As the frost melts and the first shoots appear above the soil, it's time to lay the foundations for your garden to flourish over spring and summer. Make use of these simple garden ideas from the early spring onwards to create an imaginative, relaxing area that also has space for local wildlife.
The spring clean
Start by tying back any unruly climbers, clearing the beds and trimming plants and trees. Some woody perennials (flowers that grow back each year without replanting) like lavender will need to be trimmed in the early spring, as they will only flower on new branches. Start to prune when you see some new growth at the plant’s base. Early spring is also the perfect time to deal with brambles or weeds, as they’ll have died back over winter.
The health check
Assess the health of your garden and remedy problem areas by spreading compost or moving pots around to give the area more light. Encourage some plants by giving them specific minerals – roses, for example, need plenty of calcium, which you can obtain by crushing eggshells and adding them to the base of the plant. If you were beset with growing problems last year, you can even have your soil checked for mineral deficiencies. Early to mid-spring is also a good time to rake open areas like lawns, giving oxygen to plant roots.
The creative design
As April turns into May, take a design-focused approach to your garden and consider new planting arrangements. Unusual plants like ornamental peppers look striking in your pots, while succulents can be a dramatic addition to gardens with poor soil quality, their intricately interlocking leaves almost like rows of green flowers. Herb gardens with a twist have become popular among urban gardeners with limited space, using plants like lemon basil, mint and even rosemary to create a miniature ‘cocktail garden’. String some fairy lights or lanterns in this area to create a unique space where guests can sit outdoors enjoying the scent as well as the taste of your herbs. For a more unusual but higher maintenance cocktail ingredient, add lemon verbena to the arrangement.
Planting wildflowers and leaving some of your garden to grow relatively untamed is a popular and attractive design trend that can encourage wildlife ranging from field voles to dragonflies. On the other hand, you might want to attract a specific new species to your garden, like butterflies. They love the delicate lilac blooms of buddleia, which you can plant out in well-draining soil during late spring. Bees are also attracted to purple flowers, as well as foxgloves and honeysuckle. When planted against walls, honeysuckle also make wonderful nesting habitats, or you could add a bird box to encourage them to make their home in your garden.
For properties with unique gardens to suit any design taste, contact Engel & Völkers. Our experienced agents around the world can help you find an exceptional home and garden in every climate.