Simplify Your Garden Maintenance With These Eight Tips

Does your beautiful garden turn into an alien landscape by the middle of summer?  Why not use some expert tricks to keep maintenance to a minimum?  Yes, you have to invest a couple of weekends in the beginning but the pay off is a place to relax, entertain your friends and add to your home’s well kept appearance with a minimum of effort.

  • Develop a garden plan – Your plan can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.  It’s purpose is to give a sense of direction to your gardening efforts.  Your plan will help you realize that even if some things have to be put off until next year, they will come eventually.  This step alone reduces the stress of creating an outdoor living space.  What do you want this space to be like?  Is it for outdoor entertaining or simply a place to relax after a busy day?  Your master plan will help your make quality “easy care” purchasing decisions when it’s time to shop.
  • When choosing your garden’s hard surfaces, consider future maintenance.  Are you starting with a deck or a cement patio?  By developing the seating area first, you can begin to use the area even before the rest of the garden is finished.  If the deck or patio is already installed, does it need to be refinished? Sealing it will prolong it’s life and keep it cleaner. Remember, a little care now can add years to its life.  If you are starting with bare ground, you might prefer a greener option.  A patch of lawn looks nice but remember that it will need ongoing care.  If your site is very shady, another option is to install patio blocks with a low growing moss between them.  It’s an attractive option that doesn’t need constant mowing.
  • Define your planting areas.  Do you need to add trees?  If so, the sooner the better because each year will increase their usefulness.  Don’t forget to consider the density of the shade they will produce, their mature height and if they are very messy.  Some flowering specimens are beautiful but do better in the corner of your landscape where you don’t have to deal with dropping blossoms or seed pods in your seating area.
  • Now consider the planting beds themselves.  If the ground is very compacted, it is worth it to rent a tiller or have someone do it for you.  Have your soil tested for ph and adjust if necessary.  This is a good time to have organic matter and compost worked in as well.  The better your soil is, the more successful your future gardening efforts will be.  Once the beds are ready, plant permanent greenery that will become the backdrop for your seasonal additions.  This is one of the secrets to having gardens that don’t require starting from scratch each year.  Once a permanent bush is planted, you can easily add color with flowering plants in front of it.
  • Plan to water – Not all of us can afford an automatic watering system but you can simplify your watering task.  Even if you can’t afford timers this year, you might be able to set up a pvc sprinkler system that can be manually operated.  Doing so will give you better water coverage and simplify the task.  Timers can be added when your budget allows.  If that is outside your budget and you have to rely on a hose and sprinkler system, consider adding separate hoses for each area that you have to water.  A simple shutoff splitter will direct the water where it’s needed without having to reposition the hose each time.  You are more likely to stay up with needed watering if all you have to do is turn a valve.
  • Put landscape fabric under your mulch.  Some people use strips of plastic but unless you poke holes in it, the rain can’t penetrate.  Other people use newspapers, whatever you choose, putting mulch on top of a weed barrier keeps weeds from taking over your garden.  If any do sprout, you will find that they have shallow root systems and pull out easily.  Along with this, add permanent edging.  It not only defines the edges of your flower beds, but also helps to keep grass from creeping into them.
  • Pick tables and chairs that are weatherproof and easy to clean.  If you are in an area that gets a lot of rain, add a garden chest where chair cushions can be kept clean until you need them.
  • Choose a garden statue over a fountain.  Both add charm and help to give your garden an established look but fountains need to be cleaned weekly.  If you want something that makes soothing sounds, try larger windchimes that ring in a lower note.

Summer Garden Maintenance

Summer is a time to sit out in the garden and enjoy the features that you have created; the beautiful flowers that bloom, the well maintained lawn, the soothing water features. But, there is still some work to be done to keep all these features looking their best. Don’t worry; it’s not too much work. Just enough to protect what you have created form the elements. A very hot and dry spell can do a lot of damage to a garden. Here are some tasks which you may need to carry out:

July jobs:

• Make sure birds have water in dry weather. Birds are very important to the gardener’s environment. It may not always seem so (i.e. when they are raiding your fruits) but they do have their place in the natural order of things.

• Keep young plants and bedding fed and watered. Young, fast growing plants need energy sustenance to achieve their full potential.

• Deadhead flowers as they fade. It is important to make way for new growth, and also for appearances sake. There is nothing worse than having dead flowers on display in your garden.

• Prune shrubs that flower in early summer. This will encourage new growth and will also provide a platform for the new blooms. • Plant your autumn flowering bulbs. Get them in now and water them well. Don’t forget to keep an eye on them during the warm weather to come as you don’t want them to suffer from a lack of water.

• Pinch out runner beans as they reach the top of their canes

• Make plans for someone to water your garden if you go away on holiday. You don’t want to come back to a barren wasteland when you have put so much effort into getting your garden looking great.

August jobs:

• Keep ponds topped up – if you have a water feature in your garden the natural heat during the mid to late summer months will have an effect on the water levels. There will be a lot of evaporation and there may even be other factors involved such as animals drinking from the water feature. Both of these will reduce the water levels beyond what is needed to sustain, not only the appearance, but the effectiveness of the water feature to sustain whatever plant and fish/animal life live in the water feature environment. If possible top up with rainwater as using tap water, which is full of nutrients, can encourage the growth of algae.

• Water plants as they need it – keep an eye on plants and if you notice them wilting or drooping then apply water and watch the life return to them. Don’t overdo it as you can drown some plants.

• Trim hedges – cut back in late summer to prepare for the new growth in the spring.

• Prune back rambling roses, and trim lavender as it fades

• Mow grass less frequently if the weather is hot and dry. If you cut grass too short in this type of weather you may lose it.

Garden Maintenance Service, What Should You Expect to Pay!

PRICES AND WHAT TO EXPECT.

OK so you have a garden, you are very busy with work and you may also have kids, so you can’t find the time to attend to the garden and do the essential lawn cutting and weed control, and before you know it the garden looks like a jungle with weeds and long grass, by this point you will be stressing out thinking how am I going to sort this garden out?

First thing that will come to mind is a GARDEN SERVICES COMPANY.

So how to find a local gardener?

1. Google

2. Local papers

3. Ask friends and family

So you are now searching for a gardener, always try to have 2-3 garden maintenance companies to come and give you a free quotation, once they arrive ask the few questions about thee company and also if they would kindly offer some recent customer references this way you can call the client and find out from them about the gardening company and how good their garden services are.

Now how to choice which gardening company to go with, maybe you could go with the cheapest? or the most well spoken? or the most well turned out?

FACT is you just have to go with your instinct, as they say you pay cheap you get cheap so find out what you will receive with the price you have been given

Example

1. How often will they visit with the monthly price?

2. What does the price include (lawn cutting, weed removal, lawn treatment, plant treatment etc etc)?

3. Is there contract? if so can you cancel at any time?

Using these easy steps will make your decision that little bit easier.

Maybe you can also ask for 1 month trial basis were they would visit for one month and then you could decide to enter the contract, but this can be a long process, because if they don’t live up to expectations you would need to again call out 2-3 garden services providers and repeat the process, saying that this way you are more likely to find that perfect gardener in your local area.

Once you have chosen your gardener ask friends and family if they would be interested in receiving and garden maintenance service from your gardener and sometimes the gardening company will give you discount for referrals.

These are a few local based gardening companies which could maybe provide you with a guide line price and what to expect with the prices.