Gardening experts are urging people not to leave outdoor spaces in the cold during their annual spring clean.
After a tough year and even tougher winter, there is the promise of brighter times ahead - temperatures are rising and evenings are getting brighter and it will not be long until warmer weather means we can make the most of our outdoor space in comfort.
However, after a cold, wet and snowy winter, your garden might not be looking a little worse for wear - so garden centre Dobbies has come up with some top tips to get it back to its best.
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And as well as being great for your physical and mental health, smartening the exterior of your home, according to estate agent Redbrik, has the added benefit of boosting your home’s value and extending your living space.
Marcus Eyles, Dobbies horticultural director, said: “There’s plenty that can be done to prepare for the new season, but I like to think of it as a restoration project to refresh and nurture the space back to its best. A gentle clean sweep you can make a start on during the milder days and lighter evenings.”
Sort the garden shed
It’s time to tackle unkept sheds. Recycle old pots and go through garden hand and power tools to check if everything is in working order or if anything needs repairing or replacing.
This will help you stay organised later in the season as no-one wants to discover a broken lawnmower when you’re about to give the lawn its first cut.
Invest in clever storage
If you don’t have a garden shed, you may find your garden can quickly look cluttered if used to store bikes, tools, and muddy wellies among other household debris.
If you have a small garden, then smart storage is essential. Look for benches that double up as storage boxes, outdoor boot racks, cushion boxes to keep garden furniture textiles dry in wet weather or a bin store with extra room to tuck away your garden toolbox.
Sweep paths and walkways to remove fallen leaves and debris. Keeping lawns clear where possible will help avoid dead patches. Brush or rake growth of evergreen grasses to remove dead foliage.
Tidy up flower beds & borders
Hoe borders to remove weeds, feeding them with fertiliser and applying a thick layer of mulch to retain moisture and help keep future weeds at bay.
Now is the ideal time for planting new additions to your garden, with roots establishing quickly as soils warm during early spring.
Plan your perfect summer garden
Rather than waiting until the good weather is here and everyone has the same idea, get planning for what you need, or will need, now.
You don’t need much outdoor space to create something special - pretty hanging baskets, windowsills and patio pots provide the perfect containers to fill any home with colour and interest.
Find out which way your garden faces and how much sun it gets during the daytime, as this will impact the types of plants and flowers that will grow best.
Gardening research can be great fun as there are amazing books, blogs, and Instagram accounts out there for inspiration.
Prepare for alfresco dining
It might feel a long way off, but before we know it, we will be enjoying the fun of outdoor cooking and alfresco dining. If you’ve been home schooling or working from home at the kitchen table, having a separate outdoor dining space could add another area to unwind and relax.
Give existing garden furniture a clean, making sure this is cleaned according to the guidelines for its material.
Outdoor furniture design has come a long way in recent years, with most collections looking just as good inside your home as they would out. If yours looks in need of replacing, make the most of the new season launches as that’s when you’re likely to have the most choice. There is something for every size garden, foldable, stackable, and easy to store away items.
Updating your garden furniture is one of the quickest ways to transform a space.
Don’t forget your indoor greenery
Houseplants need to be cleaned occasionally, too – just wipe the leaves with a damp cloth. This is not just to keep them looking good, removing the dust ensures good health.
Take off any foliage that is yellowing, and trim damaged leaves of larger plants with sharp scissors at the same time.
Even the lowest maintenance plants require a repot - either annually or at least every two years - to keep them looking their best for years to come.