Your Ultimate Guide to Prepare Your Garden for Spring

Spring is all about starting over! This complete guide will banish the last signs of winter from your garden so you that can enjoy the fresh beauty of the new season.

When spring knocks, outdoor chores fall into three areas – gardening, tools, and structures. Garden chores involve clearing, pest removal and planting. Tool care looks at disinfecting items and repairs. Finally, a homeowner must also clean the shed, greenhouse and fix outdoor furniture and fences.  

Whether you are new to seasonal garden care or someone who has been running a tight ship for years, our guide can help to make this your most beautiful spring yet! 

Your Garden is Truly Special

If you love your garden, then you already know this! But seriously, every garden is unique and as such, there is no step-by-step formula that works for everybody. The key to success is to stay flexible and apply the most essential maintenance jobs in a way that suits your garden the best.

There is no need to feel overwhelmed by spring preparations. Just keep your eye on three main areas – the garden itself, tool repairs, and primping larger structures like garden furniture, buildings and borders. This guide provides you with a complete checklist for each area. 

preparations to start gardening

An Overview of Garden Tasks

  • Clean up.
  • Weed removal.
  • Composting.
  • Dealing with pests.
  • Lawn care.
  • Tidy up flower beds.
  • Start new flower beds.
  • Prepare your Spring veggies.
  • Mulch.
  • Prune your plants.
  • Install water butts.

An Overview of Tool Care

  • Why disinfection is a must.
  • Repairs.

An Overview of Garden Structure Chores.

  • Garden furniture care.
  • Decking.
  • Clean up pathways.
  • Clear out the greenhouse.
  • Spring clean the shed.
  • Check fences and walls.
  • DIY bits and bobs. 

Your Garden Checklist

How to Clean up Your Garden

This is perhaps the first major task that you need to do. Indeed, it might take you several days. So, what does cleaning a garden entail, really? Well, you might face a scraggly collection of plants waking up from winter and these need to be looked at.

Keep an eye out for anything that looks bad – that’s the rule! In other words, rake together all the leaves lying around and cut off dead branches. Remove old mulch from your beds, and stake plants to make them look neater. 

Don’t forget your pot plants. Stake them, remove unwanted weeds, and prune the plants back if they are overgrown. 

Remove Weeds

person removing weeds from garden by hand

This is another big task, especially if your spring routine started off a little late! Just like all other plants, weeds also receive a boost during this time and they pop up everywhere. But some species also grow all-year-round and if you did little to no gardening during the winter, then now is the perfect time to get rid of them.

Weeds can be removed by hand. But if that is your chosen method, make sure that you get the roots as well. Some weeds grow back when the roots remain behind. Otherwise, you can also rely on a commercial weed killer product.

Our review team selected these top weed killers. You can also learn how to stop your neighbour’s weeds from coming into your garden.

Compost Your Garden Waste

After you cleaned your yard and pulled out all of the weeds, what do you do with the small mountain of garden waste? Well, you can certainly create your own compost heap and recycle this waste back into your garden at a later date. 

Dealing with Spring Pests

The most common pests include slugs, snails, mites, weevils and perhaps even larger animals such as squirrels and cats. These critters can cause a lot of damage, especially when you grow valuable flowers or a vegetable garden.

The good news is that there are plenty of pest control products that do all the work for you. We do, however, advise that you choose an animal-friendly product. Such eco-friendly repellants will prevent your own pets and children from accidentally ingesting something they shouldn’t. 

Here are the best cat repellants.

How to Care for Your Lawn

a man moving the lawn

The first goal is to get rid of all the loose debris. Pick up sticks, stones, leaves and other things that don’t belong there. Once your lawn is cleared, spring is the best time to scarify the ground to add some new life to the soil.

Other chores include adding a good, organic lawn fertilizer and you can also take the opportunity to level uneven areas and cover them with grass seed.

Flower Beds

The aim here is to care for your existing beds and start new ones. Existing areas need to be cleared of dead plants and weeds as well as old mulch. Tidy up the flower beds by getting rid of other ground debris like leaves, pebbles and fallen twigs.

Now is also the time to start fresh flower beds (or other types of plant beds). Look around your garden to see where you can add some and then simply prepare the soil in the new beds and plant your seeds. 

Spring Veggies

a row of beetroot in a home vegetable garden

When early spring arrives, so does the opportunity to grow some amazing veggies! Prepare your patch by removing all old roots, plants, and debris. Work in a natural fertilizer and create rows or beds for the different types of vegetables. 

Just some amazing suggestions for you:

  • Onions.
  • Carrots.
  • Beetroot.
  • Leeks.
  • Lettuce.
  • Peas.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Spinach.
  • Swiss chard.

Up for an adventure? Learn how to grow vegetables in water without soil.

Mulch

Mulching is a gardener’s best friend – well, if you want to save time and water, that is! By adding mulch to your plants you don’t have to waste hours fighting those weeds or adding more water. A layer of good mulch helps with moisture retention for your plants while also preventing weeds from growing. 

The best time to mulch is mid to late spring and you can do this with your flower beds, vegetable garden and even pot plants. 

  1. Remove all the weeds.
  2. Water the area beforehand.
  3. Add a layer of mulch, taking care not to smother low growth on your plants. 

Top Tip: A biodegradable mulch will also act as a long-term feeder. As it decomposes over time, your plants will enjoy an extra boost, reducing the need for fertilizer.

Prune Your Plants

a hand pruning a rose

Only certain types of plants need a snip in spring. One of the most well-known is, of course, roses! Here you need to do some homework and find out which of your plants need a good haircut right now. 

The best time to prune is early in the season just before new growth appears. You must also remove all dead parts including flowerheads, leaves, and branches. 

Consider Using Water Butts

A water butt is any container that collects rainwater. You simply attach it to your roof’s drainpipe and use the water for your garden. This nifty idea saves water which is a precious resource. You also do not have to pay a cent to use this type of water. 

If you don’t already have a water butt, strongly consider adding one or two to your property. Many homeowners exclusively use butt water to keep their gardens lush and green!

Your Tool Care Checklist

a dirty set of gardening tools

Checking the status of your tools is a must during this time. Most garden tools sit idle the entire winter and that is not really ideal. When not in use, especially for weeks at a time, some tools develop rust or other problems that can damage the appliances when you suddenly use them again. 

Why Disinfection is a Must

Dirty gardening tools can spread plant diseases. Even if you just rake the grass or scarify your veggie patch, nasty micro-organisms can hide in the soil until the time is right to attack your lawn or tomatoes. It is essential to clean all your gardening tools before you use them again for the first time after winter. 

One of the simplest ways is to use a chlorine bleach solution. Take note that the solution is only effective for about two hours, so make a fresh batch when you need to. To make a batch, mix one part bleach to nine parts water and soak the tool for 30 minutes. 

Repairs

Luckily, most garden tools do not need repairs after their winter vacation. Things like rakes, spades, saws and other hand tools generally survive without damage and just need to be sterilized and cleaned before use. 

But electrical equipment and power tools might have parts that need oiling or their wiring got nibbled by a mouse. Always test such tools in the safest manner possible and repair any problems that come to light.

Your Garden Structures Checklist

outdoors furniture and garden shed

In this section, we will look at non-living garden stuff! In other words, your shed, greenhouse, fence, and other property features that will appreciate a spring facelift. 

Furniture

Most garden furniture consists of items like benches, chairs and tables. The most popular materials include wood, plastic and metal. Let’s see which care tips suit your type of garden furniture. 

  • Wood – Paint with good weatherproof paint or clear treatment if you want to keep the natural look. This will protect the furniture from rain, UV and time.
  • Plastic – Wipe your furniture down with a wet cloth and soapy water. 
  • Metal – Get rid of rust and apply anti-corrosion paint.

Decking

Spring is the perfect time to give your decking a decent coat of oil. There are specific oils that are formulated to bring out the stunning beauty of the wood whilst also protecting it against the weather (UV, heat, rain) and common problems like mould, algae and burrowing insects.

We recommend these top decking oils.

Trim Those Pathways

If your garden has pathways and perhaps a driveway that winds into the property, then spring will undoubtedly present you with a few overgrown edges! Keep your eye on the prize (which is that lovely trimmed look of a well-manicured lawn) and cut the grass along these borders. You can use an edge trimmer or a string trimmer to do the job.

Clear out the Greenhouse

a greenhouse undergoing spring cleaning

This is also one of the biggest chores homeowners face when spring arrives, so feel free to break up the chores over the course of the next few days. But whether you dedicate a whole day or week to scrubbing your greenhouse, you won’t regret it! When your greenhouse is sparkling clean, your plants have the best environment to grow.

Add most or all of the following to your To-Do list!

  • Temporarily remove all of the plants.
  • Brush or vacuum the interior.
  • Wash the structural components with detergent.
  • Wash the windows.
  • Clean glazing material.
  • Remove dirt from small spaces (for example, between the panes).
  • Disinfect your tools and propagation area.

Clean the Shed

You can pretty much expect the same routine with your shed. Remove all the items inside – yes, it’s a bother but it will make the cleaning go faster and you’ll do it more thoroughly. Once everything is outside, give the interior of the shed a good sweep to get rid of dust, floor debris, wall dirt and cobwebs.

Other chores involve washing the windows, repairs, and ultimately, a coat of the best shed paint to protect your little house against the ravages of the coming summer. 

Check Fences or Walls

a wooden and brick fence

Both fences and walls can do with weatherproof paint, especially if they are made out of wood. But the goal is to check for problems like holes, mould, dampness, and broken pieces. These need to be fixed before the fence can be painted. If you have climbing plants decorating your borders, then trim off all dead branches to make them look as good as new!

Learn how to clean a fence before staining.

DIY Bits and Bobs

In conclusion, take a final good look around your garden and make a list of all the repair work that you can do. Gaze up at the gutters, perhaps your house needs a painting job or that manhole cover needs decoration (check out how to disguise your drain covers). 

Good luck and we hope that your garden turns out amazing!

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About the Author Dale Richardson

Love doing DIY and renovating my house. When I'm not doing that or working on this website, I love cooking, playing computer games and playing/watching football.