With a season of garden parties and outdoor gatherings approaching, there's never been a better time to transform our outdoor spaces. But if you find that your busy social calendar doesn't allow much free time for mowing the lawn or tending to plants, it doesn't mean you can't get your garden spick and span in time for the summer.
Green thumbs and plant lovers alike will know that gardens are long-term projects. The key is to maintain smaller jobs, often and be patient with results. If you start with smaller tasks now, you'll thank yourself when you have a beautiful blooming garden to entertain in later this summer. Luckily, all these jobs take less than an hour, and can have a huge impact on your outdoor space.
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To help inspire you to dig out your pruning gloves, Calum Maddock, gardening expert at HomeHow.co.uk, has shared his tips on how you can transform your garden in an hour or less.
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1. Prune hedges in under an hour
Overgrown hedges can easily become a nuisance and create large patches of shade – not ideal when you've spent a year indoors. Pruning your hedges is vital to prevent dead and dying branches from harming nearby plants and people. This can take up to an hour depending on the size, but regular trims will maintain a neat look.
Be mindful of birds nesting in your hedges before starting your pruning session - nesting season usually from March to August.
Davaon Pro Seceuters, £21.99, Amazon
2. Sow seeds in minutes
Growing your own vegetables is a fun and sustainable way to transform your outdoor space. It’s a quick, inexpensive and fun way to grown new hardy flowers or vegetables and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Potatoes, peas and strawberries are easy to start with if you don’t have experience – the perfect crops for summer salads and smoothies! Pick up seeds online, or from your local garden centre and follow the step-by-step guide on the packet.
All you need is the basic requirements for germination: warmth, moisture and oxygen. Most flowers and vegetables need a warm, sheltered area that attracts the sun, as this keeps the compost moist.
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3. Water your plants in a few minutes
Before you roll your eyes, watering is actually a more complicated task than it seems. Get it right, and your garden will thank you with beautiful blooming flowers and lush green grass. Forget to do it, or over water, and you could end up with a very dead outdoor space.
Before watering your plants, use your finger to check if the soil is moist, watery or dry. Cactus and succulents are the only plants that survive with infrequent watering. Plants in containers will need more watering than those in borders.
Plants depend on even moisture, keeping consistent with your timings will promote root growth. As a rule of thumb, water-cooled soil in the evening as opposed to in the day when less water will evaporate.
A quick tip for thirsty plants such as tomatoes is to bury a flowerpot alongside it. Once filled with the water, it will soak down into the soil.
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Duck Egg Blue Watering Can, £19.99, Amazon
4. Clean your patio in one hour
Decluttering your patio or rearranging your seating area will refresh your entire outdoor space! Callum recommends moving all your pots and furniture to one side and brush away debris with a thin bristle brush.
To remove all traces of dirt, mix soap and water or patio cleaner and scrub all over for a clean finish. If your patio has weeds, spray weed killer or boiling water directly onto them. Avoid prising them out otherwise more weeds will have space to grow.
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5. Remove tired plants
Unfortunately, even the most experienced of green thumbs get dead, tired plants every now and again. If you have old shrubs or flower plants that need reviving, don’t be afraid to remove them. Old looking plants can have a negative impact on the entire look of your garden.
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Weed killers will help you eliminate as many unwanted plants as you have, ensure you read the labels to see which product will work best for you. Avoid ripping the plants out of the ground as you will deprive your soil microbes of a good meal and reduce your long-term soil fertility.
6. Sort your fences quickly
Finish any DIY projects you've been putting off with this Black & Decker drill. From putting up fences to securing gutters in place, your garden will have an amazing transformation. This battery-powered model gives you the flexibility to drill wherever you need to, meaning you won't be restricted by a pesky wire or lack of power sockets.
Black + Decker Hammer Drill, £99, AO.com
The hammer action makes light work of hard surfaces too, like brick and concrete, so putting up shelves or hanging outdoor flower baskets has never been easier.
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