The jobs you need to do now to be ready for lazy days

It’s not just your house that could do with a good go­ing over at this time of year, writes Robyn Wil­lis

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If you were hop­ing to have your gar­den re­mod­elled be­fore the end of the year, you may have missed the boat. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw up your hands in de­spair if it’s look­ing a lit­tle shabby right now.

Just as spring is the ideal time to give the in­doors a once over, it’s also an op­por­tu­nity to get stuck into the gar­den be­fore it’s too hot — or you’ve grown too lazy to care.

Di­rec­tor of Se­cret Gar­dens of Syd­ney, Matt Cantwell says there are plenty of spring clean­ing jobs that will make a real dif­fer­ence to the gar­den come party sea­son.

Cut back

Hope­fully, you’ve al­ready done a hard prune at the end of win­ter but you’ll prob­a­bly no­tice that your shrubs have put on new growth. Matt says it’s time to make some cuts. “Do a bit of tip prun­ing to give the plant a bit more struc­ture,” he says.

De­cid­u­ous trees of­ten lay on thicker growth at this time of year so Matt sug­gests thin­ning out the canopy too.

“If your plants or the lawn are not thriv­ing un­der­neath or the paving looks a bit mouldy, the rea­son might be not enough light,” he says. “You don’t need to take much off but it does make a dif­fer­ence.”

Gone to pot

It might feel a bit like cheat­ing but Matt says that if you have a pot plant that’s strug­gling, chuck it out and start again.

“It’s an easy way to adopt some of the cur­rent trends with an ar­chi­tec­tural or a flow­er­ing plant,” he says. The same goes for bare patches of lawn. “I used to nurse a part of my lawn back to health ev­ery sea­son,” he says. “Now I just re­place it ev­ery Au­gust and I have a nice lawn for four or five months.

“You can plug away at it or just get a turf roll out like a new piece of car­pet.”

Clean up your act

Noth­ing says unloved like dirty or mouldy pavers or deck­ing.

De­pend­ing on the sur­face, Matt says you could use a high pres­sure water cleaner or some­thing like 30 Sec­onds Out­door Cleaner, which re­moves mould and mildew from most sur­faces in min­utes.

“It can save you a lot of time,” Matt says.

Go to­wards the light

If you have out­door lights, check that they’re all work­ing. If not, set the scene for a lit­tle al­fresco din­ing with some fairy lights, hur­ri­cane lamps and lanterns.

Af­ter mak­ing the ef­fort to get the gar­den into rea­son­able shape, Matt says you should take the time to en­joy it.

“I can make even a small scrappy gar­den look nice in an af­ter­noon,” he says.

“Take the ta­ble out­side, put up some lights and dress the ta­ble with some soft fur­nish­ings and cush­ions,” he says.

This ca­sual set­ting, in­clud­ing Bre­mer din­ing ta­ble and Ida arm­chairs from Eco Out­door is light enough to take out­side for a ca­sual al­fresco lunch.

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