It’s easy to leave the Christmas prep to-do list until the last minute, after all, life doesn’t stop just because the 25th of December is rolling around, it seems to get busier, with work Christmas parties and tying off loose ends before the holidays.
So if you are the kind of person who buys last minute Christmas gifts, puts the Christmas ham lunch in to roast at 11:30 am and forgets to put lights on the Christmas tree until the 23rd, rest easy, we have a garden makeover that is right up your ally.
Gardens often get overlooked in the lead up to Christmas, that is until you are gathered in the yard with guests and suddenly that untrimmed hedge and overgrown lawn become all too obvious. It’s well worth taking the time to prepare, not just to save yourself the humiliation after Aunt Lucy sprains her ankle on the busted popup sprinkler head, but making your outdoor space attractive means you are more likely to get out and use it. The weather around Christmas time is usually perfect for outdoor drinks, a traditional Aussie Christmas BBQ or for the kids to run off the chocolate and sugar.
So here are five ways you can spruce your garden and have it tip-top in just three hours. Then you are left with the rest of the weekend to buy and wrap those presents and maybe even make yourself a Christmas stocking.
Taking shortcuts in the garden comes down to one simple thing, the right tools for the job. If you don’t have the equipment you need on hand it’s absolutely worth hiring them for a day from a supply specialist. Book in advance so you know they’ll be ready for you, pick them up right when the doors open and you can return it again before closing. Alternatively you can buy yourself an early Christmas present, it will keep giving back over and over.
You will be so amazed by how effective and sleek your work is you might even consider making this five-step process part of your semi regular clean.
1. Spray down
Tool for use: High-pressure cleaner
A high-pressure sprayer is your cleaning friend on just about every outdoor surface. It’s as easy to use as connecting to your outdoor tap and then point and shoot. Dirt, mud, dust and mould will be blown away in moments. Your exterior house walls will look as though they’ve been freshly painted.
The wash down not only has your outdoors sparking but it will also help prevent dirt getting tracked inside on feet and paws.
Use on your:
• Exterior house walls
• Retaining and garden walls
• Tiled and concrete flooring
• Stairs and walkways
Warning: The difference may actually shock you. Because dirt builds up slowly over time you don’t always realise how bad the state of your surfaces has become. You’ll be surprised how new everything looks, even if you didn’t realise they were dirty, so spray down everything to really get a stunning look all over.
2. Cobweb removal
Tool for use: Broom and a High-pressure cleaner
While you have the pressure cleaner out you can also use it to sweep cobwebs, dirt and dust from outdoor furniture, windows and doors.
First brush over the surface with a broom to help bunch the cobwebs up ready for a water blasting. The broom is also good for removing most of the fine dirt and dust off windows so they really sparkle when they’re washed.
If you have fly screens remove these and lean them against a fence, wall or flat on the grass to spay them with the hose. You can also go the extra mile and give them a once over with a sponge and bucket of warm soapy water, then a quick rinse with the garden hose. It takes all of five minutes.
For outdoor furniture remove all cushions and remember to turn the items over to get into the cobwebs underneath tabletops and chairs.
Use on your:
• Outdoor dining
• Outdoor umbrellas
3. Mow the lawn
Tool for use: Lawn mower
This one does need to be done regularly to make it light work. If you leave it until it’s overgrown you’ll really have to battle with the mower to clear a path through, leaving you hot and sweaty and saying, ‘never again’.
Make a point of cutting the grass down regularly but keep the mower blades high. The longer you leave the grass the fresher and greener it will look over the hot summer months and the nicer the feel under your feet.
TIP: Use that pressure hose to wash the mower down after use.
4. Shape up edges
Tool for use: Whipper-snipper
Sharp edges always look neat and tidy, even if other parts of the garden are a little rough and unruly, a clean line will give an overall good impression.
Take a line trimmer around the edges of your walkways, garden beds and paving. Give the area a blast with the high-pressure hose when you are all done, but be careful not to cut wet grass.
Use on the edge of your:
• Garden beds
• Fence lines
• Tree trunks
• Foundation walls
5. Weed away
Tool for use: Mulch, hoe/trowel, hands
For the finishing touch pull out pesky weeds, especially the ones between the pavement and pour mulch over your garden beds. Mulch will help keep your garden fresh and healthy and give an overall manicured look. It also helps reduce your water use and prevent new weed growth. If it’s been an especially hot few days, water your garden beds before you put the mulch down.
For all your outdoor work, make sure you wear the correct clothes for the job. Long pants, garden gloves, sturdy boots, a hat and protective eye wear.