We all spend more time in our gardens in summer, but this year lots of us are planning on using them more than ever for outdoor entertaining. Is your garden ready for summer guests?
During the colder months of the year, we naturally spend less time taking care of our gardens. When the weather warms up again in summer, we immediately want to get out there and enjoy them. The trouble is, there’s often work required to get things looking good before we can sit back and enjoy the view with friends and family.
When should I start getting my garden ready for summer?
A bit of forward planning can make getting your home and garden ready for al fresco entertaining so much easier. Thinking about what you need to do in advance will allow you to tackle the job gradually, whenever you have a spare half hour.
You can of course blitz the garden in one big session, but if you’re going to take this approach, you need to factor in our unpredictable weather. That weekend you’ve carved out for summer garden prep could easily end up being a write-off thanks to rain, wind, or worse! On the flip side, an early heatwave could also catch you out before your garden is ready for guests.
Easy ways to get your garden ready for summer and outdoor entertaining
There are lots of simple things you can do to get your garden ready for summer.
If your garden is looking a bit tired, here are ten easy ways to perk it up and turn it into a welcoming, relaxing outdoor space for you and your guests. I’ve covered gardening tips, outdoor maintenance and easy ways to get ready for entertaining. Get a head start now, and you’ll be able to embrace outdoor living whenever the heatwave hits!
Here’s how to get your garden ready for summer.
Tidy up borders
This is a great time of year to get on top of weeds in your beds and borders, before they get too established and tricky to remove.
While you’re weeding, remove any old blooms on your plants and prune any shrubs that need tidying up. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to see where the gaps are and plan what plants you need to fill them.
This is also the perfect time to enrich your soil with compost or fertiliser, before the growing season really gets underway.
Check gardening equipment
Because we do most of our gardening in summer, garden equipment gets the vast majority of its use during the summer months. Make sure yours is up to the task with some simple maintenance.
Give garden tools a good clean with a stiff brush, and sharpen any blades if required. Check your lawnmower cable for wear and tear, and clean any old grass from the underneath and the blades. Get rid of any broken or damaged equipment, and make a shopping list of things to replace.
Clean patios and decking
It always amazes me just how much dirt can accumulate on a patio or deck over winter. Brighten things up by giving yours a good sweep, then wash it down with hot soapy water, or a pressure washer if you have one. Remember to rinse with clean water afterwards, to avoid slippery surfaces.
Spruce up the shed
This is the outdoor equivalent of a good old declutter!
Drag everything out of the shed, get rid of any unwanted items, and give the inside a good sweep. At the same time, check for loose panels or damage to the roof felt, and repair if necessary.
If your shed needs a new coat of wood preservative or paint, you could give it a real transformation with a different colour. Consider also adding hanging baskets, a bird box or other decorative ornaments to pretty up the exterior and give your shed a less practical feel.
Clean the barbecue
Yes, it’s a job we all love to hate, but having to clean the barbecue when you were just about to start cooking is even worse!
Use a wire brush to clean burnt-on food from metal racks, then wash the whole thing with hot soapy water. If you’ve got a pressure washer you could also use this to blast off the dirt – don’t try this on a gas barbecue though.
When you start to use your barbecue again, get in the habit of brushing the grill with vegetable oil before you start cooking, to make the cleanup job easier.
Perk up the lawn
After long months of frost, rain and general neglect, the chances are your lawn is in need of some attention.
Use a garden fork to make holes in the grass at regular intervals This will aerate the ground, and help to avoid waterlogging and compaction. You can also rake any ‘thatch’ from the surface; thatch is dead grass that becomes matted at soil level, and it can really inhibit growth of new grass.
Once you’ve done all this, sprinkle grass seed on any bare patches. Finish off by giving your lawn a feed with a product specially designed for grass.
Clean garden furniture
Nobody wants to sit on grubby garden furniture. Give everything a brush to remove dust, then clean with warm soapy water and rinse. This short video shows you how to do it.
If your outdoor furniture is wooden and showing signs of weathering, treat it with a wood protector and allow to dry thoroughly before use.
Add instant colour with containers
If your garden is still looking less than colourful, container displays are a brilliant way to give it an instant lift.
Garden centres, DIY shops and online suppliers have a wide range of summer plants at this time of year, and you can create a lovely effect without spending a fortune.
Think about where you’re going to position your containers before you buy any summer flowering plants, and choose varieties that are happy with that location.
Prep for outdoor entertaining
We’re all looking forward to being able to invite guests into our gardens, so make sure your garden is ready for outdoor entertaining.
Check your parasol still works and give it a brush down. If you have garden lights, clean any glass shades to improve their effectiveness. Finally, stock up on citronella candles to keep insects at bay on balmy evenings.
As well as entertaining, hopefully you’ll be relaxing in your garden once the weather warms up! Now’s a good time to check supplies of sun cream, dig out the sun hats and maybe even treat yourself to a new pair of shades from SmartBuyGlasses.
Declutter outdoor toys
In my experience, outdoor toys have a habit of quietly accumulating, and avoiding a clear-out even though the kids have outgrown them. Go through your collection and decide what to keep, then give everything a clean with the hose or warm soapy water.
If your outdoor toy storage is less than ideal, consider getting hold of some clear plastic crates that allow you to easily find everything. A large outdoor storage box is another great option for keeping things neatly stashed away.
That’s quite a list of jobs, isn’t it! You might not need to do every one though, and making a start now means you can tackle things at a leisurely pace while you’re waiting for summer to arrive. Do you have any other jobs you’d add to get your garden ready for summer?
More summer garden inspiration
For more ideas on how to get your garden ready for summer, check out these posts: