11 garden projects to tackle this weekend – from planting to painting

It's a great way to get fit... and there are even ways to keep the kids amused!

garden area with potted plants and chair
(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

 Getting outside for some fresh air and staying healthy, fit and motivated is more important than ever. So if you have a garden, now is the time to take full advantage of it. Tackling a few garden projects is a proven stress buster and a great form of exercise, too.

Added to that there's the health benefits of growing (and eating) fresh fruit and veg, as well as the cost savings and it's a win-win situation.

And if you're home schooling, why not take the lessons outside and show your kids how to grow their own food from seeds. Most of us still remember the fascination of growing mustard and cress over algebra any day.

Read more: Check out these budget garden ideas.

Here are some of the spring gardening jobs that are simple to tackle. How many will you be ticking off?

1. Grow your own fruit and vegetable patch

hanging vegetable seed packets

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

If you plant tomato seeds now, you'll have plump, juicy tomatoes by the summer. Plant the seeds in pots indoors and wait until they grow into seedlings before you plant them outside. Why not try different varieties such as cherry or beefsteak tomatoes?

Find more information on growing tomatoes at the RHS.

Or read this: How to grow your own vegetables, fruit, herbs and more at home

2. Create a wildlife-friendly border

garden area with lavender plants and bushes

(Image credit: Future PLC/Adam Wallis)

With dwindling populations hitting the headlines, encouraging bees and butterflies – and hedgehogs – is big news, so why not create a wild flower patch and a hedgehog highway in your own garden.

Pollinators such as bees love feeding on honeysuckle, primroses, lavender and other pollinating plants.

If that's too green-fingered for you, avoid mowing the lawn and let the daisies, buttercups and dandelions grow as these provide nectar too.

garden area with butterfly on primrose flower

(Image credit: TI Media)

To make your garden hedgehog-friendly leave a 13x13 cm gap at the bottom of your fences so they can wander through at night, avoid using slug pellets, leave a shallow dish of water and plant leafy plants that they can hide under. See more ways you can help at the British hedgehog Preservation society.

3. Grow an edible window box

wooden house with blue window and wooden box plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

This is a great project to get kids involved with and a window box or some pots outside are ideal for growing herbs such as mint, rosemary, thyme and sage.

Many herbs can be grown together or next to flowers and March is an ideal time to start planting them too, so they'll be ready for sprinkling on new potatoes and salads as the weather gets warmer. Find out more about growing herbs at Squires.

4. Paint the fences

garden area with blue fence and potted plants on table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jonna Henderson)

We've got a brilliant guide on how to do this. And the dramatic difference it will make to your garden cannot be underestimated. It will also protect the wood so you won't need to replace those cumbersome panels as often.

Here's how: How to paint a fence – treat your wooden fence to keep it looking fresh

5. Make a bird feeder

cup and saucer bird feeder with seeds

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

This make uses an old tea cup and saucer – something that may well be sitting in the back of a cupboard, looking for a new home!

 Turn the cup on its side, with the handle pointing up, and place in the middle of the saucer. Add a dab of Gorilla glue to the teacup, and secure in place with tape to hold the cup steady on the saucer. Leave to dry overnight.

The next day, remove the tape.  Take a length of twine, around 30cm, and loop through the handle of the
teacup. Find a sturdy branch that you’d like to hang the bird feeder from and tie the twine securely to the branch with a double knot. Snip the end of the twine and fill the cup with bird seed. And you are finished!

6. Or paint some trendy terrazzo planters

colourful painted planters with plants

(Image credit: Rust-oleum)

Here's how... How to make terrazzo planters – create some pretty plant pots for your greenery

7. Tackle the weeding

We know – it's one of the jobs that we all like to put off. But a good weeding session is great exercise and will leave your plot looking a lot tidier.

Try our guide:How to kill weeds and stop them from growing

8. Create lanterns and planters from food tins

garden fence with planters and lanterns

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

For the planters, make drainage holes in the base of each can with a bradawl and a single hole 1.5cm from the top edge. Spray with 2 coats of paint (we used Plasti-kote spray paints) and, once dry, thread wire through the top hole as a hanger. Fill with plants of your choice.

As lanterns, draw a pattern on the can with a Sharpie pen then punch along the lines with a bradawl. Punch two holes near the top edge at opposite sides for the hanger. Spray with two coats of paint and loop the wire through the top holes as a hanger.

9. Start a compost heap

garden area with flower plants and compost heap

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

With compost hard to come by in these lockdown times, why not have a go at making your own?

How to do it: How to make compost – feed your garden for free

10. Turn your outbuilding into a 'she shed'

blue shed with cushion and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Find somewhere else to store the tools and the lawnmower and commandeer the shed as your own oasis of calm. Move in a comfy chair, artwork for the walls, plants and snuggly soft furnishings, and the transformation is complete!

A perfect example: Before and after: enjoy this gorgeous garden makeover with fab she shed!

11. Curate a container garden

garden area with potted plants and cushion in chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Whether your outdoor space is so big you don't know where to start, or so tiny you can't decide what to squeeze in, you can't go wrong with a container garden.

Pots have a greater impact when they are clustered together in groups and at varying heights to create pockets of greenery. You could use plinths to raise smaller pots off the ground.

'We are all in need of something a little cheering right now,' says Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres. 'For me it is escaping into one of our outdoor plant areas and just soaking in the natural beauty of all those wonderful plants.

'In times like this nature and simple pleasures, like gardening, watching the birds and looking out for wildlife, seem all the more precious and a boost to body and spirit.'

We couldn't agree more Sarah.

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.