Garden, Outdoor Activities

10 Ideas to get your garden ready for Spring

Winter is finally coming to an end and you are beginning to look forward to Spring and the warmer months – which means getting outside more, but looking at your garden at this time of year doesn’t always fill you with gardening inspiration.

It is probably looking a bit bare and a bit untidy following the lovely UK winter weather.

So how can you get motivated to get outside and get that garden ready for Spring? 

By being creative, planning ahead and getting the grim jobs out of the way, you will soon be on the way to a blooming, vibrant garden.

Here are 10 ideas which might help you to get motivated to get that garden Spring ready

mood board with garden ideas

1. Plan your space

Now is the time to really look at your space, think how you envisage spending time in your garden, do you plan on growing vegetables, flowers or keeping it simple with a few pots?

Its your space, it has to suit you, if you don’t enjoy gardening or don’t have the time, keep it minimal. Even minimal gardens can be beautiful by adding a few pots or decorations.

Think about what areas you need in the garden, a place to eat, space for the kids to play?

Grab yourself a notebook and get outside, have a good look at your garden, where are the sunny spots, shaded areas? Where could you fit a veg garden? Should I plant herbs?…..

Draw yourself a little diagram of your garden with ideas of how you would like it to look, or any changes you want to make to your existing space.

Make some notes and research flowers / veg you would like to grow or plant. 

Do a mood board, look through magazines, Pinterest or online for inspiration.

Use colour to really bring your visual to life, this will be your motivation for when you have to do the boring jobs!

I find that by doing my garden plan on a lovely sunny day (even if it is cold) really helps to inspire me to look at the space positively and be creative in how I want my garden to look.

It doesn’t matter if you change your mind, don’t overthink it, a garden constantly evolves, just try to get some ideas down. 

collage photos garden plan, colours, flowers, vegetables, wildlife garden

2. Get the tidying out of the way

Once you have your plan, you should feel inspired to create your outdoor space, try and keep this motivation going…. Look back at your plan or mood board to keep the momentum going – because now its time for the hard work!

I say hard work, but once you’re outside and getting on with it, you may well enjoy it and  you will feel a real sense of achievement when you have tidied and cleared your space ready for all those wonderful ideas you have.

After Winter, your garden will need a good spruce, break the tasks down, it doesn’t all have to be done at once, you will soon notice a huge difference.

  • Have a good tidy – clear up any old or broken pots, rogue toys, dog balls….. 
  • Clear up dead twigs and leaves
  • Clean pots and planters 
  • Tidy and clean any outdoor decorations or lights
  • Check and clean any outdoor toys or play equipment
  • Give patio areas a good clean, a deck scrubber and soapy water should do the trick
  • Clean up any garden furniture, storage sheds and fences.

Wow, I bet you feel exhausted just reading that, but by breaking it down you can do what you can, when you can, if you would like a checklist, you can find a printable PDF here Garden Tidy Checklist

rake with autumn leaves, getting your garden ready for spring

3. Sort out your lawn and give your plants a trim

If you have a lawned area, Spring is a good time to give it a feed and a good rake to get rid of any leaves or debris which have collected over the winter. 

Some plants will need a bit of attention before spring, so check if they need trimming or a tidy, do they need re potting or re positioning? Think how they did last year and check online for care instructions. is a good source of information to help with care instructions and for identifying plants.

4. Install a water butt

If you haven’t got one, this is a good time to install one to collect all those April showers!

A water butt is quite inexpensive and will last for years. They are a great way to save on water usage in your garden, they just position under your drainpipes and work just like a garden tap.

You can buy them in various sizes, so should be able to fit one in, even in a small garden.

Some plants such as camellias, rhododendrons and blueberries even do better with rain water as tap water can be slightly alkaline.

They are great for saving water but also very practical to save you carrying water around your garden from your tap!

gardening tool in a basket, getting your garden ready for spring

5. Get your gardening tools ready

Tidy any outdoor storage areas or sheds and check on your gardening tools, have they survived the winter?! There is a handy checklist here which has a list of the basic tools you need.

Clean up any existing tools and organise them, think about where you will be using them, do you need extra storage or a carry case. 

Do you have string, plant markers etc? Use the checklist above to keep track of what you already have and anything you need to buy or source. 

6. Make a planting plan

Making a plan for planting your seeds, bulbs or plants is a great way to keep track of what you want to grow and how and when you grow.

Referring back to your mood board or notebook, think about your vision, this should be enjoyable, what colours do you like? Do you want to grow veg / salad / herbs? The possibilities are endless!

When you have an idea of what you actually want to grow, decide whether you would prefer to grow from seed or bulb or would you prefer to buy plug plants or established plants?

Do your research, cost, practicality etc, it is wonderful to grow from seeds and bulbs but do you have the time and patience to grow from scratch?

There isn’t a right or wrong way, it is whatever works best for you, its your space, your vision.

You may find it useful to read planting timings, growing from seed or growing from bulbs or the Thompson and Morgan website has some great resources

Once you have decided what you would like to grow, how and when it has to be grown, you can make your plan, use my free printable Gardening Plan template to help you keep track, or buy a gardening journal, there are loads to choose from, some even have handy pockets to keep seed packets.

It doesn’t have to be set in stone, it is just a reminder for when to plant things to get the best results, it is also helpful to keep a record about where the best position is, how often they need watering and what size they will grow.

Garden plan free printable

7. Get rid of the weeds

Unfortunately you will be getting rid of weeds all summer long, which is a pesky, boring job but it does have to be done and you do feel a sense of satisfaction when they are gone and you can see your garden in all its glory!

Invest in a weed remover tool and a garden bucket or basket, these will make the job a whole lot easier and less of a chore.

Use weed membrane under any stone, gravel or decking areas, this will help keep weeds at bay. 

Mulching can help and is also good for your plants, for more info on mulching Gardening etc has a good article

Pouring boiling water on them can help in areas such as garden paths and paved areas, don’t try this where there are other plants or grass though as it will damage them. Pour on the water and leave for a couple of days and the weeds should be gone.

The active ingredient in vinegar, acetic acid, is also very effective at destroying weeds, you can use just standard malt vinegar, spray on weeds in a spray bottle, being careful not to damage any surrounding plants.

8. Sow some seeds

Some seeds can be grown from January if kept in a propagator or on a sunny windowsill, Sweet peas, Lobelia, herbs and even some vegetables can be started off now in preparation for summer.

Thompson Morgan have a great article giving you lots of ideas about which seeds you can sow as early as January

Starting off seeds now will get you into the spirit of growing, the kids can join in and the rewards late spring and summer will be great.

9. Upcycle planters or garden decor

Now is a great time to think about what you can reuse or upcycle, we have dry days, maybe a bit cold but get yourself wrapped up and have a mooch round your garden to see what can be given a new life.

So many items work well as planters, old watering cans, old pots and pans….. old toys? Use your imagination and look on Pinterest for inspiration.

Buy garden paint tester pots in different colours or use up old paints you’ve got hanging around in the shed, if paint isn’t waterproof just give it a couple of coats of varnish.

Child gardening, planting a plant in soil

10. Get the kids involved

Children may not feel too motivated to be getting out in the garden during the winter months but as the nights get lighter and the weather warms up a little, it is the perfect time to be getting them interested in the garden, they may need a bit of encouragement to get away from the sofa but there are lots of ways to get them involved, even with preparing the garden.

  • Have them be involved in the prep work, sweeping, tidying – kids love to help and buying them their very own mini sweeping brush and garden tools will help them feel involved.
  • Be creative, paint some garden rocks or make windmills
  • Use collected pine cones to make bird feeders and see which birds you can spot
  • Do a mini scavenger hunt around your garden
  • Read some books about growing plants or nature, there are an abundance of books available for children about gardening and nature and many include activities. For younger children the beautifully illustrated National Trust Series by Nosy Crow are wonderful, aimed at ages 2-5 the lovely stories are filled with simple engaging information about planting and growing.
  • Let them choose some flowers or veg to grow or even let them have their own small patch or area which they can look after themselves. Choose easy to sow and quick growing seeds so they can quickly see the rewards of their hard work.
  • Let them decorate the plant markers, these wooden plant markers from Baker Ross can be decorated with paints or pens

Time to get that garden Spring ready!

I’m hoping by reading this you are feeling motivated, creative and ready to tackle your outside space. Although it may not be Spring, it is on its way! By starting preparing your garden now, you can be inspired that in just a few weeks, the long dark days of winter will be gone and everything will be in full bloom. 

The snowdrops are already popping up and soon it will be the colourful blooms of daffodils, irises and tulips, so lets get started, tackle the mundane jobs bit by bit, embrace the creative tasks and soon your garden will be blossoming!

orange and yellow tulips with bright blue sky