If you are lucky enough to have a garden with your home, you will know what a brilliant space a garden can be when utilised effectively.
This year’s lockdown saw a huge uptake in people taking a keen interest in their gardens, dabbling with landscape gardening and general tidying and maintenance. Yet as we go back to a sense of normality, it is important to remember that having a nice, usable garden should not just be a passing fad. With regular maintenance, your garden will serve as a great outdoor space for the family to enjoy, the entire year around.
Benefits to Garden Maintenance
There are a number of compelling reasons why regular garden maintenance is important, from aesthetics, to saving money, to extending the lifespan of your garden.
Gardens are often seen as an extension of your home, with it often being a key place for socialising, especially in today’s climate. When your garden is overgrown or neglected, your garden can become an unappealing outdoor space that detracts from the appeal of your home. This negative impact is even more present if you have a front garden that may not have been given enough TLC. Your front garden is likely to be the very first thing that visitors will see. Undoubtedly you will therefore want to make sure that you garden gives the right impression of you, your family, and your property.
If your garden is fairly clean and tidy, regular garden maintenance is still vital to avoid a dull, dying, or wilting appearance. Depending on the type of soil that is in the area that you live, you may need to regularly replenish the nutrients in your soil. You can do this by fertilising your lawn every few months. This will keep your lawn looking bright, fresh, and very much alive.
The chances are that you have windows which look out onto your garden. No one wants to see a messy, unkept garden every day if it can be helped! By planting seasonal flowers, trees and grasses in your garden helps to improve the overall look and feel of the garden, giving you an aesthetically pleasing outdoor space that you can enjoy and be proud of. As well as looking like a good outdoor area, regular garden maintenance also serves a practical purpose for families.
Creating a Safe Space For Families
Gardens are wonderful for both children and adults to enjoy and play in, however they do come with risks. Every single year, 125,000 children are killed or injured in gardening accidents. By partaking in regular garden maintenance, you can ensure that your children and family are safe and happy in your garden.
By trimming back your borders often, you can help to reduce any scratches or scrapes from any sharp plants. Sharp leaves and thorns can very easily become entangled in children’s clothes, hair and can even scratch their faces. Maintaining these borders is especially important, as shrubs tend to be the perfect height for small children to get tangled in. You should make sure that children know what plants are safe or unsafe, pointing out any especially sharp plants such as pampas grass.
Trimming your plants and borders have additional benefits also. When the lawn gets mowed regularly, and hedges are trimmed, it can reduce the risk of pests. When the plants and hedges along the back of your garden wall or fence are left to overgrow, they quickly become an ideal home for pests and vermin such as rats.
Sweeping out dead leaves, fallen seeds or fruit, and preening the back areas of your garden helps to reduce the appeal for any vermin. When fallen natural material is allowed to gather, it can become mouldy, and provides a brilliant food source for rats and other vermin. You should also check this area regularly as it is a prime area for litter and debris to collect.
With repeated maintenance throughout the year, no matter the season, you will be able to create and keep a clean, safe, and happy environment for your family.
Whilst you may initially think that regular garden maintenance will do the absolute opposite of saving you money, especially if you are hiring a professional but this is not the case. Leaving your garden to grow out of control, can actually lead to serious damage, with the cost of rectifying your garden issues costing substantially more than regular professional maintenance.
When a garden is allowed to overgrow, there are several structures that can be damaged as a result. If you have a wooden fence or wall around your garden, overgrown weeds and plants can very quickly cause damage. Plants are rather resilient, and will grow in any cracks, crevices or gaps in the wall or fence. When this happens, the wall or fence will lose it’s structural integrity. This can lead walls to crumble and can cause fences to be irreparable when the weeds or plants are finally removed.
The cost of replacing a fence or wall can go up into the thousands, and it is obviously not an expense that you will want to pay, especially when it could have been avoided. Regular garden maintenance will help prevent this from happening, and it will ensure that your garden stays manageable and controlled.
As mentioned above, controlling the weeds in your garden is very important in keeping your garden as a happy, clean, and safe area. Weeds are notoriously rather annoying, sprouting up wherever and whenever they please! They can wreak all sorts of havoc for your plants, from stealing their food, to blocking sunlight.
When weeds show up in your garden, they can suck up the nutrients from the soil, leaving your plants with little nourishment to grow. The soil is full of nutrients, but when weeds are packed in between other crops, there is of course less to be shared around, leaving your plants to wilt and even die. With regular checks, and monthly weeding, your lovely plants will continue to be healthy, and rich in nutrients, allowing them to truly thrive.
As well as those pesky weeds stealing nutrients from other plants, they can also block out sunlight from reaching your crops or flowers. Weeds grow much faster and more aggressively than other plants, and if left untouched, they begin to block out the valuable sunlight that your garden plants require to thrive and survive.
Blocking out the sunlight also means that weeds can create micro-climates for your plants. This is where one small area of the garden has a different temperature to the rest of the garden. With weeds, they can often cause your garden plants to become too cool in the mornings and evenings throughout the spring and autumn. Regularly weeding will prevent this from being an issue, and it will help your garden to look nicer in the process!
Increase Property Value
Many people underestimate how much value a well-maintained garden can add to the price of a home. A garden that is neat, attractive and usable can be a huge draw to any potential buyers, adding as much as 20% to the value of your home. With a touch of regular maintenance, your garden will be a total money pot in absolutely no time!
If you are looking at putting your house on the market, and haven’t done much regular maintenance for your garden, we have put together a few steps on how to boost your garden’s buyer appeal.
- Mow The Lawn – Freshly cutting your lawn instantly smartens up your garden, without the need for much time or effort! Of course, you should do this regularly, as mowing your lawn when the grass is overgrown can cause your mower to jam and can take substantially longer to cut the grass.
- Weed – Even if you don’t have any plants in your borders or beds, weeding these areas will make them look tidy, and shows new buyers that the borders and beds are ready to go. If you have any patio, or decking, you should take additional care to weed between these cracks. If the weeds are allowed to grow, they can be extremely difficult to remove and you may have to result to chemicals or special tools.
- Security -Many people have a shed in their garden. Sheds are a great selling point for houses, with 82% of estate agents agreeing that a decent sized shed adds the most value to a property in comparison to other garden additions. Make sure that the shed is functional, able to lock and has windows that are intact. Regularly give your shed a once-over so that you avoid any unwanted expenses if you have to fix your shed.
Control Pests and Diseases
As mentioned above, pests can be a real problem for your garden. When debris and dead natural material is left to gather in your garden, it can lead to a whole host of issues.
Rats tend to take a particular liking to the back walls and fences of gardens, often settling and making homes there. This of course becomes a problem as rats can carry numerous diseases and bugs that can easily spread to your pets, such as fleas. As well as this, rat wee can be very toxic, meaning that you must take additional care of your garden in order to prevent rats from making your back garden their home!
When weeds are allowed to grow, they can spread diseases to your healthy crops and plants. Weeds carry diseases that can be passed from the weed to your crops by insects feeding first on the weeds, particularly by insects that feed by sucking plant juices such as aphids. This can cause your entire garden to die in some cases, destroying your hard work and luscious outdoor living space. This can be avoided with regular weeding.
What Garden Maintenance Should I Do?
There are lots of reasons why garden maintenance is so important, from saving you money, making your house more sellable, and keeping your children safe. We know that it is something that we should all do, but how must we go about maintaining our gardens? We have put together a comprehensive list of tasks that you could do, and how often you should do this in order to keep your garden in tip-top shape.
In the summer you should water your garden every single day where possible, sometimes even twice a day in especially hot weather. It is best to water your plants in the morning, as it prevents mould or certain diseases from growing on your plants. If you have vegetable plants, you should make sure that you water them in accordance to their growing needs.
It is also vitally important to make sure that you water the flower and vegetable beds, not the leaves. This is for two main reasons: on hot days, water on the leaves can burn the plant and damage their ability to do effective photosynthesis. When this happens, your plants may struggle to bloom and can even die. You should also avoid watering the leaves of the plant as it can both damage the leaves, and cause mould growth on them. You can use a rose head watering can, to help avoid any accidental damage to the leaves.
When the weather is not quite so sunny, you should aim to water your garden twice a week.
As we have learnt, weeding is a key aspect of garden maintenance, with weeds causing havoc throughout your garden if left untreated. You should aim to give your garden a quick weed every 2 weeks.
When you do weeding in your garden, you should be sure to try and remove the weeds from the root. You can do this with a weeding trowel or just by giving the weed a gentle tug. Where roots remain, weeds will grow!
If you have areas in your garden where weeds are incredibly persistent, you should apply an anti-weed solution. This should not be a regular part of your garden maintenance routine, as it can cause unwanted damage to the plants that you do wish to keep. An alternative to spraying weeds with lots of chemicals, is to use mulch. When you have removed the weeds as well as you can, apply mulch to the area. The mulch helps to prevent the weed seeds from sprouting and prevents the weeds from returning.
Mow the Lawn
Mowing the lawn is essential to keeping your garden looking neat and tidy. It gives your garden an instant facelift and helps to prevent weeds and moss from growing in your lawn.
Depending on how fast your grass grows and the climate you are living in does depend on how often you should mow your lawn. For most typical British gardens, you should aim to mow your lawn every 2-3 weeks.
During the summer however, you can relax slightly on the mowing! Your lawn can very easily dry out in warm weather, leaving your garden lawn looking patchy and yellow. If you are lucky enough to expect weather of 25°C or above, your grass will need to be left to grow slightly longer. If the grass is cut too short in these summer temperatures, the soil can dry out and crack. You should aim to cut your grass no shorter than 5cm, although we are not expecting you to get your ruler out to be sure!
Every time that you are in your garden is a perfect time to do some tidying, however we know that this is not always the case. Try and spend an hour once a month just giving your garden a quick tidy up. You should pick up any rubbish and sweep up any fallen leaves. Use this time to inspect any fencing or furniture that you may have to check for damage.
Fertilising the Soil
Although the plants in your garden are fairly self-sustainable, there is not an endless abundance of nutrients in the soil. If you want your crops to grow as strong as possible, you should replenish the nutrients in your soil on a regular basis. A good idea is to fertilise the soil in the spring, before you plant new crops, and in the summer, before the plants bloom.
As mentioned before, untrimmed shrubs and plants can lead to nasty cuts and scratches, especially for children. It is also highly beneficial for your plants.
When dead heads appear, you should trim and preen these off to help the plant grow and rebloom. You should also trim the plants and shrubs along the border in order to keep an attractive shape, and to prevent cuts and scratches.
Try and aim to trim the plants in your garden every 2-2 weeks with a pair of preening sheers. Get into the habit of mowing your lawn, and then trimming your garden as one process. This will help you to remember to trim your plants regularly.
Planting is crucial to having a long-lasting garden and is often the most enjoyable part of garden maintenance.
The times when you should plant is dependant on the crops that you are growing. Some vegetables need planting in the middle of winter, whereas others may need planting right at the end of the summer. Make sure that you read up on the plants that you want to grow, so that you are aware of the best time to plant them.
For most plants, April is the best time to do the planting. This is after the winter frost has gone but is before the weather begins to get too warm. Although most planting will take place once or twice throughout the year, it is a vital part of long-term garden maintenance.
During the lockdown earlier this year, many of us rediscovered a love for gardening. The garden also became one of the only places where we could meet safely with family and friends. A new-found appreciation for our gardens and outdoor spaces was found, and it should not be forgotten!
From protecting your plants from diseases to adding value to your property, there are a plethora of benefits to garden maintenance. By investing a small amount of time and effort, both you and your garden will reap the rewards, hopefully leading to your next-door neighbours having major garden envy.