As we enter April, everything starts to feel a bit more hopeful. The days are longer, the world looks greener, and if we keep our fingers crossed, hopefully the sun will come out to play too.
With spring finally arriving, it’s time to get back out into the garden and start tackling the jobs you’ve been putting off. April is a great time to take stock of what needs to be done to get the garden back in shape after winter, but it’s also the time to look ahead. Time spent wisely in the garden now will reap the benefits in months to come, and ensure you have a glorious garden over the summer months and beyond.
But, where to start? If you’re looking hopelessly at the weeds and overgrown beds wondering how on earth to turn your outdoor space into an oasis, then we’ve got some handy tips to help you get the most out of your garden this April.
Repair your lawn
If the winter’s left your grass looking a little lacklustre, then April is a great time to work on repairing it so it’ll soon be back to its verdant self. For any patchy areas, sow grass seeds now. Prepare the lawn by removing weeds and scarifying the soil to loosen it. Then, use a lawn feed to help promote grass growth.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to plant. Mow the grass, then moisten the soil and sprinkle the grass seed evenly. (You should aim for about 35g per square metre, however, for patchier areas you can apply 50g per square metre).
Water your lawn after reseeding, and continue to mow as normal.
Tackle the weeds
It’s a gardening job nobody enjoys, but an essential one nonetheless, especially if you want to give your garden a fighting chance of blooming this year.
Around this time of year, you’ll start to see dandelions springing up in your lawn, so it’s a good idea to tackle these now to avoid them taking over.
The same goes for those pesky weeds that are in your borders and beds - left to their own devices, they’ll take over and hamper the chances of your budding plants flourishing, so pull them up now (make sure to get the root too).
Grow your greens
If you’ve been longing for your own supply of vegetables, then now’s the time to plant them up and make that dream a reality. If you’re growing summer vegetables from seed, then you’ll need to harden them off first, by gently introducing them to the outdoors and to sunlight. Try leaving them outside for short bursts of time, and eventually you can increase this to allow them to be outside day and night.
Let it sow
Now’s a great time to sow seeds, especially if you’re looking for some colour in the garden this summer. Direct sow wildflower mixes - they’re ideal for attracting bees and butterflies, and will give the garden a lovely variety of colours too. It’s also the time to sow hardy annuals (poppies, sunflowers and marigolds).
Before you sow, prep your soil to make sure it’s well-conditioned and providing the best nutrients to your seeds.
Plant out sweet peas
If you sowed sweet pea seeds in autumn, then the likelihood is they’ll be ready to plant in the ground this month. You’ll need to be sure the last frost has passed, and that you’ve hardened the seedlings by introducing them to the outside, bit by bit for a couple of weeks before you plan to plant them.
Once they’re good to go, choose a spot in full sun where they’ll thrive, and plant them about 20cm apart.
Set your sights on summer
Take advantage of the soil beginning to warm up, by planting some summer flowering bulbs this month. Gladioli, Cannas and Alliums can all be planted directly into the ground, and will make for an impressive display come summer. Group the bulbs together with at least six for maximum impact.
Back to the roots
April is the ideal month to plant trees and shrubs in the garden - planting in spring gives them a chance to grow and flourish during the summer months, and they’ll be better prepared for winter.
If there’s any trees or shrubs that need a little relocation, now’s the time to consider doing this, too. Choose a cooler day to avoid the roots drying out, and be aware that it may take a little time for your plant to adjust to its new surroundings. Much like us, moving can be stressful, and plants can experience shock. Ensure that the soil is well watered before moving the plant, and afterwards continue to water thoroughly.
It’s also a good idea to lay down a thick mulch of compost or bark to help conserve moisture.
Charlie Bond - Gardenscape's Constant Gardener
We received a thank-you e-mail from Mr James Pritchard, which we don't want to withhold from you:
I just wanted to say what a superb company you are. I’ve had two orders and deliveries now.
The ordering process and payment is easy on your website. Office staff are polite and friendly when they call you. Correspondence is clear via email and the pre-delivery call is useful.
The staff that deliver are very friendly, polite, fast and efficient.
I stumbled on your company on the internet when looking for some pine nuggets. Most companies were based in the north of England and it’s nice to find a company more locally.
So well done to everyone and thank you very much.
The photo above shows the pine nuggets in situ.
Project Name – Domestic Roof, Surrey
Contractor – Polderland Landscapes
Designer – Maaike Van De Merwe
Project Information – A small but beautiful domestic project to remind us that green roofs can take all shapes and sizes. The green roof is an oak framed garage with a sloping roof, which the residents can see from the ground floor of their cottage. The clients were inspired by images of green roofs in magazines to improve their view. The cottage owner’s brief: colourful tapestry of plants to look like a natural sedum wildflower meadow. Maaike realised the client’s vision by laying sedum turf, which she interspersed with plug plants, to ensure the roof would look as natural as possible and have a lot of colour. Maaike hand-picked the turf and plugs and also transported these herself from the nursery to the site.
Bourne Amenity Involvement – Great to see domestic projects taking on green roof elements, on even something as small as a garden shed or flat roof extension. In this case we provided our BS8616:2019 extensive roof substrate, along with horticultural grit and lightweight clay to ensure a great lightweight finish to this domestic roof. All supplied in our small poly bags and installed with love.
Word from the designer – “The sedum roof was put on with the highest variety of succulent plants and sempervivums added to give it a more naturalistic feel as to create a sedum wildflower meadow per client request. I was very happy with the substrate and grit that was delivered timely and per clients request in the correct place. I was happy with the client service you supplied in advising the right sort of substrate and the right quantities needed. For future sedum roofs I shall be in contact with Bourne Amenity again. Timely delivery of the products, good quality of the pallets and ease or ordering.”
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Project Name – Whitechapel Station
Contractor – Blackdown
Architect – Crossrail 25
Project Information – This project involved a lot of coordination with other services and trades due to the restricted access, location (above a rail track) and for a prestigious project. The design of the station canopy on which the greenroof has been installed meant that the specified Blackdown system would need to function on a curved barrel vaulted which was pitched from 0 to 22 degrees. The pitched roof of 22 degrees requires a high degree of planning, meticulous attention to detail, planning and installation. The pitched areas require the addition of substrate retention battens to stop the migration of the materials down the slope.
Bourne Amenity Involvement – Clearly this was a challenging site being central London and part of the Crossrail project. Once again we had to deliver into strict timed delivery slots, with clearance needed on vehicles and drivers days before hand for security purposes, which is something our FORS Gold fleet is becoming used to. We delivered close to 2,000 poly bag units of our certified BS8616:2019 extensive substrate, along with a washed 20/40mm shingle for the drainage layer. Another exciting project on the London landscape and a great way to introduce biodiversity into a previously sterile urban environment.
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Project Name – 33 King William Street
Contractor – Kings Landscapes
Project Information – Irrigated planters and lawns encouraging insects and wildlife to the ever-changing London skyline, supply and installation of a living wall, and green screens hiding the inevitable plant and AC units. Natural stone paved walkways, hardwood decking, bespoke timber benches and installation of the BMU housing incorporating an otherwise ugly but necessary element of high rise roofs into the landscape. Over 40 species of wildflowers and plants bring this space in the heart of London to life.
Bourne Amenity Involvement – Another challenging site with timed drops and deliveries in heavy traffic conditions. We delivered over 300m³ of our bespoke Intensive Roof Substrate in a combination of 1.2m³ bags and our poly bags to assist with moving the materials around site. There was also a sedum area that demanded our BS8616:2019 extensive blend, along with a double washed silica sand for drainage. Another privileged site to work on, and the results are stunning.
“Kings worked successfully with Bourne Amenity on 33 King William street both in product supply and logistically. Bourne were able to overcome strict timeslot allocations with material being lifted directly to the roof using the only tower crane on site. It was great to work with a company that are willing to go the extra mile during challenging times.” - Dan Pinna, Head of Operations, Kings Landscapes
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