Does the winter weather seem to have dragged on for longer this year, or am I deluding myself in wishing for warmer weather? Admittedly we’ve been lucky and seen only 1 smattering of snow, which a few hours later was gone. Phew. But now, the weather’s looking warmer and sunnier. I’ve seen blue skies and there’s been a (largely) dry and sunny weekend, if not as warm as I’d have liked.
So it’s time to get out in the garden and start thinking about what we’re going to do with it. Ok, so I probably think this every year, but I do have plans to have N’s delayed birthday party in the garden so I would like to get things nice and neat for then. Once the weather’s nicer, I start thinking about the possibilities for making better use of the garden. Last year, we grew tomatoes, so I’m looking for another challenge this year. We need to update the play equipment and think about dates to have friends over.
Here are my top tips on getting a garden summer ready this year:
1. Cut the grass
Well it’s a no brainer really. Ours was like a jungle, and luckily I don’t have to cut it myself. The father-in-law has a ride on lawn mower, so either he cuts it, or this weekend one of the older nephews came and cut the grass. N loves it because he gets to ride on it too, although I’m hoping that him telling us that ‘I was allowed to drive it myself’ was a bit of an over-exaggeration.
2. Book in barbecue dates
After a few years of having lots of family barbecues, we seem to have had a shortage the last 2 years. But I’m looking forward to getting out the new gas barbecue we were sent to review, to try it out. After seeing the in-laws gas barbecue in action, and seeing how quick and easy it is to use and clean, I’m thinking there’s going to be no excuse for us not having lots over the summer. I think I’ll be able to use it myself…who says a man has to be in charge of the barbecue?!
We usually cook steak off the farm, either some marinated chicken breasts (cooked initially in the age before grilling on the barbecue) or chicken and veg kebabs, and burgers. Plus lots of salad on the side.
For once, we’ll have to invite friends over for barbecues instead of having invites elsewhere. Barbecued food has to rate highly alongside picnics.
3. Grow some vegetables (or fruit)
I’m not a gardener at all, but with N I feel like I should make an effort. We just have a paddock lawn, with a bit of garden at the side of the house for some geraniums and rose bushes (and the wild chives which seem to take over a bit more each year), and a wall where I’ve got some easy grow flowers that crop up every year (my kind of gardening).
Last year we grew tomatoes and they were delicious. This year I need to buy a big tub to grow some more. I’m determined to get N to try some raw tomatoes which are almost the only food he won’t eat. I still need to chuck out last year’s gro bags and decayed plants in readiness for this year.
I have bought some strawberry seeds, and we’ve planted them in a tub to get them started inside. Hopefully they’ll grow nicely because we love having strawberries for a pudding (especially if we’re having more BBQs and meals outside). I’d like to try other veg but it’s finding the room to get them started inside.
4. Build outdoor toys
For N’s birthday (and Christmas, and last year’s birthday) present, I bought N a wooden climbing frame. I was really excited about it, it was delivered in January, and has sat in the garden waiting for dry and warmer weather so we I can build it. This Sunday was the day. I borrowed a drill off my brother, got out the pliers, screwdrivers and more, and set everything out. Three hours later, I’ve built a ladder and 4 uprights, and have given up.
For the expensive cost, I was astounded that not only has the wood not been pre-drilled, but it’s not even had any marks to show where to drill. Given the OH won’t give up 10 hours of his time to build it, it looks like I’ll be paying a carpenter or handy man to come and build it. So disappointing, when I wanted it done for Easter weekend.
I also need to buy a new net/foam for our trampoline. It’s definitely time to decide on what outdoor toys you need, or repair old ones in readiness for the children playing out post school or at weekends.
We’re loving our outdoor table tennis table. Read the review of the Butterfly rollaway table
5. Decide on a garden theme
And a garden table and chairs. My OH’s really picky, so I’m only allowed to buy good quality wood. But I’ve been faffing for years, so I think I’ll just have to go out and buy a set, treat it, and then I can trawl the shops looking for the garden nick nacks which pretty up a meal.
We don’t have any trees in our garden, but I’d love to hang strings of bright tea light lanterns along the fence. Although I’m also quite partial to maritime themes so I might have to have stripy cushions for my outdoor seating. But seeing these amazing upcycled dragonflies makes me think of a little wildflower border with something like this on the fence behind.
I definitely need to get organised and planning some summer parties, to make the most of catching up with friends and getting out in the garden.
What are you planning for your garden this year? Do you have a lot of BBQs?