5 tenant tips for maintaining a summer garden
Life alfresco is what summer dreams are made of, and taking good care of your lawn and garden is key to maintaining a welcoming and thriving environment to enjoy all season long.
"A well-maintained garden not only looks great but provides a welcoming place to live," agrees RMA CEO Andrew Graham. "When renting, it's important for tenants to check their contracts to clarify what their responsibilities are in maintaining the garden. Commonly, it includes watering, mowing, edging lawns, weeding and light pruning. Your Property Manager should provide you with information and as well as instructions for the reticulation system if there is one installed."
Ready to get your hands dirty? We asked Josh O'Keefe from The Greenscape Collective for the five best ways to maintain a garden to love and enjoy this summer.
1. Water, water, water
During summer, on your set watering days, water your plants in the morning or evening when it's cooler, and the impact of evaporation is reduced. "If your lawn and plants are dying, it can cost you money or even your bond to repair," says Josh. "Firstly, check if your property has an irrigation system. If it does, it should have been turned on at the beginning of spring. Otherwise, it may need repairing. If you don't have irrigation, hand watering is fine."
2. Nurture and nourish
Plants need vast energy to flower, produce, develop a healthy root system, and grow leaves for photosynthesis. Fertilising your lawn and garden helps them do that whilst promoting healthy plant growth "Feed the garden every month with liquid fertiliser," recommends Josh. "For ease, you can use Seasol (seaweed concentrate) or an equivalent attached to the hose." Just as important as feeding your plants is not overfeeding them. "Overfertilising can burn roots, kill plants, and harm the environment," he says. If you are keen to do some planting of your own, ask for approval from your landlord first. "Some are happy for you to plant, especially if there isn't much of a garden there to start with," says Andrew. "Some landlords prefer you to plant in containers or trestles rather than dig in the garden."
3. Maintain the lawn
Find out what type of lawn you have, and research how to fertilise, water and trim it best to maintain lush verdant growth. "Mow the lawn regularly to keep at a low level," suggests Josh. "If you allow it to grow too long, it can 'burn' or go to seed. You can also use liquid fertiliser for nourishment. The key to a great lawn is keeping its care routine simple."
4. Weeds be gone
A weed is any unwanted plant that grows in the garden. The most effective way to eliminate is to pull them out as soon as they sprout. "Manual or hand weeding is the most effective way to get rid of them," says Josh. "Be wary of weed killer. If you use the wrong one, you can kill your plants. Speak to your local nursery first for advice."
5. Call in the pros!
If you are short on time or born without a green thumb, consider hiring a contractor to manage your garden for you. "Their scope of work can include mowing the lawn, maintaining the garden, and offering advice," says Josh. "It will cost you a monthly amount but can definitely save you money in the long term if gardening isn't your thing."