Your garden maintenance checklist

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Have you finally set up your dream garden? Congratulations! But now onto the hard part. Keeping your garden or backyard in top shape can feel daunting—to the point of letting things go unattended for a month or two. To help you out, here’s a garden maintenance checklist that breaks down the process into actionable steps.

What should be on your garden maintenance checklist? 

Check for garden pests.

Different kinds of pests can appear or grow in your plants. Some pests will leave eggs on the stems or flowers and eat the roots of your shrubs. Other pests like cutworms will even chew their way through the stems.

garden pests inside a leaf

Inspecting your plants for pests should be on your daily maintenance checklist. You can opt for DIY insect control solutions in cases of small-scale pest problems. Otherwise, you can hire a garden pest control service to get rid of garden pests.

Early detection is key to preventing irreversible damage to your garden.

Also read: The most common garden pests and how to deal with them

Weed your garden. 

Weeds grow where you don’t want them to. They can make your garden look messy. And sometimes—depending on the type of weed—they steal water and nutrients from your plants. Some weeds are long and easy to spot, especially if you haven’t weeded your garden in a while. But others are small and difficult to see if they’re hiding under the plants. Some weeds also sneakily look just like the plants they’re growing next to.

closeup of hands weeding a garden bed

To stop weed growth, spread a layer of mulch to smother existing weeds of light and air. You can also pull out the weeds from the roots and leave them out in the sun so they don’t take root anywhere else.

Also read:

Isolate or remove sick plants.

Worried about your plants suddenly wilting or their leaves having random black dots? To prevent these problems, check your plants for diseases or nutrient deficiencies daily. 

checking a leaf with spots and discolouration, plant disease symptom

If you find some parts of your garden are infected, you can do two things: Quarantine or remove them. 

  • Quarantining the affected plant requires a cloche, which is a clear plastic or glass cover that keeps plants from spreading disease. 

  • Removing the sick plant ensures you destroy the affected plant to prevent infecting the rest of your garden.

Check the soil’s moisture.

checking soil health and moisture

Overwatering your garden is one thing you should avoid, as this can injure or kill your plants. Always check the soil’s moisture levels. Use your fingers to feel the earth to about a few inches deep. Water the soil if it feels dry. But there’s no need if the soil feels too wet.

Evenly moist soil is a good rule of thumb to know if your plants need more or less water.

Clear out fallen branches, leaves, and other debris.

gardener raking withered and fallen leaves

Debris can appear at any time. If you want to keep your garden spick and span, always remove dead plants and fallen leaves and branches. Clean out your garden, especially after strong winds or a storm. You can gather the debris into a compost pile. However, make sure to remove plants that died due to disease, as these can infect your garden.

Regularly prune and trim your plants.

pruning a plant with secateurs as a garden maintenance measure

Trimming your bushes or shrubs is an essential garden maintenance task. Your greenery can turn into an unruly jungle if you leave it be for a few months. Regular trimming and pruning not only keep your garden tidy but also uncover pests and weeds that could be hiding.

Also read: What’s the difference between pruning and trimming?

Garden maintenance tool list

With the above maintenance tasks in mind, you’ll need the following tools to tidy up your garden. You don’t need to have all these tools. But with just the basics, you can make your garden look nice on a budget.

top view of garden maintenance tools like a hand fork and pruning shears

  • Hand trowel - A small shovel you can use with one hand. Its pointed tip makes it easy to move seedlings or small flowers, repot plants, and remove plants infected by pests.

  • Soil knife - Also known as a hori hori knife or weeding knife, you can use this tool for digging, cutting foliage, and weeding, as the steel blade is sharp on both sides.

  • Pruning shears - Strong enough to cut through hard branches and shrubs up to two centimetres thick

  • Lopper - The big sister of pruning shears. It has long handles to make cutting easier if the branch or foliage is too deep inside a tree or bush.

  • Garden rake - For scooping or scraping out garden debris and fallen leaves

  • Garden hoe - To remove weeds 

  • Garden hose - Lets you easily water your garden without lugging around a bucket of water 

  • Garden gloves - Keep your hands clean and protect them from sharp branches, dead plants, and pests

Also read: 11 Essential gardening tools for your home garden

Stay on top of your garden maintenance checklist. 

Garden maintenance can be a lot of work, but all your effort will be worth it. With proper maintenance and the right tools, you’ll have a tidy, healthy, and beautiful garden. And of course, you don’t have to do it all yourself! You can always hire garden maintenance services or professional gardeners for complex gardening tasks.

Related: Garden maintenance cost guide  
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