Spring has finally sprung after a chilly winter across the nation's capital and its surrounding regions which means warmer weather, longer days and beautiful colours as nature comes back to life. Spring is also the perfect time to jump outside and make your garden look its best, not only for the rest of the season but also in preparation for summer.
Here’s our seven step guide to get your garden looking gorgeous in no time.
1. Clean and clear
The ‘spring clean’ is an age-old tradition dating back centuries, and while it may have originated inside the home, it has proven to be just as important on the outside. Your home’s green spaces play a big part in your property’s visual appeal, and more often than not, a simple clean and tidy can whip everything back into shape.
Start your garden makeover by removing leaves and debris from lawns and garden beds, and pulling up old, dead or dying flowers and plants. Soil may still be soft from winter so most plants and weeds can be pulled out of beds easily, or to reduce the labour and time, consider using a weed spray. For plants that have overgrown over winter, give them a prune to allow for new growth. Freshen up garden beds with a new layer of mulch, which will not only keep soil quality and moisture levels high, but also help keep the weeds away. Declutter your yard of tools and equipment and put everything in the shed or garage. Give lawns a mow and use an edger for a clean finish.
2. Check for winter damage
While the winter chill was in full force across the territory, there’s a chance it left its mark on your garden and outdoor areas. Start with your lawn and check for signs of water-logging that may have occurred after heavy rains. If required, aerate your lawn with a fork or a spike or plug aerator to allow excess water to soak into the soil. Then, carefully inspect the walls of your garden beds, as well as fences, pots and gates. Check for rust, cracks, leaks, loose bolts and hinges, and look for anything unstable. Winter often brings with it a build-up of twigs, leaves and debris so inspect your roof, as well as all drains and gutters around the exterior of your property and clean them if necessary, or have a professional do so.
3. New plant life
If your garden is looking a bit empty after removing old flowers or dying plants during your spring clean, now’s the time to introduce some new plant life. Opt for flowers that are best suited for the spring season, like snapdragons, marigolds and geraniums. If you’re looking to plant some new trees, then try a Japanese maple or crepe myrtle, but make sure they’re planted before summer arrives. If hanging baskets or pots are more your style, then plant flowering seedlings now so they are in bloom in time for Christmas. Flowers that grow well in pots or baskets include salvia, daisies and petunias. Always remember that before planting anything, you should always consider the location, how much space it needs to grow, and how much water and sunlight it requires.
4. Feed and fertilise
Give your garden a boost with fertilisers to help promote growth and flowering – your plant life will thank you come summer time. Opt for organic fertilisers across your garden beds, and don’t forget pots and planters too. If you haven’t fed your plants in awhile, liquid fertilisers are an effective way to quickly inject nutrients into the soil. Other alternatives include slow release fertilisers – great for longevity as plants will only absorb them when they are actively growing, and soluble fertilisers, like those with seaweed, which are nutrient dense, great for extra growth and best applied after planting or transplanting.
As any local is aware, Canberra can reach extreme temperatures as we move towards Christmas and into the new year, so in order to protect your plant life add a wetting agent to your fertiliser. This will help to maintain soil moisture during the hot summer days. For your lawn, consider a granular fertiliser to use now as it will help to keep grass luscious and healthy in the warmer months.
5. Water works
As the warm weather starts to settle in, it’s vital that your plants, lawns and flowers get adequate water. The best way to keep your plants thriving throughout the warmer months is to make sure you tailor the watering levels to your plant’s specific requirements, and learn the signs of too much or too little watering. It’s worth setting up a timed irrigation system because even a couple of days of forgotten watering can be disastrous in the Canberra summer. An automated system is especially helpful if the size of your garden makes it difficult to manage watering manually. Be sure to test out the water flow of your system and regularly check for holes or leaks both at the tap and the water lines.
6. Pests and diseases
Spring is the perfect time to inspect your garden for pests so try to do so regularly – weekly is ideal in order to keep nasties at bay. Check your garden beds, pots, plant stems and leaves for slugs, snails, aphids and larvae. In most cases a pest spray from your local gardening store will do the trick, or a good quality horticultural oil can also help keep plants pest and disease free. For stubborn pests and anything you’re unsure of, take some photos and head to your local nursery for some specialist advice.
7. Garden shed
When was the last time you gave your garden shed a good clean? If it’s been locked up over the winter, head outside and open it up to give it a good airing. Check your tools, gardening equipment and other household items for signs of wear, damage, dirt and rust. Give everything a good dust or wash and remove old soil, cobwebs and debris. Spend some time decluttering your shed and organise everything so it’s neat and easily accessible. Test tools and equipment to ensure everything is working as it should, including lawnmowers and electrical items such as drills. Make it a priority to replace or repair equipment where required so everything is ready to use when you need it.