Want to make your garden look nicer, fast? Want to do it on a budget? Now, more than ever, we want to make our gardens a lovely place to be. But what can you do if your garden is looking less than inspiring – how quickly can you make a nice garden? Just a few simple steps can make a massive difference, and add colour and interest to your garden. Starting in mid-spring (April-May), you can transform your garden for this summer. It’s easy to do and you can do it on a budget – you don’t need to buy lots of new plants or tools. Follow our simple guide to a beautiful garden in just weeks.
Week one: buy seeds and bulbs online
Annual flowers are easy to grow from seed and are a great way to quickly liven up your flowerbeds and pots – you can even grow climbers from seed to cover bare walls and fences. And for guaranteed wow, nothing beats lilies and other summer-flowering bulbs. You could also grow some vegetables or herbs, for tasty pickings this summer. Buy seeds and bulbs online in April-May and you can look forward to flowers in weeks.
- Where to buy plants and seeds online
- Easy flowers from seed
- Climbers from seed
- Best summer-flowering bulbs
Week two: start sowing and planting
Hopefully, your seeds and bulbs have started to arrive, and May is a great time to sow seeds direct outside into the ground, so you don’t even need pots or compost. Before you sow or plant anything outside, make sure you remove any weeds. May is also your last chance to plant summer-flowering bulbs. You can plant them straight in the ground, or plant lilies or other summer-flowering bulbs in large containers – they’ll make a vibrant display, perfect for your patio.
Week three: get a greener lawn
A vibrant green lawn will make the whole garden look smarter, give kids somewhere to play and adults somewhere to relax. If your lawn is looking worse for wear, a little attention in spring will soon have it looking greener. Mow it regularly once it’s actively growing – usually April onwards. When you don’t have time to mow it, at least trim the edges – that will make it look neater. For lusher, more vigorous growth, give your lawn a feed. General lawn fertilisers are ideal for use April-August, but after August be sure to use an autumn feed. Dig out weeds and fill in any bare patches with seed – grass seed will soon germinate in warm weather in spring or autumn.
- 12 lawn mowing tips
- How to get rid of lawn weeds
- How to repair lawn patches
- What lawn feed should I apply
Week four: look out for seedlings
If you sowed annual flower or veg seeds in April-May, they should start germinating around two to three weeks later. Use our weed seedling identifier to help you spot which are your seedlings and which are weeds, so you know which to pull up. Protect your seedlings from slugs and snails, which love to munch their way through tender young plants. If you’re growing lilies, look out for little red beetles and pick them off before they eat your plants. And if you sowed seeds indoors, be sure to harden them off before planting out in the garden in May-June.
- Weed seedling identifier
- How to control slugs and snails
- How to get rid of lily beetles
- How to harden off plants
Week five: smarten up your patio
Giving your patio or deck a spring clean can make it look almost new – use a stiff-bristled brush or a pressure washer. Give you garden furniture a good clean too, and tighten up any screws that have come loose. To give furniture a fresh lease of life, you could paint it a bright new colour. If your garden furniture is beyond repair, or you don’t have any, you could make your own – a homemade bench is easy and can be made to fit your space. Don’t wait until summer to buy your garden furniture, or you may find it’s sold out.
Week six: encourage wildlife
June is a great time to spot lots of bees and butterflies in your garden, and to plant a few extra pollinator-friendly plants, to provide the nectar and pollen they need. You could also help children to identify the wildlife they see around the garden – you could encourage them to create a chart to keep track of everything they’ve spotted.
Week seven: water and feed
Watering is crucial, while plants are in active growth. To save you time and avoid wasting water, it’s important to water effectively – you’ll have healthier plants as a result too. Ideally, water early in the morning and direct water at the plants’ roots, not the leaves, as this is where it is best absorbed. If you want your lawn to stay green, don’t forget to water it. If possible, don’t use a sprinkler – much of the water ends up in the wrong place and simply evaporates or runs off into drains. And for maximum flowers and bumper veg harvests, give your plants the right feed.
Week eight: enjoy your first flowers
You should soon see the first flowers from the seeds you sowed in spring. To get as many flowers as possible, deadhead your plants regularly, this will encourage the plants to keep producing new flowers. Tie in your climbing plants and support plants that are flopping over. Try to keep on top of weeds – pulling them out as you spot them. But most importantly, take time to enjoy your garden.