Temperatures have been warmer than average over April and with flurry of bank holidays on the horizon in May, there’s no better time to get out in the garden. According to new research by cleaning experts Karcher, 31 per cent of British plan to ‘spring clean’ their garden this year. No longer just a hobby for older generations, the study has found that just as many 16-29-year-olds as 45-59-year-olds say they enjoy spending time gardening.
This could be because it is increasingly acknowledged that gardening has positive benefits for both physical and emotional wellbeing. According to the RHS, 30 minutes of gardening burns as many calories as playing badminton, volleyball or practising yoga as well helping to reduce symptoms associated with stress, depression and anxiety.
In this uncertain climate, people are spending much more time than usual at home so it’s important that gardens are relaxing and safe spaces for the nation to spend their free time. They may have been neglected over winter but Karcher has shared some expert tips to help spruce up even the most unloved gardens to help achieve tidy, relaxing outside spaces.
- Tidy, trim and vacuum (no, really)
Start by clearing your garden of any outdoor furniture or other objects that have been left outside to brave the winter months. Then mow the lawn or use a strimmer (if the grass has got really out of hand!) and instantly things will start to look more prepared for the warmer months.
Next, get rid of all of the debris, twigs and leaves on your patio or decking, so that you can continue the garden spring clean with no obstructions. An outdoor vacuum is useful as it allows you to easily clear patios or decking, leaving no mess behind, and prevents your indoor vacuum from being damaged by these tough jobs.
- Garden furniture revamp
32 per cent of Brits admit that they would be more likely to buy new garden furniture than cleaning it, but taking the time to go over it with a pressure washer can easily give furniture a new lease of life and end up saving you money in the long run. Using a pressure washer also saves more water than using a scrubbing brush and garden hose, as well as being virtually effortless.
The Karcher Full Control range of pressure washers have a trigger gun than make it easy to adjust the pressure from gentle cleaning for delicate wooden furniture, to a more powerful spray for plastic and metal pieces. Start a few meters away from your furniture at first then move closer until you find the sweet spot for removing that built-up grime.
- Pressure wash that paving
We’ve all seen those satisfying before and after videos online and they’re easy to recreate at home. Paved areas are likely to have built up a lot of dirt and moss since last summer, but periodically deep cleaning can add years of life to these areas and save you valuable time and money.
Moss not only forms on the thick layer of paved surfaces but can also linger in the pores of the paving stones meaning you need something powerful – like a pressure washer – to remove it. Karcher Pressure Washers all come with a Dirt Blaster lance which makes this job effortless. Add either stone or wood detergent, depending on your surface, to your pressure washer and initially start on a low pressure setting to pull detergent through the machine.
Hold the high-pressure jet vertically to the paved surface and, using a sweeping motion, slowly clean from one edge to the other (moving with the direction of the wood grain, if applicable) at a distance of around 20 to 30cm.
A power scrubber attachment can also be a useful gadget to have. The integrated bristles make it perfect for getting into the grooves of your decking and the squeegee blade is ideal for removing any dirty water.
- In with the new
Once the cleaning tasks are out of the way, it’s time to get creative. Use shears and trimmers to get the desired shape of your shrubs and bushes but remember the ultimate goal is to maintain the healthy growth of your garden plants so check out advice from the RHS on how to effectively do this. For the hard to reach and often ignored areas you may find it easier to use an electric lopper to produce the desired shape and design.
When it comes to planting, colour schemes, patterns and textures should all be considered so create a mood board for inspiration.
Top trends for this year include:
- Vertical gardening – owners of small outside spaces can make the most of their footprint by gardening upwards. Build a planter wall for fences and fill with trailing plants for a waterfall of greenery.
- Kitchen gardens – we aren’t all lucky enough to have space for an allotment, but planting herbs in a section of the garden will come in handy over the year and have the added benefit of smelling great.
- Sustainability – with climate change on everyone’s agenda more people are looking to add plants to their gardens that create biodiversity for wildlife, and accessories that use natural materials from ethical and sustainable sources.
- Bright and blooming – be daring with bold colours Bright plants such as Mahonia and Viper’s Bugloss not only fit in with the wild trend but are also great for pollinating insects.
- Creative hardscaping – instead of usual straight-line designs add curves to paths and patios. This can be done easily as a DIY project by buying pre-cut flagstones online.