The summer of 2018 is expected to bring with it warm weather and beautiful sunny afternoons. This year, more and more of us will find ourselves lounging in the garden, taking in the glory of the all too short-lived British summertime.
But not everyone looks forward to getting out in their garden.
Overgrown and under-cared for, many British gardens need a bit of TLC before the summer fun can really begin. And that is exactly why you are here, looking for those first-time gardening tips to help you get the most out of your outdoor space.
That, or perhaps you are looking for a hobby. Gardening is a great, calming and satisfying escape from the hectic modern lifestyle; not to mention it gets us outside and moving, a welcome break from a life where 90% of our time is spent indoors.
So, for those looking to spruce up their garden for the summer of 2018, or just those looking to try something new, here is our essential guide for novices, featuring our top first-time gardening tips.
Before You Start: Get the Equipment
You’ll need plenty of equipment to tend to a garden properly. If you don’t kit yourself out before you start, you’ll find you hit setbacks. Make sure you’ve at least got the basics of gardening ready for when your project begins. Here is our list of essential gardening equipment:
- Hand trowel and fork
- Watering can
- Garden waste bag
- Gardening gloves
The Number One Tip: Work From Good Foundations
It’s really tempting, when you’re excited about getting stuck into some good old-fashioned gardening, to just jump right in and start planting some colourful flowers, laying out rock displays and placing ornamentation.
But hold on.
Before you do anything, consider this: A builder wouldn’t build a house on crumbling foundations, so don’t sculpt your perfect garden over unhealthy ground. A previously neglected garden can hide all sorts of problems, from weed and vermin infestations to baron soil, decaying wood, rot and dead plants.
Dedicate time to making your garden fit for purpose. Cut away potential threats, fertilise ground, introduce nutrient-rich soil for flower beds and get your outdoor space up to scratch. Some gardens will need little in the way of attention, while others may need to be almost torn to pieces and rebuilt.
Whatever it takes to get your garden ready.
Get It Right With This First-Time Gardening Tip: Plan Your Garden
A great garden space is all about design. Plants thrown here and there don’t make for a good outdoor space. A vision for your garden is required if you want to craft an area that appeals. For hobbyist gardeners, it also adds to the satisfaction of a job well done, as good design results in a much more aesthetically pleasing space.
Get your ideas down before you start buying plants. Think about how you want your garden to look. Consider colours, flower bed density and introducing non-plant based elements like ornaments, decking, slate, gravel, etc.
You can design your garden any way you wish, but we recommend one of three methods:
- Mobile apps: Plenty of apps and software exist to help you visual space, place elements and customise your garden. These include Gardena, Pro Landscape and Garden Designer App.
- Pen and Paper: If you’ve got an eye for detail and a steady hand, hand-drawn plans can help you find the exact design you are looking for.
- Landscapers: If you are struggling to find a vision of the perfect garden and you would like to make your garden a proper investment, consider hiring landscaping experts for guidance.
What You Might Forget: Gardens Need Maintenance
Depending on how big your garden is, you may spend a weekend, a week, or even a month transforming it into something you can really be proud of; a space you want to spend time in and enjoy. But the work isn’t done.
A garden is a living organism. It’s a network of life that is constantly growing and changing. It’s not like a well-decorated room. You can’t just sit back, occasionally mow it and expect it to stay that way forever. Gardens need constant maintenance in order to remain the picturesque beauty you’ve crafted.
You’ll need to weed it and care for the plants with water, plant feed and new nutrient-rich soil. You’ll also need to watch out for rising threats like slugs and snails, prune overgrowth and keep woodwork treated.
You can do this yourself, or you can grab a gardener quote and see how much they’ll charge. Whatever you do, be sure you don’t forget this first-time gardening tip.
If you do, you’ll end up back at square one!