Springtime gardening is all about planning and organisation – planting, sowing, pruning cleaning and painting.  No matter what size, shape or state your garden, if you invest some time and effort in it now, you can create the perfect space for dining, entertaining friends, or a safer space for children to play throughout the year.

Design and Planning

A good garden needs to be functional as well as attractive and it doesn’t have to be professionally designed in order to achieve this.  Firstly, you must decide what you want to use the space for and if it’s multifunctional, sketch out how much of it you want to allocate to each area and how much maintenance you want to afford.

Another consideration is the movement of the sun and the impact this will have on different sections of the garden.  The sun rises in the east and moves clockwise to set in the west each evening so bear this in mind when positioning your patio/decking or garden lights.  Are some areas more protected from the elements than others, or overshadowed by trees or fences?  These are particularly good areas for positioning sheds, kennels, or compost heaps because they protected from the harsher elements expected later in the year.

A dimly lit garden on a summer evening can be very romantic, but you must plan the position of the lights very early on before shrubs and flowers are in bloom and certainly before hard surfaces are laid.  Lights are used to enhance certain features in the garden or to provide direction and guidance along pathways.  This can only be done when you know the design and layout of the finished garden.  If you are fitting electrical lights bear in mind that you could disturb the lawn if tracking cables so it might be best to do this before laying the garden.  Another option of course is to add solar lights or candle lanterns!

Spring is the ideal time for filling in any gaps and balancing out the planting, whether that means buying new plants or repositioning existing ones.  Here is some guidance for essential maintenance and the tools to do it.

Essential Maintenance:

Lawns

Your lawn should receive its first cut in early spring but ensure that there is still enough length on it to protect against frost.  Your lawnmower may need to be sharpened at this stage or consider using a mulching mower which can save you time, money and space as the clippings (mulched) can also act as a good fertiliser.  A good slow release fertiliser applied now will work wonders once the lawn comes into full growth.

Bulbs

Whether in pots or planted straight into the ground, bulbs are the easiest thing in the world to grow and great fun for children.  The general rule is that the hole should be twice the depth of the bulb.  Drop them in, cover over and add water.

Garden Hygiene

We all need some TLC and your garden is no different after the rough treatment it has endured over the autumn and winter.  You should cut back almost all plants, remove autumn and winter debris, remove all weeds, and generally clean and tidy up before adding anything new.  One or two plants may not have made it through the lower temperatures and may need to be replaced.  Other than that, a spoonful of sugar in the form of a slow release fertiliser adds the finishing touch.

Tree and Hedge Planting

There may still be some time left for planting seasonal trees and hedges, which are great for attracting wildlife.

Mulching

Mulch is a gardener’s secret gem.  Assuming the weeds are already taken care of, a good layer of fine bark mulch is an absolute must.  It saves on watering, suppresses weeds, moderates temperatures and above all, it looks great.

Essential tools of the trade:

Fertiliser

A good spreader is a great investment.  Fertiliser trends have changed and slow release organic fertilisers are the only way to go.  Apply once or twice a year to suit your needs.  Mulching mowers are a little more environmental – go back to the old cylinder mowers!

Pruning Tools

If a good plant choice has been made, then all the tools you require are secateurs, loppers and shears.

Greenhouses

‘The Good Life’ has never been more in vogue.  Allotments, vegetable beds and greenhouses provide the perfect opportunity to ‘grow your own’ organic produce at a greatly reduced cost.  Your Saturdays will never be the same again!

Free tickets to Love Your Home Show Belfast

Get FREE tickets to the new Love Your Home Show, Belfast. The Love Your Home Show 2018, created for home lovers will take place in the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast 12th-14th October 2018.

 

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