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Welcome!

 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

Summer garden prep tips: Spring clean your garden today!

Updated: 12 hours ago

Don't wait to start your summer garden prep - these tips are ideal for Easter weekend.

summer garden prep

Early spring is the best time to lay the groundwork for a successful summer garden. In this blog post, I'm going to share some top tips for summer garden prep so you can quickly and easily get the ball rolling. Future you will thank you! With Easter bank holiday weekend just around the corner, this is the perfect time to make a start on these important jobs and with the right strategies in place, you can ensure that your lawn and flower beds are ready for summer and the rest of your garden is looking its best. 


Assess your soil

Early spring is the perfect time to assess the condition of your garden beds and soil. Conduct a soil test to evaluate its pH levels and nutrient content. This will help you determine if any organic matter, like compost or manure, is needed to improve soil quality. Remember, good soil preparation is essential for summer garden prep as it's key to supporting plant growth and vitality throughout the summer months. Incorporating compost into your garden beds provides essential nutrients to plants, improves soil structure, and encourages beneficial soil organisms. Start a compost pile or use a compost bin to recycle kitchen scraps, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other organic material. By enriching your soil with compost, you'll create an ideal environment for healthy plants to thrive. 


Prune and trim overgrown plants

Nikki Vadera, a spokesperson from Jeyes, the original outdoor cleaner, suggests, As Spring really gets going, invest some time in pruning and trimming overgrown plants. Not only will this enhance the aesthetic appeal of your garden, but it will also promote healthy growth throughout the summer months." A good prune can make such a difference to the look of your garden and the cuttings can often be used on the compost heap or even shredded to create a mulch if you have, or can borrow a garden shredder. 


 

Revitalize your outdoor spaces

painting a patio as summer garden prep

There are lots of garden maintenance jobs you can do as part of your garden summer prep. Read my tutorials on how to clean and apply oil to decking and how to clean and paint concrete paths and patios, as these are both easy to complete but make a big impact.  Another tip from Nikki to jazz up your patio and decking areas is to "add some comfy outdoor seating, throw down a few colourful outdoor rugs, and maybe even string up some fairy lights for those warm summer nights". There are lots of ways you can inject some personality and charm to an outdoor area without spending a fortune. Consider ideas like updating your paths - read the posts I wrote about garden pathway ideas and DIY driveway edging ideas for inspiration.  


Mulch and Water Management


As the summer weather heats up, it's essential to implement proper mulching and water management techniques. Apply a thick layer of mulch to garden beds to help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth. Consider using materials such as pine straw or grass clippings for an organic mulch option. Additionally, invest in a drip irrigation system or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the plant's roots, minimizing water waste and reducing the risk of heat stress during dry weather. Read my posts about 

Mulch vs pea gravel and Mulch vs bark to help you decide which is best for your summer garden prep. 

 

Plan for Succession Planting

summer garden prep - buddleia display

As the growing season progresses, plan for succession planting to ensure a continuous harvest of fresh produce throughout the summer months. Stagger planting times for vegetables and herbs to extend the harvest period and maximize your garden's productivity. Consider planting heat-tolerant varieties suited to thrive in the summer heat, such as summer annuals and root crops.


Create a rockery

garden rockery

As we saw in my post about garden rockery ideas, a rockery is such a good addition to any type of garden as it can add texture, fragrance, colour and interest. Consider building a small rockery as a focal point in line of sight from your favourite garden chair or bench to really enjoy these type of plants and the vibe they bring.





Build a welly boot rack


Spending time in the garden before the warm weather usually means welly boots are required. The only downside is that storing wellies can create clutter at the entrance to your home as they get kicked off when people move inside from the garden. Storing wellies outside is ideal, but they need to be positioned upside down ideally and up off the ground. read my post about creative welly boot storage ideas to get inspired ready to make your own.   


Add splashes of colour

summer garden prep wisteria and bench on decking in garden

"Whilst spring bulbs are starting to bloom already, use this long bank holiday weekend to think ahead about adding colour to your garden for Summer.  Some of my favourites including begonias, ranunculus and gladioli. All are easy to grow, add a pop of vibrancy to the garden, and work just as well in pot plants if you don’t have a large bedding space." Says Nikki.   

One common misconception is that summer planting is limited to the early summer months. However, with careful planning and consideration of heat-tolerant varieties, I can continue planting throughout the summer, maximizing my garden's productivity. Staggering planting times and succession planting allow me to enjoy a continuous harvest of fresh produce all summer long.


Consider pest control


Pest control is another important aspect of summer gardening. By monitoring my garden regularly and implementing organic pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects, I can keep pests at bay without harming the environment or my plants. This proactive approach ensures a healthy garden ecosystem and minimizes the need for chemical interventions.


Build a bin shed / wheelie bin store


DIY wheelie bin shed

I completed this DIY project a couple of years ago, and it made such a difference to the look and feel of the bin area (which is prone to looking untidy and cluttered due to our ever-growing collection of bins). Read my DIY wheelie bin tutorial for a simple step-by-step guide. 


Add some garden pathway lighting


With Spring almost in full swing, this is a great time to get out in the garden more but the days are still short and the evenings get dark early, so it's the ideal time to add some garden pathway lighting to your garden summer prep to help you enjoy your outdoor space for longer and make it more welcoming. Read my post all about garden pathway lighting ideas for inspiration. 


In late spring, as the warmer weather sets in and the last frost passes, I focus on beautifying my garden space. Adding vibrant colours and textures to my flower beds creates a stunning outdoor space to enjoy throughout the warmer months. Utilizing raised beds and container gardens is a great way to make the most of your garden area, even with restricted outdoor space.


As I prepare my garden for summer, I keep in mind the importance of good soil preparation, proper water management, and proactive pest control. By following these best practices and staying attentive to the needs of your plants, you too can cultivate a beautiful and appealing summer garden year after year. 


Don't forget to check out my post on Summer garden trends for 2024


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