Get some fresh air, exercise and a garden ready for the sunshine.

This past winter has been one of the wettest on record thanks to climate change’s increasingly turbulent weather. Only now are gardens up and down the country emerging from persistent puddles and pools of rainwater (not to mention serious flooding) – and most of them are looking a little worse for wear! Yet at the same time, summers are becoming hotter and drier, which takes its toll on plants and wildlife alike.

But getting your outdoor space back on track isn’t as big a job as you might think – and it’s a perfect activity for keeping busy during the coronavirus distancing measures. Plus, the whole family can get involved. Make a start with these easy jobs and have your garden ready for summer in no time. And once you’re done, read on here to find out how to make your garden even more climate-friendly.

  1. Get your tools ready

Make sure your tools are in good nick and gardening will be a much more enjoyable process – no one wants to prune plants with rusty old shears! Spend a little time rubbing linseed oil onto wooden handles, using a wire brush to remove rust from metal surfaces, sharpening blades, and oiling moving parts.

  1. Get rid of dead leaves

Dead, soggy leaves can make a nutritious addition to soil, but if they’re left to fester around perennials they can smother new plants. Plus, a garden covered in old leaves isn’t particularly attractive. Spend some time raking them up off your lawn, clearing them away from drains and corner areas, and removing them from around plants and borders. Make the most of them by popping them in your compost bin (Don’t have one? Check out our guide to starting your own compost heap).

  1. Prune

Out with the old, in with the new! While a lot of plants may look dead throughout winter but suddenly bounce back come spring, some are just dead full stop. Dead plants can be removed completely, while those that are yet to spring into life again can be cut back quite aggressively – this sounds a little harsh but it actually helps them thrive in the long run. This is also a good time to check for the first signs of weeds, although remember that weeds aren’t always bad news – you might consider letting a small patch of your garden run wild to keep our very important bee pals happy (here’s how to make your garden bee-friendly).

  1. Boost your soil

If you’ve not given your soil some TLC for a while (or you’ve not been able to get to it under all the water), now’s the time to give it a boost. Cover the area with a layer of rich compost or manure, then till the soil until it’s all mixed in. This is an especially important job if you’re planning on sowing new seeds in the near future. Avoid using peat. The world’s peatlands – unique ecosystems which act as massive carbon sinks – are under serious threat, with governments and environmental organisations taking action to preserve those that remain.

  1. Make a planting plan

Now you’ve got the very basics sorted, you’re ready to start shaping your garden however you like. Think about what plants you’d like to see this year, and consider having a go at growing your own veggies, or even planting a tree (here’s how). A spring-ready garden is the best base to work from – you’ll be glad of your efforts come summer!

The bottom line

Everyone’s garden looks a bit worse for wear after the winter. Now’s the time to give it a spruce and in the process create a space that’s not only pleasant for you to spend time in, but plays an important part in maintaining environmental balance.

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