Essential winter gardening jobs involve looking back and thinking ahead. What went well last year? Where is there room for improvement? In this article we’re sharing tips on planning for a lower maintenance summer garden.
Don't spend your whole summer gardening. Get well prepared in winter time and you'll have much lower maintenance in the warmer months.
2018 saw beautiful and productive gardens ruined by a lack of rainfall. Don’t be caught out this year. Get yourself some water buts that can collect winter rain from the roof and store it in case of drought.
Watering the garden is hard work, especially in hot weather. The work is never-ending when all you want to do is find a shady spot and put your feet up. Anything you can do now to save time in summer will be a bonus. Drip irrigation is fabulous and well worth the investment.
If you have some spare budget you might even want to think about a rain garden.
Improve the soil
Soil is the key to garden maintenance. If your soil is deep, friable, water retentive (but not soggy) and kept topped up with nutrients it will serve you well.
Healthy soil will help reduce the amount of gardening you need to do - it almost looks after the garden for you!
If your garden soil is low nutrient and inclined to be free draining, you have two choices. Either: grow wildflowers because they love impoverished soil. Or: improve the soil.
Ways to improve soil quickly include digging in some top quality topsoil or choosing to grow your plants in raised beds filled with something like Ecoearth. Ecoearth has been developed by the team at Stewarts Turf to meet the needs of Scottish gardeners. It’s a blend of green compost, soil and minerals. Gardeners love it, landscapers love it, and more importantly, plants thrive in it.
Mulch beds and borders
Maybe summer 2018 was a one-off or maybe it’s a sign of things to come. Either way, mulching your beds and borders will help lower maintenance.
A good thick layer of mulch will
- Supress weed growth – less weeding for you
- Encourage hedgehogs and bug-eating birds to visit your garden – less pest control for you
- Keep the soil moist and conserve water – less watering for you
- Protect roots and flower bulbs from frost – more plants survive the winter
- Break down over time and add body to the soil – healthier soil
The very best thing about mulching is that you can do it at any time of year. So on a cold sunny day in midwinter, you could spend an hour or so piling woodchips or bark around your trees and shrubs. Do it in February and you’ll have a lower maintenance garden in summer.
Lose that weedy mossy lawn
Lawncare is like housework. If you keep on top of it, it really isn’t too much like hard work. If, however things get out of control, it’s hard work to bring a mossy, weedy lawn back up to a high standard.
You won’t be surprised to hear that at Stewarts Turf, we’re passionate about lawns. Every garden should have one, simply because there are so many benefits to a well-kept lawn.
Who can resist going barefoot on a beautiful lawn like this?
If your lawn is making you a lot of work because it’s full of moss and weeds, peppered with baldy bits and generally weak and wan, you need to take action NOW.
There’s lots of lawncare advice on our blogs on how to renovate a tired lawn. However, if you want your lawn to look really special this summer, the easiest way to achieve that is to re-turf.