The Gardeners Essential Guide; How to get ready for spring.

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It's all about soil

The first thing every gardener should do before they even think about buying seeds is to test your soil by buying a soil test kit. Getting a soil test is a great way to measure your soil's health and fertility. These tests are generally inexpensive, though they are well worth any cost when it comes to growing and maintaining beautiful botanical's in your garden.
You can also have a Geo-techinal lab assistant come and test your soil for you, at a cost. Whichever option you choose you will know that you're future plants will be happy, healthy and productively growing, so it pays to test your soil first. 
Create focal points
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Create focal points

Making space matter

Now you know your soil, now is the best time to plan your outdoor paradise. 
Try and think about the overall shape your garden will be, circles, ovals and rectangles are a great way to make a small garden appear larger and add a certain finesse. Adding colour to your garden can also create the illusion of distance, warm colours used nearer the house and cooler colours towards the end of the garden will trick the brain into thinking the garden space is longer than it actually is. Dark colours or a water feature that can be used as a focal point further away will give your garden well needed space.
Like color, texture can also create the illusion of distance in your garden. Plants are divided texturally into three categories- fine, medium and coarse.  A fine plant with lots of tiny leaves reflects a lot of light and tends to form an airy whole. Coarse, large-leafed plants include lots of gaps where shadows can hide, creating a starker contrast. Coarse textured plants tend to catch the eye while fine textured plants demand less visual attention and fade into the background, seeming more distant. Planting the coarsest plants nearest your house and fine-textured plants farthest away, you can create a false impression of distance.
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Tools at the ready!

Having a wide range of tools will come in handy, not only in the spring but also into the rest of the seasons that follow.
The 5 basic tools that are essential to any garden our as follows; Clippers - Medium sized, perfect for trimming small plants to large branches. Shovel - For all your hole digging needs. Large Rake -  buying a larger rake than normal can save you time clearing the garden and loosening soil. Trowels - for the smaller holes and fine tuning. Gloves - Protecting your hands from all sorts of dirt and chemicals.
Storing these in a bucket of sand over the cold and wetter months  will prevent rusting. If you already own rusty tools try rubbing them down with scotchbrite  and adding minimal oil, this should see the rust come clean off. 
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Cleaning, clearing & Pruning

Firstly we need to  prune the perennials as soon as we see new growth to keep it on its seasonal cycle.  Pruning the plants that will only bud on new growth and cutting the dead stems off will bring them out of its dormant stage. After pruning we will have a lot of debris. Next step is raking your lawn and clearing dead leaves and debris from your garden and adding them to the compost bin  is not only great at reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill but also keeping your garden clear of waste. 

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Mulching

Mulching is laying any  type of material over the surface of the soil as a covering. It's used to prevent weeds, leave moisture in the soil, keeping the soil cool and making the overall garden bed look more neat and attractive. Organic mulches are cheap and also help to improve the soil’s fertility as they decompose as well as suppressing weeds, keeping the plants cool and feeds the soil much needed vitamins. The more woodier and dryer the mulch will overall have a slower decomposition rate and won't add as much goodness as a full moist mulch.  You don't have to do this step but in the long run you won't regret this  when your garden is blossoming in the Spring. 
Hurdles and edging can neaten any lines
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Hurdles and edging can neaten any lines

Finishing Touches

Always overlooked is the need for polished and precision edges, a good edging can really elevate and add the finishing touch to your garden. 
Adding these between the flower beds and lawn will really distinguish colours and add a look of true completion when you're in full bloom. 

You can also try solar lighting down the edge of your garden path or edging, when day turns to dusk it can be hard to admire all of your hard work, adding lighting can really improve the atmosphere day or night. Not only is solar lighting cheaper than it has ever been, you are also helping save the environment  and the pennies in your pocket as no extra power is needed! 

Mirrors can add an extra dimension for gardens lacking in size, adding them further to the back of the garden can create a sense of magic and a relaxing atmosphere for you to enjoy. 

Once you’ve completed all the steps and preparations you are now ready for spring!
Now that everything’s ready, all you have left to do is just wait for the right moment when you can easily break the soil apart with your hands and get planting your new and improved beautiful garden! 


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