Days are starting to stretch and the fresh shoots of a new season are beginning to unfurl.
As we look forward to lighter and brighter evenings, now is the time to start thinking about preparing your garden for spring.
The list of tasks may seem daunting, especially in the wake of winter weather.
But Laura Schwarze from outdoor furniture specialists, Luxury Rattan, has enlisted the help of a team of other gardening experts to break down exactly what gardening jobs you should be ticking off your to-do list in the coming weeks.
Whether kept in a shed or garage or stored outside throughout the colder months, now is the perfect time to make sure your furniture is looking its best.
When it comes to cleaning any rattan garden furniture, start by giving it a once-over first with a vacuum or sturdy brush.
Laura Schwarze, head of Luxury Rattan, adds: “If you find there is dirt trapped in the weave of the rattan, grab a toothbrush to loosen it, you should then be able to wipe or vacuum it away with ease.”
“Once you’ve removed any residual dirt, fill a bowl with warm soapy water using some washing up liquid and wipe down your furniture gently with a soft cloth. Just be sure to wipe away any soapy residue on your furniture before leaving it to dry outside.”
As we move out of winter, it is really important to keep an eye out for any wildlife that could still be calling your garden home.
Simon Cowell, founder of Wildlife Aid Foundation, said: “In the colder months, creatures may find their way into any sheds or outdoor storage spaces, and can then easily get trapped. It is a good idea to check your sheds and garages for any signs that animals may still be sheltering inside.”
If you find any wildlife, be sure not to disturb them and call your local animal shelter for advice.
If you love to accessorise your outdoor space with outdoor soft furnishings, now is the perfect time to get them washed and ready for the warmer weather.
For removable cushion covers make use of your washing machine.
Laura advises: “For garden cushion covers that are in need of a simple refresh, pop them in your washing machine with your regular detergent.
“To dry, hang them outside or on your radiator and make sure that they are completely dry before placing them back on the sofa inserts.”
If your cushion covers cannot be removed for a machine wash:
“Use warm water with your mild detergent of choice to spot clean non-removable cushion covers. A soft scrubber is preferred to work the stain away before cleaning with a damp cloth.
“Excess moisture can be absorbed with towels to ensure that as much moisture is absorbed before leaving to dry.”
If you are yet to tidy up autumn leaves or the windy weather has blown new debris into your space, now is the perfect time to clean up your garden.
Not only can it make your space look great, but removing leaves and other debris from your lawn and flower beds can help ensure they’re in the best condition possible as we move into spring.
For the time being, focus on keeping the natural elements of your garden neat and tidy, as gardening expert Michael Perry, also known as Mr Plant Geek, explains: “There isn’t a huge amount of patio maintenance to do at the moment, as you are best waiting until we have seen the last of the bad weather.
“Instead, just be sure to clear any debris to prevent tripping hazards and your patio becoming slippy.”
After the recent heavy rain, it is a good idea to aerate your lawn and make sure it is able to drain properly.
To help make sure your lawn is as healthy as possible as we move into spring, Michael suggests using a gardening fork to make 5cm to 15cm spikes in your turf to reduce lawn compaction and ensure your grass is able to breathe – ensuring brilliant green grass as we move into the warmer months.
With temperatures starting to creep up, there is a good chance weeds will have started to appear in your outdoor space.
Spending some time dealing with invasive plants now – either removing by hand or using weed killer – will really put you ahead when it comes to getting your garden ready for spring.
Starting the weeding process early will allow your beds to be in the best condition possible when the time comes to start planting in a few weeks.
While a lot of your garden tidy-up should have been done in the autumn, now is the time to give your garden the once-over and cut away any faded stems that could impact the health of your plants as they start to regrow.
When it comes to pruning your garden ready for spring, Michael warns: “Don’t be too quick to cut down faded seed heads, particularly with grasses as the seed heads can be really decorative and a great addition to your garden while your spring planting is still coming through.”
While you might not be planning to start your spring planting just yet, now is the perfect time to make sure your flower beds are ready.
Use a rake to even out and loosen the soil and be sure to add a layer of compost or mulch to add nutrients back into your soil – creating the perfect home for plants.
If you prefer keeping your plants in pots, be sure to rinse out any empty pots and wipe away dirt that has accumulated over the colder months.
With good weather just around the corner, it is really important to ensure that you have everything you need to ensure you can get out and enjoy your garden as soon as the sun arrives.
Laura explains: “Every year as soon as the good weather arrives, we see people heading out to their local garden centre for last-minute bits or getting stung with next-day delivery charges for garden items they might have overlooked.
“To avoid this mad rush, now is the perfect time to make sure you have sorted all the practical extras you might need to make spending time in your garden extra special.
“For example, make sure you have plenty of gas for your fire pit, that outdoor lights are working and that you know where your outdoor extension cord is.”
It might be a little too early to be thinking about al fresco dining, but it isn’t too soon to make sure that your BBQ is fully cleaned and ready for spring.
Remove any small metal parts that could be run through the dishwasher and be sure to give the exterior a really good scrub.
Once dry, be sure to pack away ready for the first heatwave of the year.
For more information, visit the Luxury Rattan website: https://luxuryrattan.com/