A luscious lawn
A mild winter coupled with the record-breaking warm spell in February has meant that many people have been mowing their lawns for a couple of months already. But April is the month when growth really accelerates, so you should treat your grass to a dose of high-nitrogen fertilizer that will provide the nutrition it needs. If your lawn has been invaded by patches of moss, rake it out thoroughly then reseed with grass. Mix the grass seeds with some general purpose compost, water the raked patch of lawn thoroughly, then scatter the compost/seed mix over the area. And remember to keep off the grass until the new roots are firmly established.
Go wild in the border
Wildflowers are in decline across the UK as intensive farming methods leave little room for nature to thrive. So planting your borders with wildflower species can provide a valuable resource for bees, butterflies and countless other pollinators. When choosing seeds, look out for popular annuals like cornflowers and poppies, or perennials like ox-eye daisies, or simply choose a packet of mixed wildflowers. Prepare the ground by removing grass and weeds, then rake the soil to level the earth. To sow, simply scatter handfuls of seeds over the earth, lightly rake the soil again, then water thoroughly. Wildflowers generally prefer poor soil, so there’s no need to add fertilizer.
You don’t need a huge plot to grow vegetables – even a 30cm strip of ground next to a fence can serve as a veggie patch. To prepare the earth, simply turn the soil over with a spade, remove the weeds and work in some compost or manure. Dwarf French beans are very easy to grow – they can be sown outside from mid-April onwards, and they don’t need any staking or netting support. Once the pods start growing, make sure you pick them before they fully ripen or the plant will shut down new growth. Regular harvesting of young, tender pods (no more than 10cm long) will ensure the plant keeps producing – and you can enjoy a steady supply of home-grown greens right through the summer.
A pristine patio
Patios can become slimy over winter, attracting a thin layer of algae which can become dangerously slippery when wet. Dirty slabs retain moisture too, which can lead to frost damage when temperatures plummet. So if your patio is looking worse for wear, get your wellies on and get out there. Brush off any loose dirt then give it a good blast with a pressure washer. If the slime is hard to shift, consider using a patio cleaning solution, but always avoid acid-based cleaners, which can do more harm than good, and the run-off can damage your lawn and borders.