Colour Your Space Pots

Summer Garden Checklist

by Northern Life

Here's five top tips from Nigel Lawton at Dobbies to help you take care of your garden this summer...

Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes a season full of colour, fragrance, and longer days in the garden.

Dobbies Garden Centres says there are plenty of ways to get your outdoor space ready for the warmer seasons now. However, there’s also a lot that can be done during summer to embrace the season, so there’s no such thing as starting too late.

Dobbie’s buyer, Nigel Lawton, talks through his top tips on how to look after your garden and keep it happy and healthy this summer, as well as how those with smaller gardens can enjoy the sunny season.


Summer is when Roses look their best, but it’s important to continue deadheading them throughout the season to encourage new growth and blooms.

Summer is when plants grow their fastest, so feeding with fertiliser to ensure strong, healthy growth and maximum flow, as well as mulching with a good-quality peat-free compost to hold in moisture and give beds and borders a nutrient boost.

An ideal time to move earlier spring annuals when finished blooming to make room for summer bedding plants like Dahlias and Fuchsias, which will fill gardens with their amazing flowers.

Late summer flowering bulbs such as Crocosmia and Nerine can also be planted now, either in the ground or in containers. Just make sure you feed them regularly to encourage growth and water them regularly to keep them hydrated during the summer months.


Another essential job you should do in summer is ensuring your garden gets proper hydration. This is especially important during periods of drought and if you’re planning a long summer holiday.

Mulching well with a good quality peat-free compost will help the soil retain moisture and help rain penetrate the soil, keeping your plants hydrated between waterings.

Any water that has been collected in water butts earlier in the year can be used during dry spells to water your plants and is actually better for your garden as rainwater has none of the chemicals that water from the mains has. Just make sure you water your plants in the morning before the sun comes up, or in the evening; if you water during the heat of the day in full sun, the water can damage the leaves and flowers.


Whether you’ve got a small patch of grass or a sprawling lawn, it’s not too late to get it looking its best for the summer months, so you shouldn’t be discouraged if it’s looking bare or patchy.

Using sprinklers to water your lawn as needed will help, but you can also do this with collected rainwater via a hose or watering can. Using complete lawn treatment will tackle any moss or weeds on your lawn while just feeding the grass with a pet- and child-friendly lawn feed, which is also recommended and will get your lawn looking richer and greener in as little as a week.

After feeding, once you’ve seen signs of growth, you can give the grass a light cut, ensuring the blades are on the highest setting so as not to scalp your lawn. Keep an eye on your grass and mowing when needed over the summer months, as this will differ depending on your own garden’s needs and the overall look you want to achieve.

“Use sprinklers to ensure even watering of the grass during the summer months…”

If possible, keep a small patch of your garden wild to provide a safe space for wildlife to shelter during the heat. A wildflower area will encourage pollinators in your garden and create a wonderful buzz in the summer months. Wildflower seeds can be planted in early summer and will grow in just a few short weeks, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy a wildlife-friendly summer garden.

Grow your own

There’s no better time to enjoy growing your own fresh produce than summer, with an abundance of seasonal salads that can be grown in your garden or even on your windowsill.

Leaf lettuce is a ‘cut and come again’ crop that can be planted and harvested throughout the season, giving you fresh lettuce throughout the summer months. Rocket can also be grown easily in summer as a ‘cut and come again’ crop and pairs well with summer recipes. Try sowing Rocket every two weeks to produce a continuous crop throughout summer, and if your garden gets a lot of sun, plant in a partially shaded spot.

Herbs from tropical climates, such as Basil, Coriander, and Dill, thrive in summer and can be planted either in a vegetable patch or in a container on your windowsill for easy access when cooking.

Small space impact

If you’re looking to make an impact in a small space, summer is the ideal time to enjoy colourful containers and says it’s easy to create an effective look with colour themes. Warm colours like orange, red and pink work well to create a tropical, high-summer display, especially when planted in terracotta pots.

“Warm colours like orange, red and pink work well to create a tropical, high-summer display…”

If you favour a neutral colour palette, create a cluster of white flowers and plant in a contrasting pot for an eye-catching effect.

Arlo bistro set £199

To create a simple but effective display, try using large flowers like Dahlias as your pot’s focal point and pairing them with summer bedding plants like Begonias, Petunias, and Impatiens (Busy Lizzies) to fill any gaps. If you’re planting a hanging basket, trailing plants work well to elongate your display and create drama.

NorthernLife June/July/Aug 24