Homes

How to spruce up your garden on a budget before your guests arrive

Gardening guru Charlie Albone shares his best ever tips for sprucing up your garden to impress visitors over the holidays.

By Holly Royce and Yours Staff
Whether you're having guests over for Christmas lunch or hosting a New Year's soiree, now is the time to get your backyard ready.
Selling Houses Australia host and gardening guru Charlie Albone shares his top strategies for prepping your outdoor space ahead of time so you can relax with loved ones.

Feed it

It's too late now to see the effects of a slow-release fertiliser but you can still use a liquid fertiliser on your plants to give them a boost.
The nutrients are suspended in water so it's much easier for plants to soak them up for fast results.
I also use a seaweed tonic on the plants a week later to help strengthen before those hot, dry conditions kick in.

Mulch!

Applying a layer of mulch to all your beds at this time of year not only makes your garden look more loved, it also controls the water levels.
A layer 75mm thick lets water through and insulates the soil so less moisture is lost through evaporation. I like to use pea-straw mulch as it breaks down quickly and improves the soil by upping those all-important organic levels.

A quick-pick-me-up

If your dead, brown lawn doesn't quite hit the spot, use a liquid spray-on rapid greening fertiliser.
This is a liquid in a bottle that attaches to the hose, and the fertiliser's high in nitrogen, which gives plants their green leaves.

Tidy up

Naturally, your lawn and edges will need to be done, but why not treat the person who usually pushes the mower to a special present from Santa in the form of an auto mower?
Robotic lawn mowers are great for urban gardens of all sizes. Once you have yours all set up, it will help keep the lawn neat and healthy, giving you more time to relax.

Deadheading

By pinching off any spent and finishing flowers you break the life cycle of the plant. This works best with annuals, such as petunias, as they like to keep blooming, and perennials, including African daisies.

Pot up poinsettia

Fire-engine red poinsettia is the quintessential Christmas plant and the other big attraction is that it's just so easy to grow!
I think it always looks nice if you pot it and place it by the front door to roll out a botanic red carpet to welcome guests. Then, after Christmas, you can plant it out in the garden. Be warned: they can get quite big and their sap can irritate your skin; plant them at the rear of a garden bed.