Keep your garden looking good this summer

The summer is a time of bloom: where everything grows a little bit bigger, a little bit faster. While careful planning in the spring can help prevent overgrowth and unsightly garden messes, many of us get a little too carried away in our springtime preparations for the summer. This isn't the end of the world, though. It's just a matter of doing a little bit of work now to ensure a garden is kept looking great throughout the season.

Top garden maintenance tips

Weed prevention

Weeds have quite a bit of negative press. While they do make things very unsightly in for our gardens, they're just miss located plants at their heart. They're generally seen as invasive, though - something that gardeners want to eradicate from their soils. Unfortunately, the complete elimination of weeds is impossible and gardeners won't stop them popping up from time to time, there are ways to ensure there are fewer places for them to grow in the first place.

The most common area for weeds to quickly establish themselves is bare patches of soil. They can be colonised by either annual or perennial weeds, so ensuring bare patches are filled will ensure thriving populations can be kept to an absolute minimum. Any gaps in a border should be plugged by planting ground covering plants or simple annuals.

Bare soil patches can also be treated with a mulch. This layer should be a thick layer of bark chippings, leaf mould, or manure in the spring. This will not only stop weeds from growing altogether, but it'll help saturate the soil with natural moisture that prepares it for lush growths in the summertime. Larger areas might not benefit from this approach. It is usually best to cover these with anti-weed landscaping material in order to prevent weeds from germinating in the sunlight.

Border weeds are a little trickier to deal with since they're able to survive for years in the soil before they see the perfect conditions to grow. They germinate at far lower temperatures, which allows them to set very quickly. Once they're detected in their earliest seedling stage, then they must be dealt with quickly: this will help prevent accidentally removing flower or vegetable seedlings after planting.

A border weed is best removed by hand since they're unlikely to have spread themselves too deeply within the garden. A hand fork can help lever perennial weeds, but it's important to thoroughly penetrate the soil in order to raise the root of the flower. Any remnants of root left behind can allow the weed to regrow. Similarly, the weed must be taken away from the soil and not just left in the garden to be cut up by a mower. This will just release the seed back into the garden and make the problem far, far worse.

Cutting grass

There are no two ways about it: grass will need to be cut on a regular basis in order to maintain the overall cosmetic appearance of a lawn. Fortunately, this needn't be as time-consuming of a chore as it once was. Electric mowers and even ride-on lawnmowers have made the task far easier than the original rotary cylinder's process. While the classic design is still suitable for smaller yards, more lengthy patches will require something a bit easier to manoeuvre.

Cutting the grass needn't be a sweet science either. It is important to go over the ground evenly to ensure a smooth finish. Walking in vertical lines up and down the lawn will ensure this, but will undoubtedly leave some unsightly growth around the edges of gardens and other features. This is where a trimmer or an edger comes into play. These devices will remove grass from these hard to reach areas, which finishes the look of a freshly cut lawn altogether.

It's important to remove grass clippings from the lawn, too. These sometimes prove to be a burn hazard when left out on particularly hot days. Placing grass clippings into a green bin helps move grass away from the newly cut lawn. Similarly, it will help reduce weed presence by removing any ground-level seeds away from the lawn.

Clearing debris

There's no reason for a garden to be an unsightly place. Making the time to pick up the heavier debris, like discarded chairs and toys, can be a great way to help revitalise the look of an unkempt garden. It'll also set the stage for the work to come. After all, you can't cut the grass if there are things in the way!