105 Things to Do in the Garden
Throughout the year our garden gives us something to do. There are many ways to share time in the garden. Some are necessary weekly or yearly tasks; some are starting new endeavors, and others involve fun and relaxation. But the benefits you can get out of your garden are endless. Keep in mind that enjoying a garden is more than growing flowers and vegetables. It’s also a place where you can work on your green thumb, get some exercise, and have fun with your family and friends. We have gathered a list of 105 things to do in the garden throughout the year. So, keep these inspirational ideas close by all year long, and let us know which ones your favorites are!
Let’s start out with the obvious task of being in the garden – planting of course!
1. Pre-sprout summer bulbs indoors in early spring
Get the jump on early summer blooms! By starting frost-tender summer bulbs like dahlias, callas and begonias indoors you will have plants ready to go in the garden when all chance of frost has passed. Check out our how-to blogs for begonias and dahlias.
2. Start to germinate your vegetable seeds indoors
If you want to get a head start on your garden, try starting some of your seeds indoors in winter. This can help protect them from the cold and ensure that they are ready for planting out as soon as spring comes around. Check out our blog on germination.
3. Summer bulb planting in late spring
Lilies, dahlias, gladiolus, begonias, and calla lilies are among the common summer flowering bulbs you will want to plant in the spring. Getting out into the late spring garden in April and May to plant is refreshing. The cold of winter has passed, and it is now time to prepare for summer flowering bulbs. Check out our blog on a list of great dahlias, and stunning summer bulbs we recommend.
4. Plant a wildflower meadow
If you have an area of your garden that is not suitable for growing crops or vegetables, why not plant a wildflower meadow? It’s a great way to attract wildlife into your garden and it will look stunning when in bloom.
5. Plant a vertical garden
Maximize small garden spaces – build vertically! Perfect for sunny balconies and walls, add a vertical garden.
6. Plant your summer vegetable garden
Plant your beans, squash, zucchini, potatoes, onions, carrots, asparagus and more at the end of spring. Looking for suggestions on what to add to your garden? Check out What We’re Planting in Our Vegetable Garden.
7. Plant some fruit!
Pick up some strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries to grow this summer. Check out our list of Delicious Fruit Plants to Grow this Summer.
8. Plant your roses!
9. Plant a children’s garden
Create a special place in your backyard for your kids to take ownership! Visit your local garden centre and help them choose the plants they find interesting and teach them about gardening. Check out our blog on creating a kid-safe garden, which plants to stay away from, and which to enjoy.
10. Plant hanging strawberry baskets
Planting your everbearing strawberry plants in hanging baskets is a smart way to save space in your garden and is also an excellent way to grow berries in a small space, such as a patio or balcony.
11. Plant a fragrant garden
Add pleasing scents to your garden! Create an oasis of fresh, sweet, spicy, and tantalizing aromas. Check out our favourite scented varieties.
12. Plant herbs
Plant herbs that you love to use in your favourite meals. Why visit the grocery store during the summer to purchase herbs when you can just step out onto your patio? You will be able to quickly grab some homegrown basil, cilantro, dill, rosemary, thyme, chives, or mint!
13. Dried flowers
Plant varieties you would like to grow for drying. Try lavender and pampas grass. For tips and suggestions on growing and trying flowers, check out our blog on How to Dry Flowers.
14. Grow your own garlic
Most cooks use garlic regularly in their recipes. Growing garlic at home is so easy! Simply plant in the fall and check back in late summer to harvest! Read our how-to guide on all things garlic.
15. Plant your favourite spring flower bulbs in the fall
Choose your favourite tulips, narcissus, hyacinths, and everything in between. For some of our favourite spring flowering bulbs, check out one of our blogs on our Favourties for Fall and our Top 10 Fall Bulbs for a Spring Cut Flower Garden.
16. Plant a fairy garden
Ready to get whimsical? This fun activity can be done with kids of all ages – from toddlers to teenagers – and will encourage them to explore their creative side. Check out some of our favourite flowers to add to a fairy garden.
17. Try layer-planting your containers
Layer planting your spring flowering bulbs in containers extends the blooming season and creates a nice full look! Check out our step-by-step guide!
18. Choose a new vegetable to grow
There’s a wide variety of vegetables to grow. Why not try something new this season? How about planting Wasabi, Asparagus, Artichokes, or Horseradish this year?
19. Plant a climbing plant
to cover unsightly walls or fences. Roses and clematis are great choices.
20. Use Large Containers in Your Garden
Plant eye-catching displays in your garden with the use of large pots and wooden barrels.
21. Create outdoor planters in spring with forced bulbs
Use forced bulbs and early spring blooming annuals to add colour and charm to your planters and window boxes.
22. Plant nectar-rich flowers for pollinators
Welcome beneficial pollinators to your garden by planting pollinator-friendly perennials. Bees are vital to our ecosystem and by planting flowers that attract them, you are helping to keep their populations healthy.
23. Succession Planting in Your Veggie Garden
Maximize your space and enjoy as much fresh food as possible by succession planting! Check out our blog for all the details.
24. Dress up your doorstep for the holidays!
Dress up your front porch with seasonal decorations! Add festive elements for the holidays!
25. Plant companion plants
Research companion plants that will work well with what you have in your garden. Check out our blog on the best companion plants for roses.
Easy tasks to do in the garden
26. Put up a pest deterrent
Do you have a problem with squirrels, mice, or rats? Put up a plastic owl statue to scare them away.
27. Purchase annuals
Make a stunning hanging basket for the spring (this makes a great Mother’s Day gift!). As your spring flowering bulbs are fading, you can now visit your garden centre to pick out some gorgeous annuals. Snapdragons, marigolds, pansies, and geraniums are perfect for some instant garden bed colour. Plant annuals for instant curb appeal!
28. Choose new perennials for your garden
Check out our blog with suggestions of perennials to plant in the sun and shade this spring.
29. Organize your shed
Let’s be honest – sheds and benches can get messy. Not all tools may end up in the correct location after a hard day’s work. Organizing your shed will help you find your tools. Save time and jump right in when you are inspired, instead of searching for a favourite trowel.
Tending to your Garden
30. Prepare your soil for planting
The best time to start preparing your garden soil is in the fall after the growing season is over. This will give the soil a chance to rest and replenish its nutrients.
31. Test your soil
Take samples of your soil and have them tested to see if your soil has all the nutrients it needs.
32. Pruning roses
Before winter, prune out any dead branches and trim back weak stems. Early spring is the time to prune your roses. Check out our blog on taking care of roses.
33. Remove faded blooms
Remove your spent flowers all season long. As you stroll through your garden check your annuals, perennials, dahlias, lilies, and spring flowering bulbs. Taking off these old blooms redirects resources and energy to encourage new growth and stronger plants!
34. Split and Store Dahlia Tubers
Dahlia tubers can get quite large! Before you plant your tubers from last year, try splitting your tubers to increase the number of plants!
35. Seed the lawn
Lawns can get patchy for a variety of reasons. Grab some seed and fill in those holes!
When the warm weather hits, make sure you are heading outside to water your plants. For tips on watering your garden properly, read our blog.
This is a task not many enjoy, but it does get us outside! Even 30 minutes of weeding can make a real difference! Keep the weeds at bay so your precious plants have enough room and resources to grow.
38. Collect seeds from your garden
Keep your seeds in labeled envelopes or seedboxes and use them to sow the following year.
Fertilize your plants, including your flowers and vegetables. Give your plants a nutrient boost, the best times are pre-flowering and mid-growing seasons, for the best blooms all season long. If you are weary about adding chemicals to your garden, there are also organic fertilizers.
40. Transplant Perennials
Move any plants that are underperforming to a new home. Sometimes the place first chosen for a perennial or shrub isn’t the best choice. It might need more or less sun. Feel free to carefully dig it up early in the season and move it to a better location. It will thank you in the long run.
41. Mound your potatoes
As potatoes grow, they will need to be ‘hilled’ with loose organic material. This will encourage potato tubers to grow deep and wide and allow for new potatoes to grow on top of the maturing potatoes. Check out our blog on growing and digging potatoes.
42. Prune trees and shrubs
Pruning is an essential part of tree and shrub care, as it helps to keep them healthy and looking beautiful. Prune trees in winter, when they are dormant and there is less risk of causing damage to plants.
43. Mow the lawn
Here’s a common chore for the spring and summer! Get the mower out and cut the grass (or pay a neighbourhood kid to do it for you!).
44. Stake and tie up plants
Many of our garden plants will benefit from some physical support. When planting dahlias, it is important to place stakes in the ground to prepare for when you will have to tie up your stems. When growing tomatoes, you will have to stake them up as well, or use tomato cages. Clematis and climbing roses show their blooms best on arbors, trellises, and obelisks. Heavy peony blooms benefit from support.
45. Tend to your garlic
When your garlic is ready to be harvested, learn the proper procedure on how to lift, cure and store your delicious yield!
46. Harvest your veggie garden
Throughout the summer months and into early fall, make sure to visit your vegetable garden regularly and check for items to harvest.
47. Rake the fall leaves
Get out your rake or leaf blower after all the leaves blow off the trees. Create a nutrient-rich garden mulch to add to garden beds with chopped-up leaves.
48. Thin carrots
Carrots are a delicious veggie to plant. With planting small seeds, it’s hard to space them out. As the carrots begin to sprout, carefully thin them out, by removing some shoots. Don’t worry, you will be rewarded with a larger, healthier crop.
49. Pick your fruit
Check your garden throughout the summer for ripe fruit. Some varieties are so proliferous that you should be checking on them daily.
50. Aerate the lawn in the fall
Aeration will reduce compacted soil and improve drainage over winter and into the spring.
51. Remove summer flowering, frost tender tubers, and bulbs for winter
Not all plants and bulbs can stay in the ground during the winter. If you wish to reuse your gladiolus and dahlia bulbs next year, you must dig them up and store them until it is time to plant them in late spring.
52. Protect your containers for the winter months
Bring your cold weather-sensitive containers close to the house, or into a garage or greenhouse. Not all plants are winter hardy. Also, you can bring plants into your garage (but make sure to water them).
53. Prepare your garden for winter
Check out our blog for Top 10 Things to Prepare Your Garden for Winter.
Building Structures, Maintenance, & Repairs
54. Get out your power washer!
Power wash your driveway, patios, and benches. Things can get grimy over the winter, so freshen up your outdoor spaces before summer.
55. Plant trees for shade
Trees can provide much-needed shade in the hot summer months, so pick out some appropriate species for your garden. Remember to plan for their mature size.
56. Plant fruit trees
Buy and plant some fruit trees in the garden. Try figs and cherries this year! You will enjoy fresh fruit in the summer from your own backyard!
57. Install an irrigation system/automatic watering
If handheld watering isn’t for you, get an inground or automatic watering system set up. It will save you a lot of time, and ensure your plants are watered every day on schedule.
58. Mulch flower beds
Add a layer of mulch that’s around 2-3” deep around each mature plant after the sprouts have emerged to block weeds and reduce moisture loss through evaporation. Adding a layer of mulch to your garden beds is a great way to protect soil from compaction and erosion in winter when rainfall is often the heaviest. Mulch also helps to regulate soil temperature and can improve the overall health of your plants.
59. Build raised garden beds
Raised garden beds are great for problem areas of the garden and improving access at the same time. If you have poor soil quality or need to improve drainage raised beds are ideal. Likewise, if you or a loved one has physical barriers of lower back or knee injuries, an elevated garden is a solution.
60. Add garden lights for visibility
Outdoor lighting is important for safety. Make sure to have lights to light up paths, but also install motion detectors for security purposes. Also, string up lights for aesthetics and to enjoy your outdoor space after dark, around seating areas or hot tubs.
61. Build trash enclosure to keep out bears and raccoons
Got pesky animals in your neighbourhood? A trash enclosure is a great way to keep animals away from the trash and prevent it from being thrown in your backyard. If you’re not into building one, there are great ones to buy as well.
62. Install a greenhouse
Greenhouses provide the gardener with a great controlled environment, with a protected environment from harsh elements. Greenhouses extend your gardening season, and since you have more control over the elements and soil quality, the plants grown in greenhouses are overall healthier.
63. Start a compost
Why throw organic material in the garbage? Compost contributes to healthy plant growth; adds nutrients, discourages diseases, and balances soil density. Covert your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost for the garden with a simple composting system.
64. Add an arbor or trellis
Add an arbor or trellis to your garden for a beautiful focal point and to provide shade.
Paint the outside of your shed, gazebo, or freshen up old façade. The weather takes a toll on our outdoor structures. Check to see if it’s time for a fresh coat of paint on your sheds and gazebos.
66. Build new fences or repair old ones
Fences don’t last forever. It might be time or repairs, or even a brand-new fence.
67. Build a treehouse/play area
Build a playhouse with the kids! Get them outside off the iPad and build a treehouse.
68. Add a garden statue or art
Dress up your garden with a statue or art piece. Add interest and charm to your garden, while also providing somewhere unique to hang out.
69. Make a horseshoe pit
A simple project to add to your garden to enjoy at summer barbeques.
70. Create or refurbish a patio
Is your patio sitting area looking shabby or needs expanding? Are the stones now uneven? Remove the old stones, put down garden fabric, sand, relevel and add new stones. Fixing uneven stones can eliminate the chance of tripping and falling and refurbishing an outdoor space will be inviting all season long.
71. Add a fire pit
Add a fire pit to your backyard and enjoy the ambiance of camping with roast marshmallows.
72. Set up a seating area with patio furniture
Create a welcoming sitting area and invite guests for a garden party or barbeque!
73. Build an outdoor kitchen/pizza oven
A project that will span over two weekends, this endeavor will be a bit more expensive, however, it is sure to take your backyard to a whole new level!
74. Maintain your pool/hot tub
This is an outdoor activity that cannot be missed if you have a pool or hot tub. It’s essential to do regular maintenance and to check the chemical levels regularly.
75. Add heaters to your seating area
It might get chilly sitting outside in early spring or late autumn! Add heaters to keep warm.
76. Install window boxes
Decorate the sides of your homes with a window box filled with your favorite trailing plants.
77. Build a garden pond
Create a tranquil atmosphere in your garden with the sound of gently trickling water from a fountain or small pond. Add in aquatic plants, and review our list of waterside and pond perennials. Check to see if your pond is appropriate for fish, and which will thrive in your pond.
78. Add in birdbaths (or clean up your existing one)
Welcome the birds with a place to play and splash! Plus, butterflies and other pollinators will appreciate it.
79. Build garden benches
Have a favorite nook or corner of the garden? Add a garden bench or hammock to your backyard oasis to relax in or bird watch from.
80. Set up a rain barrel
Use a rain barrel to capture water from your roof to use later for your lawn, garden, or indoor plants. Help conserve water!
81. Build privacy walls
Build privacy walls or screens using structures, or plants. Whether you get along with your neighbours or not, it’s always nice to have some privacy. Building green walls, putting up screens, or planting hedges will give you added privacy.
82. Add a pergola
Add a pergola to your garden over seating areas or hot tubs to grow climbing plants and add shade.
83. Wash the deck
After the fall and winter months, then again mid-summer, pressure wash or scrub your deck to keep it bare feet friendly.
84. Clean your gutters
Clean gutters before the fall rainy season begins. Before heavy rains come, remove leaves and debris from your gutters to protect your home from water damage. This is also a good time to check the health of your gutters and do any maintenance needed.
85. Make a rock garden
Create a unique garden focal point. Choose rocks of different shapes and sizes, then add soil and build the design with multiple levels. Next plant low-growing drought-tolerant plants into the spaces, water well and enjoy. Check out our blog on Heat and Drought Tolerant Perennials, and a list of our favorite perennials to beat the heat.
86. Put up your Christmas lights
December is coming! Pull out your box of Christmas lights and dress up the exterior of your house! Don’t forget to climb that ladder again in January to take them down. Keeping your lights up year-round can add to unnecessary wear and tear.
87. Clean garden equipment
After a busy grass-cutting season, unplug your mower and clean. Be careful of those fingers!
88. Sharpen garden tools (pruners, hedge clippers)
Over time, pruners and clippers get dull. Remember to sharpen them.
Relax and enjoy your garden
89. Play badminton
Set up a net and have a friendly game of badminton with friends and family!
90. Cut flowers
Cut flowers to bring inside or to gift to friends and neighbours. Go outside and cut some of the gorgeous flowers you are growing. Create an arrangement for your dining table, or deliver some to friends, neighbours, or family!
91. Paint rocks
It’s a great relaxing activity to do outdoors with kids. They are also great to add to a fairy garden.
92. Backyard bird watching
Grab some binoculars and go bird-watching! Grab a guidebook to identify the birds in your yard.
93. Add a hummingbird feeder
Make sure to clean the feeder once a week.
94. Install a bee hotel
Bees are great for the garden and environment! Make sure to be a welcoming host for these garden friends.
95. Build a birdhouse
A great project for the family, and your birds will thank you for it!
96. Harvest flowers to dry
Cut flowers and grasses and bring them inside to dry. Use them for decoration or crafts.
97. Harvest some herbs
You know those herbs you planted? It’s time to harvest them! Making pasta sauce? Go grab some basil and chives!
98. Relax and read a book!
This is an easy one – no explanation is needed.
99. Outdoor movie night
Late spring up until late summer is ideal to enjoy a movie under the stars with family and friends. Set up a white sheet and a projector and start to pop the popcorn!
100. Start a garden journal
Keep track of dates for plantings, successes, areas of improvement, must-have plants, and other thoughts on your garden. It will help in your garden planning and implementation.
101. Create a logbook of the plants you have in your garden
Use a plant identification app to identify plants in your garden! Make a record of what you have planted!
102. Plan out your garden for next year
Create a map of your garden. Write down which bulbs, perennials, and shrubs you will buy, and where you will plant them.
103. Build a snowman in the winter!
This is a fantastic way to spend time outdoors. Maybe have a snowball fight at the same time!
104. Make a wreath
Snip some greenery and find some pinecones to make a Christmas wreath.
105. Feed the birds
Make sure the birds have an adequate food supply during the winter months. Check out our blog with tips on where to hang feeders, what kind of feeder is best, and the type of feed that is best for the birds in your area.