January Easy-Gardening Tips

New Year, New Garden?

Our New Year resolutions don’t have to just be about dieting or going ‘dry’ for the month, as January is also an excellent time to think about what you want to achieve in the garden over the coming year. Although we often think about gardening as getting outdoors and our hands dirty, there is a huge benefit to staying warm inside to plan green-fingered tasks that will bring your ideas to fruition. We’ve got some great suggestions on how you might tackle this exciting planning stage, as well as advice on making sure you have the right garden machinery for the job when the growing season gets going again in just a few weeks.   


We hope the tips that we feature in our monthly Gardening Calendar are useful in shaping your everyday jobs. As well as these tactical tasks, it’s also exciting to think about changing your whole planting scheme, or even the type of gardening you want to undertake going forward. Sometimes we end up continuing to tend a garden that we have inherited from previous owners that doesn’t reflect our style, not only in terms of plants or colour schemes, but also the environmental benefits we desire. From borders of English classics to drought-resistant grasses or feature tree ferns, your garden should carry your personal stamp and reflect your personality. Now could be the perfect time to let it shine!

Take account of what nature has provided

Are your camelias struggling to grow in your chalky soil? Is your salvia suffering from the lack of light in your north facing garden? A good place to start when planning your garden is to take account of some essential natural factors including:

  • your soil type from alkaline to acid
  • the direction that your garden faces, especially if it’s small, as this determines the amount of light and direct sunshine it receives
  • your prevailing weather conditions, such as being in a frost pocket or next to the sea

While there’s no doubt that you can often overcome inherent conditions, it requires a great deal of time and effort. Our recommendation would be to go with what you’ve got and choose plants that will naturally thrive. For guidance, it is worth looking at RHS planting for different soil types as well as top advice on maximising  your garden’s aspect from Lee Burkill in his superb Garden Ninja advice blog.

Give your garden plenty of personality

An essential part of planning your garden is deciding how it will ‘feel’ in terms of style and atmosphere and the statement you want it to make. Will a natural look with a wildflower meadow or native fruit trees say ‘this is me’ or do neat lines and order in all things green mean much more to you? When deciding on the character of your garden, think about the amount of time you have spare to get out and garden, as a formal design obviously requires a lot of regular maintenance, come rain or shine. The type of garden you want will also depend on who is going to use it; from hole-digging hounds keen to tunnel into borders to energetic kids who require hard-wearing grass and places to play hide and seek. Combining  practicality with personality means you won’t go far wrong.       

Design a blueprint for going green

Environmental factors are also important in garden planning , and you can easily support crucial insects such as bees by mindfully planting flowers such as pansies, primroses, forget-me-nots, alliums and rhododendrons. You should also opt for organic lawn fertiliser and plant food to reduce the environmental impact of your gardening. Finally, if you are thinking about hard landscaping as part of your plan, do remember that the UK has lost an alarming amount of its lawns over the last couple of decades and that all sorts of wildlife, from birds to hedgehogs, prefer a natural garden lawn to fake grass or decking.

Whatever decisions you eventually make, there are lots of ideas and planning checklists available to help you plan and we particularly like the Gardener's World guide on garden design.                              


Before you action your new gardening plan, it’s well worth doing an inventory of your gardening tools and garden machinery to check whether your secateurs have seen better days.  Before replacing individual tools, item by item, why not consider a new multi tool with interchangeable heads including a pruner, grass cutter and hedge trimmer? And if your find that your mower is on its last legs, there will be lots of choices to make such as swapping petrol for electric as a greener option, or even going cordless with the latest battery model that takes the stress out of mowing. If your equipment is all in good order, think about buying the one or two items that’ll step change your gardening and make it easier throughout the year ahead. How many hours of back-breaking sweeping would you save with a leaf vacuum, for example, and that time can always be put to better use elsewhere in the garden!                     


If January is a month of freezing temperatures, we would advise you to stay warm and stick to planning for the year ahead. Conversely, if you’re lucky enough to be basking in winter sunshine, you can certainly get going in the garden:  


Clean any dead matter from around perennials and cut them back if you’ve not had the chance to do so
Check stakes, ties and covers have survived the winter so far and are good for the coming months
Re-cut any straggly lawn edges as long as it’s not frosty (when walking on the grass may damage it)
As long as the soil isn’t too solid, move deciduous plants, trees and shrubs while they are dormant, choosing a cloudy day so the roots don’t dry out
Keep a close eye on your pond as ice may cause damage to the liner, and if it does freeze over, gently pour boiling water onto the surface to create an all-important hole for garden birds
Plant snowdrops and hellebores to create a wonderful mid-winter display
Prune climbing roses as it is not too late to do a basic cut back before more severe prune in early Spring


Plan your garden including planting and colour schemes that reflect your personality
Think about new plants and trees that complement the aspect of your garden as well as its soil type
Order seeds and plants to populate your new gardening plan and consider how they will support insects and wildlife
Conduct an inventory of your gardening equipment and think about what new tools will make your gardening year easier


Dizzy snoops out the snowdrops to welcome the first flowers of the year in January

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