With garden parties and outdoor gatherings back on the cards, there's never been a better time to transform your outdoor spaces. But with the social calendar filling up and that long-awaited hair appointment swallowing up your free time – garden maintenance falls short on the list of priorities.
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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.
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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
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.
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2. Sow seeds
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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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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4. Clean your patio
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.
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