Spruce up your Garden for Summer

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It’s May Bank Holiday this weekend, which for many of us means it’s time to get the garden tidy. If you couldn’t take advantage of the few sunny days we had last month, you’ll need my guide to getting your garden spruced up and sparkling for the Summer.

Step One: Mow the Lawn

The biggest clue to a neglected garden is a straggly, overgrown lawn. The good news is that the single best thing you can do to improve your lawn is simply to mow it regularly. Get out your lawnmower and set the blades on a fairly high setting, and mow the lawn thoroughly.

Then, one week later, lower the blades and mow it again. Mow it every week until the Autumn.

As an extra treat, sprinkle some Weed and Feed onto the lawn too. If you have neighbourhood cats which like to use your lawn as a toilet, sprinkle some non-invasive deterrent.

Step Two: Sort out your furniture

Hands down, one of the loveliest things to do in the Summer is to sit out in the garden. So take out your garden furniture, if you have it, and give it a really good clean. Scrub it down, replace the seat pads and set it all out.

Now may well be the time to invest in some new garden furniture. I really like the look of the rattan furniture from Fishpools – especially the teepee style hideaway!

Don’t forget the children’s play equipment too. Check that it’s all safe to use, and throw it away if it’s not – don’t risk accidents. Store it somewhere that is easy for the children to get to, so they can be responsible for getting it out and putting it away.

Step Three: Tidy up the plants

Grab your gardening gloves and secateurs. Cut back big branches, pick up fallen branches and deadhead the daffodils! You don’t want to do too much in Spring, but if there are shrubs that need tidying up, and if you didn’t get around to doing it in Autumn, now is a good time.

I actually find it’s quite useful to assess what is in your garden at this time of year when it all starts growing. You can see what has got too big, what is not doing very well and where you have gaps to fill.

Step Four: Clean up the barbecue

Even if you’re not planning a barbecue this weekend, you still want to get the barbecue ready. You know what it’s like in the UK – at the first sight of a blue sky, we want to be getting the burgers on the grill! So make sure that grill is ready by giving it a good clean. Barbecue racks are best cleaned in oven cleaning solution with the bags for the racks.

Step Five: Pressure wash the paths and patios

This is a job which takes time but is curiously addictive! If you have a pressure washer, then do wash the paths and patios. If you haven’t you can always scrub them using a good brush or broom and either some patio wash or even some eco-friendly washing up liquid.

Step Six: Tackle the Weeds

Everything is growing like crazy at this time of year, and that includes the weeds. The good news is that the ground is soft, so weeding is easy! Set a timer for 20 minutes and see how much you can get done. You will honestly be amazed.

Step Seven: Check the fences and boundaries

If you’ve got a fence panel down, you’ll know about it! But it’s much easier to replace a fence panel in Summer than it is in the middle of a cold, stormy January. If you’ve got a few fence panels that have seen better days, now is a great time to replace them.

Equally, now is a good time to paint your fence panels if you choose.

Step Eight: Plant some new shrubs!

Now your garden is cleared and cleaned, head down to your local garden centre and pick up some bedding plants to fill the gaps – if a plant is filling the space, a weed can’t grow there! If you want a low-maintenance garden, but still want flowers, choose hydrangeas, roses, clematis, lavender, buddleia and philadelphus.

Remember: a garden is never ‘finished’

Gardens present a bit of a challenge for me, because there is never the sense that it is ‘complete’ or ‘finished.’ Part of the joy of it is that it is constantly changing and improving. So make some time just to sit and enjoy the garden if you have one. We don’t get enough days in the UK just to enjoy it, so we have to make the most of it!

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