Taking care of your garden will save you a great deal of time and effort, so a regular schedule of maintenance is worth following to keep everything ship-shape. Just the same way that tasks at work and household chores don’t do themselves, and in fact become bigger problems if you leave them, the garden tasks that don’t get done turn into rotten and rusty tools, leaking sheds, stagnant ponds and impenetrable shrubbery.
Avoid these major headaches by keeping on top of your regular maintenance.
1.Tools and equipment
When you’ve finished with your tools, give them a clean, and if they’re being put away for a while, give them a bit of lubricant to keep them rust free and stop them seizing up. Keep blades sharp with a whetstone or get them professionally sharpened; blunt shears and secateurs turn easy jobs into hard work, and could cause unnecessary damage to your plants.
Check your shed or storage area for signs of vermin, and fix any holes you find. Make sure there’s nowhere cosy for rats and mice to set up home, as they’ll quickly destroy materials such as horticultural fleece and gloves, eat all your seeds and bird food, and contaminate the area. If there are signs of rats or mice, use bait and traps, making sure they aren’t accessible to your pets. Give your woodwork a coat of preservative every year to keep it sound and looking smart, and patch any leaks in the roof before they become worse, or your whole shed could get damp and mouldy.
Keep your ponds clear of blanket weed and excesses of other weeds – pull the weed out but lay it next to the pond for a couple of days to give any wildlife caught up in it a chance to escape before composting it. Pond pumps and filters should be regularly checked and cleaned, and make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about care over winter.
4.Paths and patios
Paths, decking, and patios can get dangerously slippery if they are wet and have a coating of green algae on them. Pressure washing takes care of the algae, so give all your hard surfaces a good spray every few weeks, or whenever you see a tinge of green starting to form. Check all the paving slabs to make sure they’re set firmly in place, and if any are loose, mix up some cement to stick them back down.
Panel fences can get damaged in stormy weather, so keep an eye on the fence and repair any damage that occurs. If you leave it, the next time there’s a storm the extra strain of a loose section flapping in the wind could tear down whole sections of fencing, leaving you with a much bigger job to deal with. Fences and gates should be treated with preservative when they start to fade, to stop rot setting in.
These few simple tasks will keep your outside areas safe and tidy, save you from spending a fortune on new tools and equipment, and ensure you have the time and energy to enjoy your garden.