Our Gardening Guru, Charlie Albone, shares his top tips for creating a backyard to enjoy over the Christmas break.
Christmas is the one occasion you get a good amount of time off to enjoy the home, garden and family, but you don’t want to be out in the garden slaving away while you have guests around. So, now is the time to get out there over a weekend and get the garden Christmas-ready.
Start with garden maintenance
Cut back overgrown trees and shrubs and weed through the beds. If you have an infestation of weeds, herbicides can be a useful time saving tool if used correctly. Always follow the instructions on the packet for optimum results.
Improve the soil of your garden beds by spreading compost and organic fertilisers that will give your plants all the food they need as well as help to retain soil moisture and improve soil health.
Mulching your garden beds is the easiest way to make them instantly look tidier and more respectable – mulch to a depth of 50 - 75mm. Along with improving the appearance of your garden, mulch helps to slow water into the soil, retain that water in the soil for longer, break down to help feed your plants as well as helping to suppress emerging weeds.
Prepare your entertaining spaces
Clean up your hard surfaces, like paved entertaining areas, by pressure washing them down. If you use a chemical to shift any problem stains, make sure you soak your plants before and after to help dilute any chemicals on the leaves and in the soil.
Overhaul the BBQ now so when you come to cook up those boxing day sausages you’re not spending the whole morning scrubbing the grill before you can use it. Beer and newspaper are my go to cleaning agents - although it seems criminal to use good beer to clean a dirty BBQ!
Make it pretty with feature pieces
Adding in a feature such as a green wall, a statement pot or a sculpture can help draw people out into the garden and gives them a great spot to mingle and socialise. When picking a location, think about how the new element looks from inside the house as well as out in the space itself.
Don't be afraid to leave some things to the last minute...
My number one tip for getting the garden Christmas-ready is to leave one job unfinished – this allows you a great get-out clause if the in-laws get too much and you need some time out from the family festivities… excuse me for a second I just need to weed the veggie patch!