With spring comes a new mindset and plentiful opportunities to spend more time outdoors. Make the most of the season and the warmer months ahead by getting your outdoor space in shape now.
Spring is the season we spend all winter dreaming of. Start working on improving your outdoor area now and you’ll reap the benefits of a functional space all season long.
Embracing the season
Emerging from winter hibernation gives you new energy to harness in your outdoor space. Spring is the ideal time to establish a new garden bed, but why stop there? Get organised, commit to that makeover or simply pledge to spend more time outdoors this spring.
This is the perfect time to think bigger than your annual spring clean, although that is the perfect place to begin and to gain inspiration.
Outdoor spring jobs to start with include:
Update and rearrange furniture and accessories
Tend to general maintenance that was neglected over winter
Re-oil any decking and wooden furniture you have
Clean the barbecue and top up your gas bottles
Install adequate lighting so the space can be used at night
Clean your garden tools and service the lawn mower
Creating a functional space
To fully prepare your outdoor space for the warmer months, you will need to decide how you wish to use it. Will you need dining areas for entertaining or lounge areas where you and your family can relax on idle days? With a clear mindset, you can create a part of the home that will complement your lifestyle.
At this stage, consider any barriers that have kept you from spending more time outdoors and how you can overcome these now. Privacy is a common concern for many city dwellers, particularly those living in apartments and townhouses. There are, however, a number of ways to make your space feel more secluded.
Solutions for increased privacy include:
Hanging plants and vines
Curtains and awnings
Clutter is another common issue that prevents people from spending more time in their outdoor space. Spring presents the perfect opportunity to not only clean out your space, but to also replace bulky items such as old clotheslines. Think about how you can use space-saving solutions such as folding clotheslines and built-in seating with storage to maximise space.
Lack of shade is also a problem that keeps people indoors during the warmer months. Spaces such as courtyards can be particularly prone to over exposure.
There are several ways to create shade and cool a space, including:
Hanging pot plants
In spaces that receive a lot of sun, surfaces such as concrete do absorb heat. To keep the space cooler, consider installing a vertical garden or increasing the number of plants in the area.
Overcoming any design issues within your space now will ensure you can gain maximum enjoyment from your outdoor area.
Now’s the time to show your plants some extra attention. With some TLC in early spring, they will be established enough to thrive in the heat of summer.
Before you start replanting, you will need to get your soil healthy. Once you’ve cleared away any old or dead plants, aerate any garden beds you have and do a PH test to identify if it is lacking any key nutrients. If you add compost or manure to your garden or planters, be mindful that you will need to wait a few weeks before planting.
If you have pot plants, either transfer the plants into larger pots so they have room to continue growing, or replenish the potting mix. Pot plants will strip the soil of all nutrients, so it is important to regularly refresh their soil.
When it comes to your lawn, apply a slow-release lawn fertiliser. If you are considering laying grass, think about also installing an irrigation system to reduce maintenance over the warmer months. Artificial lawn is an alternative if you want to create a low-maintenance garden or have a shaded space where grass cannot grow.
Finally, consider which plants will bring life to the space. Spring is the perfect time to add pops of potted colour and to establish herbs and edibles. Most plants will flourish during spring, but check with your local nursery for seasonal recommendations in your area. Once your plants are in, top any garden beds and planters with mulch to help your garden retain water.
Want more courtyard design inspiration? Download our complete guide to small space gardening!