5 Things to do for Your Garden Now Ahead of the New Growing Season — 'This is Your Get-Ready Checklist'

The gardening year has begun and it's time to start planning and purchasing important tools and seeds. Experts offer a to-do list

A lush backyard with round seating
(Image credit: Julie Soefer. Studio creditn Marie Flannigan Interiors)

When it comes to January gardening, the aim is to tidy up the lawn, plant beds, and vegetable patches, and get the outdoors ready for summer and spring. This is the time to look at what's missing in terms of tools, and equipment, and to plan the flowers and plants you'd like to see in your garden this year.

So, we asked experts to tell us about the most important points to keep in mind to maintain and prepare your modern garden this month. Take a look at these points to make your grand plan for the year.

1. Insulate your garden

A garden cloche

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Make sure your modern garden is well-protected during this stormy, rainy, and snowy season. Survey any supports and ties that might have been damaged in bad weather.

'January can be a turbulent time for the garden as high winds, snow and storms take place during this time,' says Chris Bonnett, founder of Gardening Express. 'It’s important to bear in mind that plants can also be hindered by bitter frost, so you’ll need to keep an eye on their condition and offer them insulating protection when needed. Don’t forget to stock up on mulch to protect plants during winter so you won’t need to be on your feet so often as the material helps retain moisture in the ground.'

When it comes to what to use to cover plants from frost, 'ot's worth buying garden fleece and cloches to protect plants in winter and to take indoor plants inside if it gets too cold,' says Chris.

2. Prune and tidy up your flowers

A close up of Eastern Red Columbine flower growing in a garden borders

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Before you a plan dry or tropical garden for the year, make sure that the existing greenery and well taken care of. Prune your wisteria by cutting back whippy summer growth. 'Roses typically require deep and consistent watering,' says Reese L Robins, a gardening expert at Just Pure Gardening. 'Water them at the base in the morning to allow time for the leaves to dry before evening, which helps prevent diseases.' Also, roses can be pruned during late winter when growth is just resuming, usually late January or mid-February in the south, and March in the northern and colder areas.

Mow down your ornamental grasses, and weed out the old foliage from before new growth begins.

3. Moodboard Your Spring Color Scheme Now

Orange and red

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best garden design plans start with a moodboard. Yes — you should have a proper color scheme in mind for your backyard, and know all about the best seeds to sow in January.

'Right now, most gardens are lacking color and growth, so it’s a great time to think about how you’d like your space to come to life in the spring and beyond,' says Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, founder and CEO of FLOWERBX. 'From the cozy comfort of indoors, you can start moodboarding color schemes, researching planting trends, and creating a Pinterest board of the gardens you’d love to inspire your own. I always find it easier to start curating my choices this way, and then use my findings to guide the plants, bulbs, tubers, and pots.'

'I believe we should think about our garden schemes in the same way we do with interior design — allowing planting, color, texture, and scent to be an extension of our style,' says Whitney.

4. Renew old gardening tools

Gardening tools

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just the way you plan how to choose plants for your modern garden, you should do the same for your tools too. The better equipment you have, the healthier and shapely your garden will be.

'It’s a great time to replenish old and tired gardening tools,' says Chris. 'Using rusty blades that are dirty and covered in sap can damage plants by spreading disease. The same goes for gardening hoes and shovels which have been left in the shed for years.'

5. Get Ready to Pot Summer Bulbs

pink ranunculus asiaticus flowers

(Image credit: Deborah Vernon/Alamy Stock Photo)

'Even though it’s only the start of the year, it’s always best to think forward about what can be planted for the months ahead,' says Chris. 'It’s worth purchasing ​​geraniums, pansies, and daffodil seeds to plant in January so they’ll blossom later in the year. Make sure to also get orders in for fruit trees, as these can generally be planted up until March.'

Get ready to sow beautiful flower beds or even develop a lovely sensory garden this year by carefully picking and choosing the varieties now.

'By January, you’ve just missed planting time for tulips, daffodils, and other spring bulbs, but don’t let that stop you from thinking ahead – plus, you can still get hold of fully grown spring flowers from most garden nurseries for an instant injection of color,' says Whitney. 'Also think about February. It is the perfect month to start potting up your summer bulbs, seeds, tubers, and bare roots indoors (a warm conservatory, greenhouse, or sunny windowsill are ideal) – so think dahlias, cosmos, echinacea, and peonies. If you’re less into growing your own, late winter to early spring is also great timing to plant out roses before new growth begins. Choosing from hundreds of beautiful climbing, bush, and rambling rose varieties is a challenge in itself, so best to start now.'

3 products to prepare your garden for the year

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.