Whip your garden into shape–before the first blooms!

Spring is right around the corner, which means you better be on top of your gardening game! It’s never too early to get started on gardening projects–and because planning is essential, you might as well get a head start. We’ve put together a list of projects you can begin now–some fun things, some practical things–for a smoother transition from winter to fall. Check out our tips below!

1. Build a sandbox

A sandbox is a fun outdoor activity for kids, and you might want to get a start in building one now so that it’s ready for the warmer season. Don’t have kids? Build a sandbox anyway to use as a small, personal Zen garden! Get the how-to here.

2. DIY planters

If you have some cinder blocks lying around, give them a new life as planters! Due to their simple, rectangular shape, you can stencil on or paint whatever design you’d like. Find out how to make them here.

3. Add a footpath

Just like when designing a room, being conscious of foot traffic is essential when planning your garden. Take the opportunity now to install a nice footpath through your garden–it’ll look great, and will help solidify your garden’s layout.

4. Make a fire bowl

A fire bowl is a beautiful, small stone fire pit–and you can make one yourself! This DIY project requires a good deal of effort, but we love the modern look and unique design. Since it’s DIY, you can customize it however you like. With a source for fire, you can comfortably enjoy spring evenings outdoors. Learn how to make one here!

5. Clear out drainage

It’s likely that your drainage ditches might be filled with leaves and debris that have piled up since the fall. But proper drainage runoff is essential to ensure your spring plants will grow well. Take the time now to clear your drains, and use whatever debris you find for composting.

6. Rake the lawn

Don’t stop at clearing out drainage; go for the lawn as well. You’ll want to take a rake and pull out any dead growth. Re-seed any bare patches of soil, and be sure to give it some water!

7. Cut back some plants

If you have ornamental grass in your garden, cut it back now, just a few inches off the ground. Some perennials (like lavender and buddleia) will only bloom on new branches, so cut those back–but wait until the chance of winter frost has finally passed.

8. Get your seeds

Browse for the seeds you’ll want to use now! It’s a lot of fun to let your imagination run wild and consider the possibilities for your garden. By ordering your seeds now, you’ll ensure their arrival by the time you need them.

9. Prepare your soil

On warm days, get outside and break up the soil in your garden. Till if you’re working with a large area, but simply digging up the soil should be fine in most cases. Doing this regularly whenever the temperature allows lets your soil aerate and loosen up–which means it’ll be in tip-top shape for planting when spring is officially here.

10. Invite a flying friend over

Consider installing a bird feeder to attract pretty, singing feathered friends. A bat box can also be helpful to your garden; while it might seem morbid, bats can greatly reduce garden pests.