How to get your garden ready for springtime without lifting a finger

With the recent wintry weather behind us, gardeners up and down the country are heading outside to prepare their gardens for spring.

But, here at Bark, we understand that not everyone wants to spend their spare time shovelling dirt. In the aftermath of Storm Doris, we’ve seen a surge in the number of people requesting gardening and fence repair services on our site – and we think they have the right idea.

Here’s how to complete those essential garden chores and get your outdoor space ready for springtime without ever lifting a finger.

Effortlessly repair damaged fencing

Last week’s stormy weather wrought havoc up and down the country, with 100mph winds buffeting coastlines, destroying fences and causing an estimated £100million worth of damage.

Collecting new timber, removing broken fence panels and digging out stubborn posts can be exhausting work. But there’s no reason you should have to be the one to do it! Place a Bark now to get quotes from local fence repair specialists fast and free.

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Clear the gutters without getting your hands dirty

Allowing your gutters to become clogged with leaves and debris can cause serious structural damage to your home, and it’s all too easy to forget about them until something goes badly wrong.

That’s why, at this time of year it’s a great idea to don a pair of heavy gloves, climb a ladder and give those neglected pipes a good seeing to. Or, if you’d prefer not to get your hands dirty, click the link below now and hire someone to do it for you.

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Prune shrubs and trees without breaking a sweat

The end of winter is a time for pruning back unwanted branches on your trees and shrubs to make way for new growth.

This is an essential task if you want your plants to remain healthy, safe and growing into an attractive shape. But tree surgery can be dangerous work if you’ve never done it before, and if you’re in any doubt about what you’re doing it’s best left to a professional.

So why not hire an expert to prune your garden this spring? Click the link below and we’ll put you in touch with local pruning specialists fast and free.

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Get your garden ready for spring today

In just a few weeks’ time, you’ll be relaxing in the garden with a cool glass of wine. But there’s a lot to get through before then to get your outdoor space looking its best – from weeding beds and repairing trellises to planting bulbs for the year ahead.

Hiring a professional gardener is the best way to tackle those necessary chores quickly and with a minimum of hassle, so your family can enjoy relaxing outside during the warm summer months.

So forget planting, weeding, mowing and seeding. Place a Bark now to get your garden ready for spring without lifting a finger, and find a great pro to keep it looking great all year round.

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How to hire the right landscape designer for your garden

If you’re reading this, you understand what a magical place a garden can be. Where some see little more than a patch of of fenced-in lawn with a shed at one end, you see possibility.

It’s a safe place for your kids to play, somewhere you can relax on a sunny afternoon, a party venue and loads more besides. All you need is the right pro to make your garden dreams a reality.

A quality landscaper will help you create the garden of your dreams. But, for many people, finding someone you can trust to get the job done right is easier said than done.

Well, that ends today. Here at Bark, we believe finding skilled local landscape designers online should be quick and easy. So right now, we’re going to show you how to find the right pro you.

How to work out your budget

Before we get started, let’s talk price. A good landscaper will usually tailor their plans to fit your budget, but there are a couple of factors that might affect their quote.

For one thing, if your garden sits on difficult terrain, you may need to pay more to get the end result you’re looking for. As one of our pros told us recently, it’s a lot harder to turf a sloping lawn than a flat one.

But, to help you work out a ballpark figure, we’ve created a handy tool to show you what fixing up your garden is likely to cost. We call it the Budget Estimator, and how it works is simple.

When you place a Bark on our site, it shows you a summary of what people with similar requirements are usually quoted. This should give you a ‘rough and ready’ idea of what a realistic budget is for your project.

What to look for in a landscape gardener

With the question of what your project is likely to cost out of the way, it’s time to start comparing quotes – and that’s what we do best.

From the moment you place your Bark, we’ll start contacting skilled landscapers in your area, and you’ll often start receiving quotes within a couple of hours.

Everyone you hear from will be ready and available to renovate your garden, so all that’s left is for you to choose your favourite. Here’s a few things to think about when making your decision:

  • Do they have a solid reputation?

Reviews are a great way to gauge what to expect from a landscaper, which is why we assign our pros ‘star ratings’ based on how previous customers felt about their work.

Be sure to take a look at each pro’s Bark profile and website to see what people have been saying about them.

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  • What’s their portfolio like?

A smart company will only post their best work online, so don’t be surprised if every landscaper you find has a great portfolio.

But having said that, they’re still well worth looking at to get a feel for the kind of work each pro normally does. Check to see if they’ve done the sort of thing you’re looking for in the past and made a good job of it.

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  • Are you looking for specialization?

Many landscaping companies have teams of specialists to help with the different aspects of your project.

It can work out cheaper to hire individuals for each task separately, but generally people prefer the convenience of having one firm that can handle everything for them.

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  • Do they have local experience?

When it comes to gardening services, local businesses have a real edge. They know which plants are most likely to thrive in your specific microclimate and they’re familiar with local laws and regulations.

That’s why we believe it pays to find someone with local experience to fix up your garden, rather than going to a major chain.

Get landscaping quotes now

When you find someone you like the look of, invite them round to take a look at your garden and give you an estimate. Most landscapers will provide free consultations, and it’s a great opportunity to ask a final few questions to iron out the important details:

How many years’ experience do they have? Are they fully insured? Are they certified by a UK Trade Association? What’s the breakdown of their quote? And does their work come with a guarantee?

Once you’re satisfied you’ve found the right pro, all that’s left is to get a written contract of works and get the ball rolling – job done!

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Now you’ve seen how easy it can be to hire a landscaper with Bark, it’s time to get you the garden on your dreams.

Remember, we do all the legwork for you to find the best landscapers in your area, and send personalised estimates direct to your inbox. Simply click the link below to find skilled landscapers in your area today.

Find a great landscaper with Bark today.

Ask the Expert: Five essential gardening jobs to do this spring

With spring in full bloom, now is the perfect time to create the perfect space to relax with your friends and family. Getting on top of things now will make all the difference as temperatures start to rise and barbeque season gets into full swing – and that’s where Bark comes in.

To help you make the most of that neglected outside space, we asked one of our top gardening pros – Harrison Gardens founder Julian Harrison-Jones – to run you through five essential gardening jobs to do this spring.

1. Fix up your lawn

You can find hundreds of Lawn Care specialists on Bark.com
You can find hundreds of Lawn Care specialists on Bark.com

One of the main things that people think about at this time of year is Lawn Care. Weeds are coming through, the edges aren’t done and it’s starting to look overgrown.

“It’s time to start working on your lawn,” says Julian. “That means aeration, mowing, weeding and feeding. You feed the lawn twice a year, in Spring and Autumn.”

“When you’re starting to mow the lawn, because it will be the first cut of the year you should do it on a high blade,” he adds. “You’re just encouraging new, healthy growth. Don’t go crazy otherwise you’ll do damage and you might kill the lawn.”

2. Get on top of the weeding

Your lawn isn’t the only thing growing again now the winter months are behind us. Rolling up your sleeves and tackling the weeding now will mean you have a head start going into the rest of the year.

“To be honest, weeding is probably ‘number one’ because of the time of year,” says Julian. “You’ve left it over the winter, they’re coming up now and if you don’t tackle weeds now they’ll compete with shrubs and plants that you want to keep.”

“Basically, they’re all competing for nutrients and water,” he adds. “So if the weeds take over, they’ll take that away from the actual plants. As well as some weeds, like Ivy or creeping weeds, which will can strangle and kill your plants.” 

3. Choose your ‘feature’ plants

Julian planting flowers for one of his many happy clients
Julian planting flowers for one of his many happy clients

Once you’ve got the weeds under control, it’s time to think about the plants you actually want to look at.

“It’s still relatively early in the gardening year,” Julian explains. “So you can plant your ‘feature’ plants or architectural-type planting – your shrubs, the backbone of your garden.”

He adds: “If you like roses, this is the perfect time for them, as well as perineal flowers and trees.”

4. Get mulching and feeding

Mulching and feeding goes hand-in-hand with weeding and planting, but the exact type of plant food you use depends on what you’re using it for.

“It could be manure, it could be peat, it could be leaf mould or compost,” Julian explains. “If it’s roses, for example, they really like a horse manure. Whereas, in general, your shrubs prefer bark just to supress weeds and keep the heat in.

“With your lawn, it would be nitrogen. Generally, a well-balanced fertiliser containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in equal proportions. You can’t go too wrong with that.”

5. Repair damaged trees and fencing

Starting with storm Desmond back in December, the UK has been buffeted by a wave of severe storms over the past few months. Thankfully, the worst of it is behind us, and you can now be thinking about repairing those damaged fence panels.

“Because of the recent storms, any damage that’s been caused over the winter – fencing, staking trees – those kind of essential works can be done,” Julian explains. “That’s what took up most of January. Lots of fencing work.”

“About two weeks ago we had a job that involved a lot of staking and getting everything back into shape,” he adds. “You should have two large stakes either side of the tree, which should be tied together firmly, then the tree tied to that.”

Find a local gardening expert today

With thousands of registered gardening professionals, giving your garden a makeover in time for summer is easy with Bark.com.

Whether you’re fixing the fence, clearing away those pesky weeds, or planning a full-blown garden renovation, we can help. Simply click the link below to find gardening professionals in your area today.

Gone with the Wind – how to make the most of your autumn garden

By Andy McIndoe, Gold Medal winning Chelsea designer for the last 22 years

The highlights of the autumn garden are some of the most heart-warming and surprising and can represent a great opportunity for garden projects. Maybe it’s the rich fall colours that seem to glow even on dull days. Or perhaps it’s that lush burst of growth of the grass, encouraged by morning dew and more frequent rainfall. The gardening and landscaping year is far from closing, there’s plenty that you, or your gardener can do to make the most of the season and prepare for the future.

Grass Blades morning dew
Morning dew in the garden

There is a treasure trove of seasonal plant material on sale in garden centres and nurseries. Even if it’s still alive, get rid of summer bedding from those patio containers and pots. There are lots of wonderful autumn and winter container plants that will really brighten up the patio and doorstep: violas, pansies, heathers, heucheras, cyclamen and a host of foliage subjects. Many of these will stay looking good through winter.

There are also all those lovely spring flowering bulbs to plant in preparation for another season. Plant any small bulbs such as snowdrops, iris and fritillaries as soon as possible; they deteriorate quickly if left out of the ground for long. Hold off planting tulips until late autumn as if planted too early they can suffer from frost damage or the disease ‘tulip fire’. Daffodils and narcissi can be planted at any time.

Spring daffodils plant anytime
The signal of springtime!

Leaves are falling, so keep gathering them regularly and do not leave them lying on the grass. It’s best to mow them up with the mower on a high setting if possible. This chops the large ones coarsely and adds a few green grass cuttings that help the composting process. It is certainly much less backbreaking than raking – quicker too – so if you don’t have the right equipment, ask your local lawn care professional for advice.

Remember, if you’re looking for help around the garden, autumn is often the best time for planting trees and shrubs, and can be a good time of year for general garden maintenance, as well as removal projects once barbecue season is over. Some shrubs will give instant impact if planted now and they can also benefit wild birds that visit your garden. Cotoneasters are a great choice – tiny white flowers in spring that attract bees and other pollinators, scarlet berries in autumn and winter that the birds really enjoy. If you are thinking of a planting a tree, think beyond spring blossom. Sorbus and malus both have colourful fruits that provide winter food for birds, if you can tempt them to something organic away from the bird feeder.

Red Pommes of firethorn Pyracantha
Autumn Beauty

If you choose just one shrub to plant it has to be a hydrangea: these have gone from being old fashioned to super-trendy in the past couple of years. They are at their best in autumn when their brighter colours fade to something far more sophisticated and beautiful, before they turn parchment in winter. For flower arrangers this is the time to cut them and dry them to preserve their faded beauty.

Whatever you have planned for your garden, ground preparation and careful planting gives the best results. So fork over the ground and mix in plenty of garden compost or shrub and tree planting compost. analysis of website . Dig a hole that’s plenty deep and wide enough and plant firmly. Always stake and tie any new trees securely.

While summer is unfortunately drawing to a close, this is certainly no time to abandon your garden. Taking care of your garden now will reap rewards all through autumn and winter and give you the chance to play host when others can’t!

Andy McIndoe
Andy McIndoe

Follow @AndyMcIndoe on Twitter for more expert insights.

Andy is MD at Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres, as well as a tutor and blogger at the online gardening school MyGardenSchool.

 

 

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