Warm days, balmy evenings and some much-needed sunshine mean summer is well underway, bringing with it the possibility of al fresco dining. But before you invite the neighbours round for a barbecue, there’s some tidying up to be done in the garden.
Here’s how to spruce up your garden for the summer
1. Polish up your patio
To prepare your patio for those lazy summer lunches, simply mix hot water with washing up liquid or acid-free floor cleaner and scrub with a brush. When you’ve finished, hose the soapy water into the nearest drain rather than throwing it onto your flower bed, as it can be harmful to plants.
If you’d rather use a pressure washer, choose one with variable jet nozzle settings, as this will enable you to clean different parts of the patio without causing damage. However, there’s no need to panic if any holes or cracks do appear. Simply tap away any loose concrete and fill them with fresh mortar.
To banish weeds from the cracks between your paving stones, we recommend pouring boiling water over them or sprinkling them with salt. You should see results within a couple of days and you can prevent the weeds from reappearing by brushing the cracks every two weeks. This stops any remaining seeds from taking root.
2. Refresh your fences
Spring is a great time to treat and paint weathered fences – but it’s never too late. Start by using a stiff bristled brush to get rid of dirt and cobwebs, then invest in a good quality timber stain and preservative. When it comes to colour, you could either choose a shade that matches your shed or opt for a little colourful contrast.
You’ll need to wait for a warm dry day to paint your fences, but in the meantime, we recommend buying a quality soft brush and testing the stain on a small area of fencing to be sure that you’re happy with the colour. Once you’re ready to paint, start with the verticals before painting each panel from top to bottom.
3. Give your lawn some love
Lawns always look much better once they’ve been cut, so trim, strim and edge your grass while the weather is good. Aerating it with a fork is also a good idea, as this will encourage the grass roots to grow, improve drainage and help the grass to absorb vital nutrients.
If your lawn is very patchy, try gently breaking up the surface soil with a rake, sowing some seed and watering it 2-3 days later. After about ten days, new grass should start to appear. You can then apply lawn feed.
To keep your lawn vibrant and free from pests, mow it at least once a week during the summer and water it every 7-10 days.
4. Freshen up your garden furniture
There’s nothing worse than grimy garden furniture, so before you get the barbecue going, make sure yours is in pristine condition. Plastic chairs are the easiest to clean, as they only need a wipe with warm soapy water and a sponge.
To clean up wooden furniture, start by removing any mould, dust and grime before rubbing it down with sandpaper. You can then stain, oil or paint it if you wish. Metal furniture will need to be washed and scrubbed with wire wool.
How do you get your garden barbecue ready? We’d love to know your top tips, so share them below!