Summer is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about how you can prepare your garden for the warmer months ahead. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, getting your garden ready for summer can be an exciting and rewarding task. From pruning and weeding to planting new flowers, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your garden is healthy, vibrant, and ready to thrive in the summer sun. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best tips and techniques for preparing your garden for summer, so you can enjoy a beautiful and productive outdoor space all season long.
1) Clean Your Tools
It’s essential to prepare your garden tools for summer gardening. Regular cleaning is vital for keeping your garden tools in good condition, preventing the spread of diseases, and improving their performance.
Cleaning your garden tools after each use is essential, but it’s especially important to give them a deep clean at the end of each season. Neglecting to clean your tools can cause them to become rusty, less efficient, and spread diseases. Cleaning your garden pots alongside your tools is also important to prevent contamination.
Cutting tools such as loppers, secateurs, garden knives, and hedge shears can become sticky due to plant sap. To clean them, disassemble them if possible and remove any dried sap using a wire brush. Alternatively, you can soak them in hot water mixed with washing-up liquid for 15 minutes or use a water-displacing spray such as WD-40. Rinse off debris, buff the tools with steel wool, and wipe them down with a clean cloth.
Cultivation tools like rakes, hoes, forks, hand trowels, and spades may become muddy. Remove soil by scrubbing it off using a stiff brush, and if the tool is exceptionally dirty, wash it with a hose. Dry the tool with a towel or cloth to prevent rust and swelling of wooden handles. Occasionally oiling the tools after cleaning creates a thin protective barrier that helps prolong their life.
Proper disinfection is crucial when working with plants. You can safely sterilise your tools using rubbing alcohol or a mixture of chlorine bleach and water. Properly dry the wooden handles to prevent them from drying out, splitting, or loosening from their metal counterpart. Oiling the handles also creates a protective barrier.
Sharpening your tools a few times a year is also essential to keep them in good condition. After cleaning and maintaining your garden tools, store them properly in a suitable place to prevent them from getting dirty or rusting. Consider keeping small hand tools in a large flower pot filled with sand and vegetable oil to prevent rusting. By following these simple steps, you’ll keep your garden tools in excellent condition and ensure they’re ready for use whenever you need them. For more information about sharpening garden tools, check out our article “The Ultimate Guide to Sharpening Garden Tools“.
2) Tidy Up Flower Beds & Borders
Now is the perfect time to get your garden beds and borders in shape for the season. Tidying up your garden is an essential task to make sure that your plants thrive and your garden looks its best during the summer months. Here are some tips on how to get your garden beds and borders ready for summer:
Remove dead plants and debris:
The first step in preparing your garden for summer is to remove any dead plants or debris that may have accumulated over the winter months. Dead plants can harbour pests and diseases, and debris can provide a breeding ground for weeds. Make sure to remove all dead plants, leaves, and other debris from your garden beds and borders.
Install low-maintenance edging:
Installing edging around your garden beds and borders is an excellent way to keep them looking neat and tidy while also preventing grass and weeds from encroaching on your plants. Choose a low-maintenance edging option such as brick, stone, or plastic that will not require a lot of upkeep. Place the edging around the perimeter of your garden beds and borders, ensuring that it is level and secure. This will give your garden a polished and finished look that will require minimal maintenance throughout the summer.
Trim and prune plants:
Trimming and pruning your plants is crucial to keep them healthy and promote new growth. Remove any dead or damaged branches, and cut back any overgrown plants. Pruning will encourage your plants to grow thicker and fuller, which will make them more resistant to pests and diseases.
Weed your garden:
Weeding is an ongoing task in any garden, and summer is no exception. Weeds can quickly take over your garden beds and borders, competing with your plants for water and nutrients. Take some time to remove any weeds by hand or use a hoe to scrape them out.
Adding fresh soil and compost to your garden beds and borders will provide your plants with the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. Work in a layer of compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to improve its structure and fertility.
Mulch your garden:
Mulching is a great way to help retain moisture in the soil, prevent weeds from growing, and regulate soil temperature. Spread a layer of mulch, such as wood chips or straw, around your plants to protect the soil from the sun’s heat and retain moisture.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to get your garden beds and borders ready for summer and ensure that your plants are healthy and happy throughout the season. With a little bit of effort, your garden will be a beautiful and inviting space for you and your family to enjoy all summer long.
3) Remove Pests & Weeds
One important aspect of garden preparation is removing and controlling pests and weeds. These can cause significant damage to your plants if left unchecked, so it’s important to take action early on.
The first step in pest control is to identify any existing problems. Look for signs of damage such as chewed leaves or wilting plants, and inspect the undersides of leaves for any insects. Once you’ve identified the pests, you can choose an appropriate treatment method. There are a variety of options available, including natural remedies such as neem oil or insecticidal soap, as well as chemical pesticides. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use the appropriate protective gear.
Prevention is also key when it comes to pest control. One effective method is to encourage beneficial insects, such as ladybugs or lacewings, into your garden. These insects will eat harmful pests and help keep their populations in check. You can attract beneficial insects by planting flowers that they are attracted to, such as marigolds.
Weed control is another important aspect of garden preparation. Weeds can compete with your plants for nutrients and water, and can also harbour pests and diseases. The best way to control weeds is to prevent them from taking hold in the first place. This can be done by laying down a layer of mulch around your plants, which will help to smother any weed seeds and also help to retain moisture in the soil.
If weeds have already taken hold, you can remove them by hand or by using a hoe. Be sure to remove the entire weed, including the roots, to prevent regrowth. Another option is to use an herbicide, but be sure to choose a product that is appropriate for the types of weeds you are dealing with, and follow the instructions carefully.
By taking the time to remove and control pests and weeds in your garden, you can help ensure a healthy growing season for your plants. With a little bit of effort and the right tools and techniques, you can enjoy a beautiful and bountiful garden all season long.
4) Cut Back Hedges, Shrubs & Bushes
One important aspect of getting your garden ready for summer is pruning bushes, hedges, and shrubs.
Pruning is essential to promote healthy growth and encourage flowering. It also helps to maintain the shape and size of your plants, making them look neat and tidy. The best time to prune is during the dormant season, which is usually in late winter or early spring. However, it’s not too late to prune now, as long as you do it before the growing season starts.
Before you start pruning, make sure you have the right tools. A pair of sharp pruning shears, loppers, and a pruning saw will be necessary for larger branches. You should also wear gloves to protect your hands from thorns and other sharp objects.
Start by removing any dead or damaged branches, and making clean cuts close to the main stem. Next, remove any crossing or rubbing branches, which can cause damage and affect the plant’s overall health. You should also cut back any branches that are growing too long or out of shape, making sure to maintain the natural shape of the plant.
When pruning hedges, use a string line to keep the hedge level and straight. Start by cutting the sides of the hedge, then move on to the top, cutting at a slight angle to promote new growth. You should also remove any dead or diseased branches, and thin out the hedge to encourage air circulation.
After pruning, make sure to dispose of the cuttings properly. If the branches are small, you can add them to your compost pile. However, if the branches are larger, you may need to hire a garden waste removal service.
5) Plant Summer Flowering Plants & Bulbs
Summer is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to start thinking about getting your garden ready for the warmer months. One of the best ways to bring colour and vibrancy to your outdoor space is by planting summer flowering plants and bulbs. Here’s a guide on how to choose them, how to plant them, and some great options to consider.
Choosing Summer Flowering Plants and Bulbs
When choosing summer flowering plants and bulbs, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the climate and conditions in your area. Different plants thrive in different environments, so it’s essential to choose varieties that are suited to your region’s weather, soil type, and amount of sunlight.
Next, think about the colours and styles you want to bring to your garden. Summer is the perfect time for bright, bold hues, but you can also choose more muted tones for a softer look. Consider the height and spread of your plants, as well as their bloom time, to ensure you have a balanced and cohesive garden design.
Planting Summer Flowering Plants and Bulbs
Once you’ve chosen your summer flowering plants and bulbs, it’s time to plant them. Begin by preparing your soil, removing any weeds and debris and adding compost or fertiliser as needed. Dig holes for your bulbs or seedlings, making sure they are deep enough to allow for proper root growth.
Carefully plant your bulbs or seedlings, taking care not to damage their roots. Water thoroughly after planting, and continue to water regularly as your plants establish themselves.
Great Options for Summer Flowering Plants and Bulbs
Here are a few excellent options to consider for your summer garden:
- Dahlias: These showy blooms come in a wide variety of colours and sizes, making them a versatile choice for any garden.
- Sunflowers: These towering blooms are the ultimate summer flower, adding a bold, cheerful touch to any space.
- Gladiolus: These tall, elegant blooms add height and structure to your garden, and their multiple flowers per stem make them a great value.
Whatever plants and bulbs you choose, adding summer flowering varieties to your garden is sure to bring colour and beauty to your outdoor space. With a little care and attention, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning display all season long.
6) Tidy Your Patio Area
Summer is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to start preparing your garden for the warmer weather. One of the key areas to focus on is your patio, as it’s where you’ll be spending a lot of your time entertaining guests, enjoying barbeques, and relaxing in the sun. Here are some tips for tidying up your patio area and giving it a refresh on a budget.
Start by clearing the space
The first step is to remove any clutter or debris from your patio area. Sweep away any leaves or dirt that may have accumulated over the winter months. Get rid of any broken furniture, planters or other items that are beyond repair. Once you have a clean slate, you can begin to think about how to decorate your patio. Learn how to clean your garden furniture here.
Add some colour with plants
Adding some greenery and colour to your patio can instantly transform it into a welcoming and inviting space. Consider adding potted plants or hanging baskets to add some height and interest. Choose plants that are easy to care for and can withstand the heat of the summer months, such as succulents, geraniums, and petunias.
Use outdoor rugs and cushions
If your patio furniture is looking a little tired, you don’t need to replace it all. Instead, you can give it a refresh by using outdoor rugs and cushions. These are a great way to add some colour and texture to your patio without breaking the bank. Choose patterns and colours that complement each other and tie in with the rest of your garden.
Create a focal point
A focal point can help to tie the whole patio area together and create a sense of cohesion. Consider adding a statement piece, such as a large potted plant or a colourful umbrella, to draw the eye and anchor the space.
Don’t forget the lighting
Finally, don’t forget to add some lighting to your patio area. String lights or lanterns can add a magical touch to your outdoor space and make it feel cosy and inviting in the evening. You can also use solar-powered lights to save on electricity costs.
In conclusion, getting your garden ready for summer doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming task. By following these simple tips, you can transform your patio area into a beautiful and inviting space that you’ll love to spend time in throughout the warmer months.
7) Clean Bird Baths & Feeders
One important aspect of garden preparation is ensuring that your bird feeders and baths are clean and ready to use. Here’s why and how to clean them:
Why Clean Bird Feeders and Baths?
Bird feeders and baths can become dirty and contaminated with bacteria, mould, and other harmful organisms, especially during the winter months when they are used less frequently. Dirty feeders and baths can spread diseases among birds and even cause illness. Additionally, old birdseed or water can attract pests like ants, rodents, and mosquitoes.
Cleaning your bird feeders and baths regularly helps ensure that they remain a safe and healthy environment for your feathered friends. It also ensures that your garden remains an attractive and welcoming place for birds to visit and enjoy.
How to Clean Bird Feeders and Baths?
Cleaning bird feeders and baths is a straightforward process. Here’s how to do it:
- Empty the feeder or bath of any remaining birdseed or water.
- Take apart the feeder or bath as much as possible.
- Scrub the feeder or bath with warm, soapy water using a brush or sponge.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
- Soak the feeder or bath in a solution of one-part vinegar and nine-part water for at least 10 minutes to disinfect it.
- Rinse again with clean water and let the feeder or bath dry completely before refilling it.
It’s recommended to clean your bird feeders and baths every two weeks, or more frequently if they become particularly dirty or contaminated. And don’t forget to wear gloves when cleaning to protect yourself from any potentially harmful bacteria. Shop gardening gloves here.
By taking the time to clean your bird feeders and baths regularly, you can help keep your garden a safe and welcoming place for birds to visit throughout the summer months.
8) Start Composting
If you’re looking to get your garden ready for the summer, making your own compost pile can be a great way to give your plants a boost. Composting is the process of breaking down organic materials into nutrient-rich soil that can be used to fertilise your garden. Not only is composting a sustainable way to dispose of your food scraps and yard waste, but it can also save you money on store-bought fertilisers.
Choosing an area
To get started, choose a spot in your garden that is out of the way but still easily accessible. You can either create a compost bin using materials like wire mesh or pallets or simply pile your compost ingredients in a designated area. The ideal compost pile is around three feet high and three feet wide, as this size allows for enough heat and moisture to build up to break down the materials.
Next, start adding your compost ingredients. These can include things like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, leaves, and grass clippings. It’s important to balance your greens (nitrogen-rich materials) with your browns (carbon-rich materials) to ensure the compost pile breaks down properly. Aim for a ratio of about 3:1 browns to greens.
As you add materials to your compost pile, be sure to keep it moist but not too wet. Too much moisture can lead to a smelly, anaerobic pile. You can also add a compost activator like a handful of garden soil or compost starter to help jumpstart the process.
Finally, let your compost pile do its thing. Depending on the materials you use and the conditions in your area, your compost could be ready in as little as a few weeks or as long as several months. Once your compost is ready, use it to amend your garden soil, topdress your plants, or use it as a mulch to help retain moisture.
Overall, making your own compost pile is a great way to improve your garden’s health while reducing your carbon footprint. By following a few simple steps, you can create a nutrient-rich soil amendment that will benefit your plants for years to come. We have an article on “Homemade Composting: The Benefits & How to Make Your Own” that may be beneficial to you.
9) Collect & Recycle Rainwater
Getting your garden ready for summer involves several tasks, such as pruning plants, fertilising the soil, and planting new crops. However, one critical aspect that is often overlooked is collecting and recycling rainwater. With water scarcity becoming a growing concern in many regions worldwide, it’s essential to conserve water as much as possible. Collecting and recycling rainwater is a simple yet effective way to reduce your water usage and keep your garden healthy and thriving.
To collect rainwater, you need a container or a system that can capture and store the water. You can use a rain barrel, which is a large container that collects rainwater from your roof gutters. You can also install a rainwater harvesting system, which is a more elaborate setup that uses pipes and filters to collect water from your roof and store it in underground tanks.
When collecting rainwater, it’s essential to ensure that the container or system is clean and free from debris. You can use a screen or a filter to prevent leaves, twigs, and other debris from entering the container. This will ensure that the collected water is clean and safe to use for your plants.
Recycling rainwater in your garden has several benefits. First, it reduces your reliance on municipal water sources, which can be expensive and sometimes limited. Second, rainwater is free from chemicals and minerals found in tap water, making it better for your plants’ health. Third, using rainwater reduces runoff, which can carry pollutants and soil nutrients away from your garden.
To use rainwater in your garden, you can either use a watering can or a hose attached to the container or system. You can also connect the container to an irrigation system to water your plants automatically. However, it’s crucial to use the collected rainwater within a few days to prevent the growth of bacteria and algae.
In conclusion, collecting and recycling rainwater is a simple and effective way to conserve water and keep your garden healthy. By following the right procedures and using the right equipment, you can collect and use rainwater in your garden throughout the summer, ensuring your plants thrive even during droughts or water restrictions. Read more about watering & irrigation systems here.
10) Clean Your Garden Furniture
Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s time to get your garden ready for all the outdoor fun and relaxation that’s in store. One important aspect of preparing your garden for summer is cleaning your garden furniture.
Over the winter months, garden furniture can become dirty and even damaged from exposure to the elements. Before you start using your furniture again, it’s important to give it a thorough clean to make sure it’s ready for use.
The first step in cleaning garden furniture is to remove any loose dirt or debris. You can do this with a soft-bristled brush or by using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Once you’ve removed the loose dirt, you can move on to more thorough cleaning.
For wooden furniture, start by mixing a solution of warm water and mild soap. Use a sponge or soft cloth to apply the solution to the furniture, being careful not to saturate the wood. Once you’ve cleaned the furniture, rinse it thoroughly with water and allow it to dry completely before using it.
For metal or plastic furniture, you can use a mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Use a sponge or soft cloth to apply the solution to the furniture, making sure to clean all the nooks and crannies. Rinse the furniture with water and allow it to dry completely.
If you have cushions or fabric covers on your garden furniture, be sure to remove them before cleaning. You can usually wash these in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, or you can hand wash them with mild soap and water. Make sure to let them air dry completely before putting them back on the furniture.
In addition to cleaning your garden furniture, it’s also a good idea to check for any damage. If you notice any cracks, splits, or other damage, you may need to repair or replace the furniture before using it again.
By taking the time to clean and inspect your garden furniture, you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor space to the fullest this summer. Read our full article “From Grime to Shine: How to Clean Garden Furniture Like a Pro” here.
11) Protect & Refresh Your Lawn
Summer is a time when many people want to spend more time outdoors, including in their gardens. One of the key aspects of getting your garden ready for summer is ensuring that your lawn is healthy, vibrant, and ready to withstand the warmer temperatures and increased foot traffic.
Feeding & Watering
To protect and refresh your lawn, there are several steps you can take. Firstly, it’s important to ensure that your lawn is well-fed and watered. During the summer months, your lawn may require more water than usual, particularly if there are prolonged periods of dry weather. Consider installing an irrigation system or using a sprinkler to ensure that your lawn receives adequate moisture.
In addition to watering your lawn, it’s important to fertilise it regularly. This will help to promote healthy growth and ensure that your lawn has the nutrients it needs to stay green and lush throughout the summer months. There are a variety of different fertilisers available, so it’s important to choose one that is appropriate for your lawn type and needs.
Another key aspect of protecting and refreshing your lawn is to keep it well-maintained. This means regularly mowing and trimming the grass to keep it at the right length. During the summer months, it’s important to avoid cutting the grass too short, as this can cause it to become stressed and more susceptible to damage from heat and foot traffic.
Pests & Diseases
Finally, it’s important to be vigilant for any signs of pests or diseases. If you notice any unusual patches or areas of discolouration on your lawn, it’s important to take action quickly to prevent the problem from spreading.
By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your lawn is healthy, vibrant, and ready to enjoy throughout the summer months. With a little bit of care and attention, your garden can be the perfect place to relax and unwind during the warm weather.
Try some of the tips and tricks for “Reviving Your Lawn” here.
12) Paint & Treat Fences
As the weather warms up and summer approaches, it’s time to start thinking about getting your garden ready for outdoor living. One important task to tackle is painting and treating your garden fences.
Over the winter months, fences can become damaged from harsh weather conditions, such as heavy rain, wind, and snow. This can result in the wood becoming warped or discoloured. However, by painting and treating your fences, you can restore them to their former glory and protect them from further damage.
Before you start painting, it’s important to clean your fences thoroughly. Use a stiff brush to remove any dirt, moss, or algae that may have built up. You can also use a pressure washer to make the job easier. Once the fences are clean, allow them to dry completely before applying any paint or treatment.
When it comes to choosing a paint or treatment for your fences, there are many options available. If you want a natural look, you can use a clear treatment that will protect the wood without changing its appearance. Alternatively, you can choose a coloured treatment or paint that will add some personality to your garden.
When applying paint or treatment, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Most treatments will require two coats, so make sure you allow enough time for the first coat to dry before applying the second.
Painting and treating your fences is a relatively easy and affordable way to spruce up your garden for summer. By taking care of your fences, you can ensure they last for years to come and provide a beautiful backdrop for your outdoor living space.
13) Clean Out & Wash Your Greenhouse
One important aspect of getting your garden ready for summer is cleaning out and washing your greenhouse. Over the course of the winter and spring, your greenhouse may have accumulated dirt, debris, and potentially harmful pathogens that can impact the health and growth of your plants. Cleaning and disinfecting your greenhouse can help create a healthier and more hospitable environment for your plants to thrive in.
Before you begin
Make sure to remove all plants, pots, and tools from the greenhouse. Begin by sweeping out any loose debris and then use a pressure washer or a hose to wash down the interior of the greenhouse, paying close attention to the corners, crevices, and other hard-to-reach areas. You can use a mild detergent or a greenhouse-specific cleaning solution to help remove any stubborn dirt or stains.
Once you’ve finished washing the interior of the greenhouse, it’s time to disinfect it. Use a disinfectant solution recommended for greenhouse use and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Pay special attention to high-touch areas such as door handles, shelving, and benches.
While you’re cleaning and disinfecting the greenhouse, it’s also a good time to inspect it for any damage or wear and tear. Check for any cracks, leaks, or broken panes of glass that may need to be repaired or replaced. Additionally, make sure that the greenhouse’s ventilation system is functioning properly, as proper air circulation is crucial for the health of your plants.
By taking the time to clean, disinfect, and inspect your greenhouse before the summer growing season, you can help ensure that your plants have a healthy and productive environment to grow in. Not only will this benefit the health of your plants, but it can also help you achieve a more bountiful harvest and a more enjoyable gardening experience overall.
For more information about greenhouse gardening read our “Beginners Guide to Greenhouse Gardening” here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Spring is the ideal time to start preparing your garden for summer as it gives you time to prepare before you spend most of your time in the garden, whilst still giving you nice, workable weather conditions.
For immediate impact, start by clearing any fallen debris or removing any dead plants. Then make sure to cut the grass and tidy up any edges that have started to become overgrown. These jobs will give an immediate impact without taking large amounts of skill or effort.