We love our gardens during those spring to summer months, when blooms are plentiful and the greens are vibrant from all that inimitable British summer combination of sunshine and rain! But what if you could make your garden look as pretty and welcoming throughout the rest of the year too? We’ve got plenty of ideas for you:
This is the time for a splash of colour and to wash away those drab stains of winter …
- Cut back any foliage which is getting in the way of anything that’s trying to come through.
- Pressure-wash your patio, to start making your garden look tidy and welcoming for the coming season.
- Spring-clean outdoor furniture or garden features, including treating any wooden fixtures.
- Buy in a few plants which are already in bloom, to add to pots and beds to get your garden going until your bulbs come through.
In the summer you’ll want to be out there enjoying the plants and relaxing in the sun …
- Mow the lawn regularly to keep the garden tidy … it makes a good first impression even if beds need attention!
- Hedges can become unruly in the summer, so cut privet hedges back monthly across June, July and August to keep them tidy. If you have a thorny hedge, cut that in the summer too.
- You don’t have to spend hours in the sweltering heat weeding. The secret to success is:
- Weed little and often, particularly after a rainy spell. Hoeing weeds after rain can be a lot easier than with a trowel in the summer heat – watch the weather forecast to help schedule weeding chores.
- Plant plenty of ground cover plants as these will suppress weeds effectively and save you work. They can also add year-long interest to the garden.
- Remove dead heads from summer blooms regularly to keep plants pretty and to encourage them to produce more flowers. Similarly, regularly cutting new blooms such as sweet peas and dahlias for your vases indoors will encourage the plant to keep on flowering.
- Plant any salads successively, ie: sow new plants as you use up others, so that you always have a crop on the go.
- Once plants have finished flowering for the season, cut them back ready for next year to keep beds tidy.
Autumn’s a time for enjoying the rich colours of the garden. Plant ahead where possible so that even if you don’t have multi-coloured flowers, you’ll have vibrant leaves, foliage and berries.
- Rake leaves regularly to keep the garden looking neat.
- Do a thorough weeding and final mow before ‘bedding down’ the garden for winter.
- Prune back any dead wood from flowering plants, roses or fruiting trees that have finished. This helps the plants to regenerate next year and helps protect the plant from breakage due to high winds and the weight of snow in the coming winter.
- Look at your evergreen plants and shrubs. Cutting off anything which looks diseased will help keep plants looking good in the short term and allow them to recover in the long term. Any cuttings you suspect are diseased should be disposed of through burning or waste collection – don’t compost it as this may spread the disease.
- Give a thorny hedge another cut during the late Autumn too.
However, when doing any of the above, do be aware that hedgehogs may have already started nesting, so don’t cut back too hard or disturb any obvious wintering places for these garden friends.
- During that last bed weeding, plant your spring bulbs, ready for the new growing year. Spend time choosing the spots which catch your eye as you look down the garden or plant up pots and place them on your patio or in places where you can easily see them from indoors, so you can still enjoy your garden when the weather’s against you.
So how can you enjoy a Winter garden when the days are grey and there’s not a lot of growing going on?
- Plant ahead thinking about seasonal colour. A holly bush at the back of a bed can make a beautiful winter splash of colour (and gives you free Christmas decoration too)!
- Put up bird feeders and water for native birds. You’ll not only be helping out the local wildlife and eco systems, you’ll also have a delightfully busy point of interest in the garden.
- Add suitable outdoor or solar powered lighting to any trees or features in your garden, so you can enjoy a twinkle from indoors on those cold, dark nights.
By thinking about your garden with each coming season in mind, you’ll soon get into the rhythm of keeping your garden looking gorgeous all year round.
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