13 Tips for Making Your Garden Look Neat and Tidy

If you’ve put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining your garden, it’s only natural to want your setup to always look its best. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of methods you can try to keep your garden looking neat and tidy at all times.

Here are 13 tips for making your garden look neat and tidy:

  1. Prune plants.
  2. Organize your garden in sections.
  3. Incorporate colors.
  4. Keep the grass trimmed.
  5. Water plants regularly.
  6. Use fertilizer.
  7. Protect outdoor furniture in the rain.
  8. Keep it simple.
  9. Consider some fake plants or grass.
  10. Clean your garden regularly.
  11. Treat and prevent rust/mold.
  12. Incorporate potted plants.
  13. Incorporate raised beds.

In this article, I’ll discuss each of these thirteen tips in greater detail. Let’s get started!

1. Prune Plants

It’s essential to prune your plants when they need it—if you don’t, they’ll start growing unattractive branches and will eventually affect the overall look of your garden.

To keep them fresh and healthy, you should prune most plants in your garden during late winter or early spring. Pruning too early means you might remove parts of the plant that could grow into beautiful blooms.

On the other hand, pruning too late means you could encourage growth, which sounds positive, but it’s not a good thing when the growing season is almost over. If new development comes in at the end of the growing season, it won’t be able to thrive during the colder months.

Pruning also allows you to remove any parts of a plant that are affected by diseases or infections. These can make plants look unattractive and dirty, which can negatively affect the look of your garden. In short, pruning is undoubtedly an excellent and easy way to keep your garden looking neat and tidy all throughout the year.

2. Organize Your Garden in Sections

To keep your garden looking tidy, you may want to consider organizing the space in sections. There are different ways you can do this. For example, you could have one garden area reserved for a table and chairs. You could organize all the plants in different sections.

Below, I’ll discuss sectioning your garden in a bit more detail.

Have a Seating Area

A dedicated seating area in your garden is an excellent idea, particularly if you often have guests. However, rather than just placing a table and chairs in a random spot in the garden, consider a small patio space surrounded by plants and shrubs.

A dedicated seating area will make your garden look more organized and neat. Plus, it looks much better than having seating in the middle of the grass, which can look odd and out of place.

Section Your Plants by Color

If you want to be really organized, you could section your plants by color. This is one of the best ways to make a garden look neat, but it takes some work. You’ll need to know how this sectioning would work before you plant the seeds, so it requires some planning and forethought.

Having similarly colored plants in the same sections can give your garden a uniform and classy look, so it’s usually worth the effort.

Section Your Plants by Their Needs

While sectioning all plants by color can make a garden look neat and tidy, sectioning by type is another valid option. For example, some plants need watering multiple times a week, whereas others may only need watering once every one or two weeks.

To make your life easier, you can section the plants by their type and needs. This way, you can water all plants in the same section simultaneously and don’t have to worry about overwatering one plant or underwatering another.

3. Incorporate Colors

Having a colorful garden can make the space look lively and neat if you do it tastefully. The best way to incorporate colors into your garden is to feature plants of different colors and varieties.

However, you should make sure you don’t put random colors together. Throwing six different colored flowers together in the same section can look overwhelming. Instead, you can plan the colors you want to use and how you want to use them.

Having colored plants is one way to incorporate colors into your garden. You can also incorporate colors by painting some furniture or walls/fences. For example, if you have a wood-paneled fence, you could paint each panel a different color.

You could even paint the fence two colors because using too many colors could make your garden look messy. For example, paint one panel white and the next yellow. Then repeat with the same two colors for every panel.

Alternatively, you can use colorful pots if you have potted plants—this is another excellent way to add liveliness to your garden while keeping it tidy.

4. Keep the Grass Trimmed

Failing to maintain the grass in your garden can harm its overall aesthetic. Untrimmed grass looks messy, which is precisely what you want to avoid. Of course, this step won’t apply to you if there’s no grass in your garden, but if you do have grass, you should stay on top of its maintenance.

Generally, grass needs the most upkeep during summer because that’s when it grows the fastest. 

Therefore, you’ll need to cut the grass regularly during summer to keep it looking trim and neat. If you cut the grass after letting it grow long, there will be a lot of dead cut grass across your lawn—this can look messy, and you’ll need to rake it all away if you want it to look tidier (which would take a long time).

To avoid this hassle, all you need to do is keep your grass trimmed during peak growing periods by cutting it once a week (or slightly less regularly, depending on how fast it matures).

5. Water Plants Regularly

Dead or dehydrated plants make your garden look drab, untidy, and depressing. To avoid this, water them regularly, especially during hot spells. You also want to ensure you’re watering each type of plant per their recommendations. As mentioned earlier, some plants may need less watering than others.

Therefore, make sure you give each plant precisely what they need. How often you should water your plants will depend on the type. However, most plants need to be watered around once or twice a week during summer.

Plants need water for photosynthesis, which allows them to create food from the sun’s energy. For that reason, all plants in your garden must receive enough hydration. Plants can’t make food without adequate water, meaning they’ll begin to wilt.

As you can imagine, wilting plants can make any garden look bad, so you want to avoid this at all costs. If you continue to underwater your plants, they’ll eventually die, making your garden look even worse.

Watered plants will appear healthy and vibrant, making your garden look neater and better overall.

6. Use Fertilizer

Water isn’t the only element that plants need to thrive. They also need nutrients. Luckily, the soil naturally contains nutrients and minerals for plants. However, there aren’t always enough nutrients in the earth, so using a fertilizer can help.

All plant fertilizers contain three primary macronutrients:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

While these nutrients occur naturally in the soil, there often isn’t enough for all plants. That’s when it’s best to use fertilizer.

If plants are provided with all the nutrients they need, they’ll be able to thrive and bloom beautifully—this makes your garden look lovely, neat, and tidy! So, applying fertilizer to the soil is an excellent idea if your plants are lacking in nutrients or looking a little sad.

However, it’s good to know that fertilizer can harm plants if you misuse it too. Never use more than you need because you’ll risk overfertilization—this can ultimately lead to fertilizer burn.

To learn more about the safety and use of fertilizer, be sure to read this article: Is All Fertilizer Food Safe? What You Need to Know

There are two main types of fertilizer:

  • Organic
  • Inorganic

Usually, you can make organic fertilizer at home. Examples would include compost or fish emulsion. If you’re worried about fertilizer burn, it may be better to use an organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizers are generally less concentrated, so they’re less likely to cause over-fertilization (however, it’s still possible).

7. Protect Outdoor Furniture in the Rain

While having outdoor furniture is an excellent way to decorate and organize a garden, protecting it from bad weather can often be challenging. This is especially true if your region is impacted by lots of rain and snowfall.

As you may know, rain and moisture can affect wood and other surfaces/fabrics over time, so it’s essential to protect these materials when it rains. The best thing to use is a cover to keep the furniture fully dry.

If you keep everything out in the open when it rains, your furniture will be more susceptible to mold and rust, causing the overall look of your garden to suffer.

Use a waterproof cover whenever rain is expected to keep everything clean and tidy.

8. Keep It Simple

When it comes to keeping gardens neat and tidy, less is often more. If you have too much going on, the setup can look messy and overwhelming. It may even seem distracting to people when they come to visit. It’s best to keep everything as simple as possible to avoid an unattractive look.

Of course, you can have a tidy garden while also having a lot going on, but you need to know what you’re doing in order to achieve this. If you want to make your garden’s maintenance requirements as easy and stress-free as possible, it’s probably better to keep it all simple.

For example, instead of having 15 different varieties of plants in your garden, stick with five or six (or even less if you want).

Earlier, I mentioned that having multiple colors can be a good thing. However, having too many colors (or colors that don’t match) can sometimes give your garden a messy look. If you want to incorporate many colors, you must do it tastefully. If you don’t know how to do this, keeping the color variety small and straightforward might be the way to go.

In short, while it’s not entirely necessary to keep things simple to have a tidy garden, it’s sometimes the best option (particularly if you don’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining your garden).

9. Consider Some Fake Plants or Grass

Many gardeners would be against using fake grass and plants, but today there are so many natural-looking decorations you can buy, that I’d say the hassle is worth it.

Your garden doesn’t need to be full of fake plants. You can simply incorporate a few in to make the maintenance easier and keep your garden looking neat and tidy.

Fake plants and grass are beneficial if you live somewhere with scorching and dry weather. For example, you’d need to water many of your plants multiple times a week (possibly even multiple times a day) if you live somewhere like:

  • Arizona
  • Southern California
  • New Mexico

Maintaining a garden in a hot region would take a lot of effort. Why not have some fake potted plants and grass in your garden to make your life a little easier? They’ll never need to be watered, fed, or pruned. All they do is sit there and make your garden look pretty and neat!

10. Clean Your Garden Regularly

While maintaining your plants is essential to keeping your garden tidy, it’s also important to clean the area regularly. Dirt and debris will naturally gather in different parts of your garden, so it’s crucial to stay on top of your maintenance schedule.

It’s good to have a heavy-duty outdoor brush that you can use for any concrete or patio area. You could consider using a hose to wash down the site if it gets filthy. It’s also important to keep outdoor furniture clean. Bird feces and other dirt can quickly accumulate on furniture, so wipe everything down regularly.

As you can imagine, furniture stained with bird feces certainly wouldn’t give your garden a nice, clean look. 

Keeping everything clean, neat, and tidy will keep your garden looking fresh and aesthetically pleasing.

11. Treat and Prevent Rust/Mold

Rust and mold are often issues that arise in gardens, and they certainly don’t make a garden look neat and tidy. Rust occurs on metals, whereas mold occurs on wood and certain fabrics. So if you have metal in your garden, you may need to treat and prevent rust every now and then. The same goes for wood and moss.

Treating and Preventing Rust

Other than keeping your metal furniture out of the rain, the best way to treat rust is to soak the affected metal in white vinegar or baking soda for a while—this will soften the rust, allowing you to scrub it off quickly. To learn more about why garden tools (and other metal materials) rust in the garden and how to treat the issue, be sure to check out this article: Why Do Garden Tools Rust? 5 Reasons

To prevent rust in the future, you can oil any metal furniture/objects in your garden. Not only does this prevent rust, but it also protects the material from damage and makes it look shiny!

Treating and Preventing Mold

Acid rain, moisture, and higher temperatures can cause rust to grow on metal, and they also cause mold to grow on materials like wood. Usually, outdoor wooden furniture is made of durable or chemically treated wood, meaning it’s less likely to grow mold. However, it’s common for some wooden furniture to get moldy over time if you don’t protect it.

To keep your wooden furniture and other garden objects fresh and free from mold, keep them dry. You can also apply oil every now and then as a protective layer—this will keep all wooden objects shiny, making your garden look tidy!

To remove mold on wood, you’ll need soap and hot water to scrub it off.

12. Incorporate Potted Plants

If done correctly and tastefully, adding potted plants to your garden can help make it look lovely, neat, and tidy. You may want to have a section in the garden dedicated to potted plants, or maybe you want to spread them around the garden. It’s also good to use matching pots, as this will give the garden a more uniform and organized appearance.

You can place potted plants on ledges or place them on the ground. You can also consider some hanging baskets, which can add some character to the area.

Potted plants will give your garden a vibrant, finished look, so they’re worth considering.

13. Incorporate Raised Beds

Tastefully incorporating potted plants and hanging baskets can give your garden a gorgeous finish, but adding some raised beds can also improve the look!

It’s relatively easy to maintain raised beds, and they’re excellent for separating plants and keeping everything organized and well put together. You can make the setup look even better by using high-quality wood (such as cedar wood) for your garden beds.

You can place garden beds in the corner of the space or incorporate them all throughout the area.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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