As the winter frosts start to melt and uncover our dormant gardens, what you see outside your house might just make your heart sink. The cold weather can appear to destroy the vibrant, welcoming outdoor spaces we spend so much of the year cultivating. But the truth is that it doesn’t take much work to prepare for your spring garden.
Whether you have a small city garden or lots of outdoor space, there are some simple steps you can take to get your garden ready for spring.
Before you even think about starting work on your garden, you should first take stock of the tools you need to do the job. Rusty tools will need to be cleaned, which can be done simply by soaking them overnight in a mixture of water and vinegar and then rubbing them with steel wool. Some of your tools may also need to be sharpened before they’re ready to tackle the new season.
Next you can turn your attention to your garden itself, and prepare the ground by clearing up any leaves, branches, rubbish and other debris that the winter winds have blown in. Any plants that unfortunately haven’t survived the winter can also be cleared away to make space for some new arrivals.
Once you’ve stripped your garden right back, it’s time to turn your attention to the preparation of soil. Turning it over and loosening it with a spade will make it easier to plant new things.
Depending on the type of soil in your garden, you may also want to add some extra nutrients that will make it more hospitable for whatever you want to grow. You can use a soil test to find out the pH balance and nutrient levels of your soil, telling you what you need to add to it to make it as nourishing as possible to new plants.
You might not be able to start growing everything you want in your spring garden right now, but you can make a start. If you’re looking at growing some vegetables, consider making a start with potatoes and onions: they will be able to withstand early planting despite the cold weather.
Other plants that are more delicate can be planted indoors, ready to be taken outside when conditions are more favourable. Some go-to flowers for bright spring colour include pansies, irises, crocuses, tulips and daffodils.
Think about the way you want to use your garden when the warmer weather arrives, and make some detailed plans now. Whether you want to build an eco-friendly swimming pool or just create some new plant beds, there’s no reason why you can’t make a start with designing, measuring and digging.
Do you want to turn your garden into an outdoor living room? Research some of the technology you might need, such as sound systems, WiFi and lighting, so you can buy in advance.
If you want to give your garden a design overhaul, but you’re not sure what kind of changes you want to make, you can also use this time to look into outdoor living trends for inspiration and practical ideas to suit your own space.