5 budget-friendly ways to bring your garden back to life
Nothing says spring like sitting in your yard on a sunny day admiring the delightful colours and fragrances of blossoming garden flowers. But after a long (long) winter, is your garden in need of some serious TLC?
Don’t panic, there’s no need to call a landscaping professional just yet. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get to work, you’ll be able to transform your garden in no time – without having to pay that hefty landscaping fee.
Follow these five cost-effective tips to revive your garden and you’ll soon be celebrated as the neighbourhood green thumb.
1. Out with the old
The first step to refreshing your garden is to clear it of all old debris. This means weeds, leaves, rocks, branches and anything else uncovered after the last of the snow finally melted. Every artist needs a blank canvas to work with!
Make sure you pull all weeds from the root so they won’t pop up again once your garden’s been planted. This should be done as early as possible to avoid giving the weeds a chance to flower and go to seed.
Photo Source: Country Living Magazine
2. Do the groundwork
After a long winter, your garden soil will be dry and packed – meaning your plants won’t stand a chance.
Start by testing your soil to learn what kinds of nutrients and minerals it needs. An inexpensive soil test from any garden center will be able to tell you how your soil is faring in nutrients and pH. Once you know what your soil needs, take a trip to your local home improvement store to pick up the right amount of manure, fertilizer or peat moss that your soil needs to thrive. To save on costs, you can even use your own compost. If you have acid-loving plants, like gardenias or rhododendrons, you can use leftover tea or coffee grounds to acidify the soil as another cost-saving hack.
Photo Source: Better Homes & Gardens
3. Tend to the surviving plants
Plants that made it through the harsh winter may seem indestructible, but even these warriors will be in need of some extra care and attention. Start by pruning the dead leaves and branches so they have a fresh start for spring. We recommend pruning blooming plants immediately following the first bloom to avoid cutting off buds, and pruning summer plants in early spring.
Continue by adding one to three inches of mulch around the plant bases. Otherwise, you risk weeds, diseases and misshapen plants that won’t make it to maturity. Make sure to stay several inches clear of plant stems when mulching to avoid causing root rot. Follow up with light watering.
Remember to also mulch trees, shrubs, hedges and vines.
Photo Source: Gardeners’ World
4. In with the new
Now for the fun part! There are many considerations that should be put into deciding which new plants you want to add to your garden family. The first question you should ask yourself is: perennials or annuals?
If you’re ready to make a commitment to your garden, perennials are the way to go. Perennials are tough survivor plants that can live two to three years – even through harsh winters. This means you won’t have to replace all of your plants each spring. Some perennials to consider are: blanket flowers, peonies, lilacs, daffodils, black-eyed susans and chrysanthemums.
If you’re somebody who likes to keep up with trends and experiment with new looks, then annuals are for you. Unlike perennials, annuals have to be replaced every year. While this means more work (and more money) for you in the long run, it also means you have the liberty to completely change up your garden’s appearance each spring. Just be sure to wait until at least late May to give your annuals a better chance of survival. In the meantime, you can plant a tub full of annuals to brighten your front door before transferring them to your garden. Some annuals to consider are: begonias, marigolds, petunias, pansies, snapdragons and geraniums.
Another thing to consider when making your plant selection is the natural light available in your garden. Take a walk around your property noting the areas that get the most sunlight and the areas that are more shaded. Then choose plants that will thrive in the specific light conditions of your garden. Certain plants, like primrose and foxglove, do well in shaded areas. Other plants, like lavender and sage, do well in direct sunlight.
Finally, consider choosing a colour theme that will make your garden look polished and put together. Good spring colours to consider are light pinks and whites, or lilacs and periwinkles. For an extra point of interest consider adding a focal point, like an old wheelbarrow or a sculpture – which you can find at most garden centers or even local yard sales.
Photo Source: Pinterest
5. Stay attentive
Once you’re happy with the look of your garden it’s important to pay extra attention to the health of your plants – especially in their early stages. Add compost and mulch to the new additions and be sure to give them extra water during the first several weeks.
Keep an eye out for early signs of disease, pests, malnourishment or overwatering. A good place to start is by inspecting the leaves of your plants:
Photo source: Huffington Post
- Pale leaves with burnt edges and a weak stem could be a sign of root rot.
- Yellowing leaves dying prematurely on young plants could mean your plant is infested with aphids.
- Curled and crunchy brown leaves are usually a sign that your plant needs water.
- Absent leaves (lack of leaf growth) is another indication that your plant is thirsty.
- Pale leaves are usually a sign your plant needs more nutrients, like iron.
- Discoloured and wilting leaves, or leaves that are yellow at the edges, mean your plant is likely overwatered.
- Leaves and stems leaning to the side are telling you that your plant needs more sunlight.