5 Steps to a Vibrant Garden and Home Exterior Published 04/12/2013
Your neighbours will be green with envy when they see your vibrant garden, healthy lawn and glistening garden furniture and patio. Not to mention, a beautiful exterior increases the value of your home and will help encourage you to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.
We've compiled these tips to make things a little easier giving you time to enjoy your finished work!
Clear your garden space of leaves, debris, and any dead annual plants before getting started, so you'll have a fresh palette when you begin. Not only for aesthetics, a clear garden will reduce insect and disease problems for the year. If you've got quite a large outdoor space, a garden vacuum will help with this process. If not, a good fan rake will handle the job nicely.
Useful tools to keep on hand: garden shears; a hand trowel; and a flower fork. These will come in handy for digging up and trimming back any plants that didn't make it through the winter.
To get your lawn green and lush, it's a good idea to start early - our top 3 tips to get your dream lawn.
I) Mowing - take care of your lawnmower and it will take care of your lawn.
- Make sure you have sharp lawnmower blades for the first cut of the season. Dull blades will pull grass by the roots and create bare patches. We can help you replace your dull blades, or sharpen and balance your existing ones if the parts are obsolete.
- Start with a high cut level to just take the tips off of the grass. This helps reduce water use during hot weather. Check our article on changing your electric mower's blade height if you need tips.
- Give your lawnmower a good clean to get it ready for growing season.
- Mow as often as you can, and change directions each time you mow to keep your grass blades straight.
- If your lawnmower isn't starting watch Matt show you what the problem could be. If it’s not cutting properly, try our Common Lawnmower Faults and How to Fix Them troubleshooting article.
II) Fertiliser and weed control - a good all-round fertiliser will nourish your grass while keeping weeds at bay.
- Has your lawn grown moss over the winter? Try a product which will kill off moss and give your lawn a dose of nitrogen, promoting grass growth and taming weeds. Apply every 6 weeks through the growing season to keep your grass happy.
- If you're looking for a low budget fertilising solution, collect your grass clippings and let them decompose on your lawn. They will provide it with nutrients equivalent to one or two fertiliser applications.
- Save yourself a bit of elbow grease - damp soil makes pulling out young weeds a lot easier.
III) Aeration - If your lawn is compacted it will have restricted air flow and bad water absorption.
- Push the tongs of a garden fork into your grass at regular intervals. Work systematically to cover your whole lawn. If you've got a lot of area to cover, consider hiring an aerator.
For more tips, watch our video, How to Get a Great Looking Lawn.
A sharp edge will give your lawn that extra pristine look, and a grass strimmer or trimmer will help you trim neat and professional edges.
- Strimmer line is a consumable, and wears and snaps with use. Reloading your strimmer line isn't as difficult as it might seem - we'll help you fit a nylon strimmer line, heavy duty strimmer line, or the complete spool and line mechanism in your Flymo or Black & Decker strimmer.
- Keep your strimmer clean to keep it performing its best.
- Make sure you've got the right strimmer line for each job. For tough jobs like clearing stinging nettles, try a heavy duty line.
- If your strimmer isn't working properly, our Common Trimmer Faults article will help you troubleshoot.
You’ve sorted your lawn, now to tackle your patio and garden path. If you've got moss or algae covering your patio and outdoor surfaces, a simple wire bristle brush and some elbow grease may be all you need to remove it. Alternatively, pressure washers are a speedy way to lift soiling and moss from a variety of outdoor surfaces such as patios, fences, garden walls, decking, driveways, vehicles and house facades.
- If you haven't used your pressure washer for a while or you've just bought it, it's a good idea to "bleed the system" to release any air lifts. For other maintenance tips, check our Pressure Washer Maintenance Guide.
- Accessories will help you clear blocked drains or remove old paint and rust using your pressure washer. In our How to Clear a Blocked Drain video, we explain how the drain kit accessory works.
- When used with the Karcher line of detergents, your pressure washer will leave your car or vehicle shiny, your home facades sparking clean, and your patio and deck stain-free.
- Having issues with your pressure washer? Our Common Pressure Washer Faults article will help you locate the source of the problem. If you need any spares, in this video we explain how to find your pressure washer's model number.
Pruning back fruit trees, shrubs, and hedges will keep them healthy and attractive. This is best done in spring, but make sure you don't prune too early because if the temperature goes below zero it will dry out the cut ends of your tree. You should also make sure you use proper tools to make the job easier, if you've got a Flymo trimmer we've got an attachment that will give you some added power for your pruning.
Here's our quick guide to pruning properly:
- Remove dead branches first. Unless you've got fruit trees, this is all you need to do.
- Remove crossing branches that will rub against each other.
- Remove shoots or branches that are pointing straight upward.
- Remove branches that are pointing inward, to the tree's trunk.
- If your tree is quite full, thin out some extra branches to let your tree focus on producing fruit.