10 Most Important Summer Gardening Jobs
While summer is undoubtedly a much-loved season in Australia with everyone enjoying their outdoors, it can wreak havoc on your garden. Dry winds, long days and high temperatures can quickly turn your vibrant verdant oasis into a brown and brittle mess. Good preparation will help your garden survive the harsh summer weather and allow you more time to enjoy it throughout the coming months.
Growing Rooms has put together the 10 Most Important Summer Gardening Jobs for you to do. These are simple solutions to keep your outdoor space green, healthy and inviting.
1. Mow your Lawn
Mowing is important to keep your lawn healthy and supporting growth. However, avoid mowing your lawns too short in summer summer or long dry periods. This will help keep your lawns looking green rather than brown and bare. More tips on How To Drought Proof Your Lawn This Summer
2. Prune your plants
Give your plants a light prune to tidy up and to keep your garden from turning into a jungle. Trim the hedges, shape the topiaries and remove the lower limbs of trees and shrubs. Invariably, people don’t prune deep enough, so go a little further than what you think is needed. De-head any flowers that are looking a little tired to promote continued flowering throughout the season.
Don’t forget your pot plants either. They are vulnerable to overheating as they can quickly dry out. Smaller pots can be placed in a bucket of water and left to soak for a few hours. A light mulch will help keep your plants cool as well as moving them out of the direction of the hot sun.
3. Mulch your soil
Mulching your soil is the easiest way you can protect your plants from the summer heat. Mulching helps keep the soil cool, conserves water and limits any fertiliser from being washed away by the summer rains. To maximise the potential of your mulch, make sure your soil is moist and light by giving it a good turn with a fork. This will help create air and insulate your plant roots.
Check out this short Guide to Mulch for more tips and tricks on how to mulch the garden.
4. Water regularly and wisely
The only way to stop your garden from drying out during the hot season is with regular watering. Consider installing a water tank for this purpose! Water tanks come in a range of sizes and shapes, and can even be fitted under decks, patios or balconies to hide them from view. To avoid mildew and the plants stewing, water early in the day when it’s cool. This will also help reduce the risks of fungi attacking the foliage. In the early mornings, the soil is most receptive and the water will easily reach the root systems. Depending on the weather, you may also need to give your plants a light spray in the early evening too.
Adding fertiliser, feed and minerals to the water makes watering serve a double-duty.
5. Prepare the Pool
To keep your pool healthy, regular maintenance is a necessity. Make up a checklist of all the tasks that need to be performed regularly to maintain your pool, so that none of the essentials are forgotten. Check the filter system and clean the filter every week. Regularly empty the skimmer boxes and remove leaves. Also, make sure the water chemistry is balanced and check pH.
A sleek glass fence adds visual impact to your pool area, so make sure it’s spotless. Simply use warm water, liquid soap and a sponge to wash it down, then rinse the glass off with a quick hose-down.
For after-dark ambiance, energy-efficient LED lighting can be fixed above and below the waterline. Make sure all of your bulbs are working for the perfect night-time illumination.
6. Oil the deck
Timber decks will naturally start to turn grey over time due to the effects of sun, rain and wind. To keep your deck looking rich and warm, it needs to be oiled regularly. Start by cleaning, scrubbing and lightly sanding the timber. Ensure it’s completely dry then apply oil evenly along the grain with a brush. Allow at least four hours to dry (better: 24 hours!) then give a second coat.
7. Power-wash the pavers
Over time, pavers can start to look decidedly unclean. Rain, dirt and mold can turn beautiful surfaces black and splotchy, particularly those pavers around the pool. Fire up the Gerni gun to refresh the brickwork and make them look new. It’s also a good opportunity to remove weeds from between the paver stones.
8. Provide adequate shade
Dining and entertaining alfresco are some of the greatest joys allowed by the Australian summer. But it’s important to keep yourself, your family and your guests cool and safe from overexposure to the sun while you’re enjoying the iconic backyard barbecue. Shade – whether it be umbrellas, screens, sails, or canopies – is essential during the hottest part of the year. Not only will it allow you to enjoy the outside areas for longer, but it protects the skin from harmful UV radiation, too. Clean your shade and make sure, everything is intact and fixed correctly.
9. Check illumination
Make sure all exterior lighting is working. Whether you’re enjoying a barbecue, having a swim, relaxing in the cool evening air or letting the kids run around outside, a few quick fixes now will mean that you’ll get maximum enjoyment from your outdoor areas morning, noon and night throughout the summer months.Replace dead light globes and make sure the transformers are functioning for all 12-volt lighting. Install solar lights if you want to add illumination to your garden but not go to the trouble of bringing in an electrician.
Lighting that’s too bright can be blinding, creates deep shadows and makes everyone looked washed out. The best option is to have a variety of lights, making them a little brighter at steps, doorways and along paths. Sitting and socialising areas should feature soft lighting to make the atmosphere warm and inviting.
A few strands of fairy lights will quickly make the garden look magical, delighting the kids (and adults!).
Check out more tips on lighting in our article Garden Trend: Outdoor Lightning
10. Get your BBQ area ready
What would an Australian backyard be without a barbecue? Even apartment dwellers with a modest balcony can usually squeeze in a tripod model to cook up a sausage sizzle. Regular cleaning is part and parcel of owning a barbecue. Check out our guide on How to clean your BBQ.
If you cook outside a lot, it may be worth adding a small fridge to your barbecue area. It’s perfect for keeping meat at hand yet out of the sun – and for storing icy beverages for the chef.
Don’t forget to look after your outdoor furniture. Scrub wooden furniture at least once a year to get rid of any mold. Hint: hire a high-pressure water cleaner and you’ll get the job done in a fraction of the time. Wash the soft furnishings, such as seat and cushion covers.