With a little bit of organisation and some ruthless throwing out (recycle where you can!), you could also turn your shed into a little sanctuary away from the mess and chaos of home
The one thing that we’re looking to do in our garden is put in an outdoor room/shed which will have several uses.
Eventually, it will become my studio space but will double up as a small potting shed and a place the kids can chill out with their friends. But that’s a project for another day!
Preparing a garden for spring this early will give you enough time to clean up your garden, test and amend your soil, plan your garden layout, and start buying your bulbs to plant in spring.
This will help ensure that your garden is ready for when the weather warms up and the danger of frost has passed.