While most plants stop growing in winter, leaving your garden lacking colour and appeal, spring will be just around the corner in no time. The key to a stunning spring garden lies in the steps taken during the colder months. While it’s tempting to wait until the sun comes out again, it’s worthwhile to grab your gardening gloves and start the planning process immediately.
Getting a head start on your spring garden will reward you with colourful blooms and a tidy space to enjoy when the weather warms up. Here are 12 projects you should get started on before next spring.
Prepare Your Spring Garden
1. Assess Your Space
Start by taking a look around your garden and creating a vision for what you want the end result to look like. Take note of the areas that get the most sun, any existing structures and what the purpose of your backyard is. Consider where you or your family spend the most time and plan your ideal garden around this.
Decide what type of plants and trees you want to plant and where the best area to place them is. Determine the windiest areas of your space, as strong gusts can affect the growth and stability of certain plants. This will help you decide where to place different types of plants, considering their sunlight and water requirements.
2. Clear Your Space
Before winter is in full swing, give your garden a thorough clean-up. Rake up any fallen leaves, dead plants and other odds and ends you may have lying around. Keeping your garden clear of any debris can prevent pests and plant diseases from spreading.
Remove any dead or diseased branches from trees and bushes and clear out overgrowth around the base of your plants. This process will also improve the overall aesthetic of your garden.
3. Plant Spring Bulbs
It’s important to plant spring bulbs before the season starts. Plant your bulbs during autumn so they begin to flower in time for the warmer weather. Daffodils, tulips, allium, muscari, gallanthus and hyacinth are excellent choices as they thrive during the springtime. You can even mix and match different flowers to create a more vibrant and diverse garden.
Dig holes at the recommended depth for each bulb type, typically two to three times the bulb’s height. Add some fertiliser at the bottom of the hole to provide nutrients as the bulbs establish their roots. Ensure you space the bulbs according to the package instructions to avoid them competing for space.
4. Add Mulch
Mulching regulates soil temperature, retains moisture and keeps weeds at bay. Spread a layer of organic mulch over the soil surface, leaving a few centimetres around the base of your plants to prevent any rotting. You can purchase mulch in different colours to match the aesthetic of your yard.
5. Tidy Up Perennials
As autumn approaches, perennials begin to fade and die off. Trim back fading perennials to encourage healthy growth for the next season. Remove any dead stems and clear away foliage. This will give your yard a more well-manicured appearance and prevent diseases and pests from decaying plant material.
6. Choose Some Decorations
Decide if you want to elevate your space with some garden sculptures, colourful pots, ornamental sculptures or outdoor furniture. These decorations can add a personalised touch and create visual appeal, keeping your garden interesting. When choosing decorations, consider the overall style you want to go for and the durability of each piece.
7. Prune Your Bushes
Pruning your shrubs and bushes is crucial to maintaining their health and appearance. Remove dead and overgrown branches to prevent them from falling and creating a mess. Neaten up your bushes and shrubs by shaping them. Be careful not to over-prune, as this can reduce the plant’s ability to produce flowers or fruit.
8. Plant Seasonal Spring Vegetables
Homegrown produce is a wonderful addition to your garden. Plant early spring vegetables like lettuce, cabbage and broccoli as they grow well in cooler temperatures. Find the best areas to plant each and whether they’re better in the sun, shade or a pot.
Depending on your climate, you can start seeds indoors and move them when the weather changes or sow them directly in the garden. Follow the planting instructions on the seedling packets carefully.
Other vegetables that flourish in the spring include:
- Onion and shallots
Be sure to keep an eye on your vegetables as they grow, protecting them from frost or harsh weather conditions if necessary.
9. Look After Your Soil
Healthy soil is essential to a thriving garden. Test your soil’s pH balance and nutrient levels and make adjustments where necessary. Your soil should have a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0, which is neither acidic nor alkaline. However, some plants prefer a more acidic environment of 5.0, like garlic or blueberries.
Adding compost enriches the soil, improves drainage and provides essential nutrients to your plants. You can create your own compost at home using leaves and twigs you cleared up from your yard, coffee grounds and food scraps. Additionally, making your own compost minimises the need for fertilisers and pesticides.
10. Plant Hedges
Planting lush hedges is a convenient way to make your space more private without putting up a wall or fence that may ruin the look of your area. It is best to get this project underway during the colder months so you can enjoy your newfound privacy come spring.
11. Get Rid of Weeds
Weeding may seem like an ongoing task, but by taking the time to remove weeds before they go to seed, you can ensure that your garden is always well looked after. Weeding is an important part of maintaining and keeping your garden neat and tidy.
You can make the job quicker using a weeding tool rather than doing it by hand. Be sure to remove the entire root to prevent your weeds from regrowing, as even the smallest fragment can result in new weeds. It is also a great way to protect your plants from competing for resources.
12. Create Edges
Create defined edges along your flower beds and pathways to better structure and organise your garden. Use a spade or an edging tool to make clean lines between your lawn, pathways and garden areas. Manicuring your lawn enhances the visual appeal, helps contain plants and prevents them from creeping onto your flower beds.
Crisp edges give your garden a polished and well-maintained appearance, reducing overall maintenance in the long run. Stone edging is a popular and cost-effective way to keep your garden looking well-kept. You can also consider paving, fencing or adding some plants for a more refined look.
Rather than seeing winter as a chance to hibernate, view the colder days as the perfect opportunity to get a head start on your gardening. By taking the necessary steps to plan early, your spring garden can be ready to enjoy as soon as the warmth rolls around.
Rose Morrison is a home living writer with over five years experience writing in the industry. She is the managing editor of Renovated.com and loves to cover home renovations and decor to inspire everyone to live their best DIY life. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her baking something to satisfy her never-ending sweet tooth.