While there will undoubtedly be a few warm weeks left of summer 2019, the season is undoubtedly beginning to draw to a close.
This interim period – where fall is on the horizon, but memories of the summer are fresh in your mind – is a great time to assess how you were able to use your outdoor space during the warmest months of the year.
Why? Simple: so you can think about next summer. By thinking over the summer that has almost passed, you can identify any potential problems or drawbacks you have experienced, so you know what you might want to change before the summer of 2020 arrives.
In addition, you can also identify what went well and brought the most pleasure, so you can then plan to do more of these things in the future.
Here are four questions to ask yourself when reflecting on the summer that’s just gone in the effort of making summers to come all the better…
Question One: “What garden maintenance tasks did I least enjoy?”
Maintaining a garden in the summer months can be exhausting; growth flourishes, which is wonderful when it comes to flowers and plants you like, but less welcome when it comes to weeds and your lawn.
As a result, many of us have to spend much of the summer tending to our gardens to keep them looking their best, and accept that doing so is necessary.
However, reflecting on the summer past and identifying maintenance tasks that you found particularly tiresome or irritating gives you the opportunity to work to ensure this is the last summer you’ve had to complete those tasks.
If weeding irritates you, then you could use fall and winter to plan to lay landscaping fabric; if mowing remains a perpetual irritation, then a robotic lawn mower could free you from this task.
Whatever your least favourite maintenance task is, modern innovations have ensured there’s always a solution you might want to consider implementing next year.
Question Two: “How did the weather impact my enjoyment of my garden?”
When most of us imagine spending time in our gardens during the summer, we picture the perfect conditions: clear blue skies, no clouds, and a light breeze; warm and pleasant, but not too hot.
Such days, however, are usually a rarity, and it’s not uncommon for people to lose the inability to spend time in their garden due to the whims of the weather.
Rain is, of course, the biggest issue that most people face in this regard, but rainy weather is far from the only issue people face: for example, glorious sunshine can be enjoyable, but it can quickly become too hot and uncomfortable to sit in for long.
Both of these solutions can be addressed by looking at adding an opening roof or some other form of overhead protection to your patio or seating area, so you can spend time outside whatever the weather decides to do.
In addition, it’s also worth thinking about the wind, which can blow pot plants over or make it difficult to eat out/ Problems that can be solved by adding a wind break or two to your garden in time for next year.
Arguably the greatest benefit of deciding how to resolve weather-related issues at the end of summer is that you will have months to make your decision on which solution works best, and then action your plans in time for next year.
Question Three: “How are my tools and equipment holding up?”
Before storing your garden tools for the winter, take the time to examine each item. After a season’s worth of use, there may be rust developing on exposed metal, or breakages that make the item difficult to handle and use effectively.
If, upon inspection, you find that this is the case for a few of your tools, question if that tool is really worth keeping for next year. If not, plan to replace it so you can have tools that are fit for purpose next year when you come to work on your garden for the coming summer.
You can then think about your equipment, such as your lawn mower or sprinkler system. Did they perform as expected? Or did you lose valuable time to fixing problems, or compensating for the malfunctions of each device? If the latter is true, then as with tools, you can plan to replace them over the next few months.
Question Four: “Which areas of my garden did I admire the most?”
Up to this point, we have focused on the potential problems people face over the course of the summer months, but it’s also good to focus on the positives.
On the days when you had the chance to relax and sit out enjoying your garden, which areas caught your eye and brought the most joy? Was it a beautiful flower bed, the satisfaction of seeing your own vegetables grow, or something else entirely?
Whatever it is, noting the areas that heightened your time spent outside can give you something to focus on as you begin to plan for next summer.
If, for example, the sight of floral blooms brought a smile to your face every time you saw them, then you can plan to spend more time planting and tending to flowers next year.
You could, for example, start growing more exotic options or add a new flower bed in order to increase the number of plants your garden can hold. If you particularly enjoyed growing vegetables, then you could consider dedicating more of your garden to this purpose.
Or, if you’re not quite ready to sacrifice your lawn just yet – consider planting vegetables that can be grown in containers. It makes sense to take the aspects of your garden that you enjoyed and seek to further that enjoyment next year
When you have answered the questions above, and considered possible remedies to these issues, you can use fall and winter to put plans in motion so that everything is ready by the time next summer arrives.