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What to Do for Your Garden in the Summer

by Magnolia
Published on May 29, 2024

What to Do for Your Garden in the Summer

Summer may not be the time you typically think of to start growing. Maybe you’ve tended to outdoor spaces for a few months now—or even planted certain crops back in the fall. However, we believe this season is primed for flourish, and it’s never too late to dig your hands into the soil and watch something new take root.

What’s more, certain plants thrive in warmer weather. And for some gardens, the summertime could be preferred for the region and hardiness zone (like for those of you who experience snow in May). Regardless of where you are in your journey, follow along for a garden maintenance checklist, easy DIY projects—and, of course, the right tools for the task. In due time, with a little patience and perseverance, you’ll reap the benefits and experience beauty in bloom.

Let’s begin!

Caring for Your Garden

Watering Can
Dahlias in Bloom
In the Garden Shed

As temperatures climb, especially here in Texas, it’s important to care for your garden—providing the proper maintenance to keep plants thriving all season long. Stay on top of summer gardening to-dos with this simple checklist.

  1. Spread Fresh Mulch: First things first, start the summer season by spreading a new layer of 2-in-thick mulch. This shields soil from the sun on warmer days and allows your garden to retain moisture. Select a nutrient-rich, organic option—or ask your local garden store for advice. They’ll be the most qualified experts for your region and climate.
  2. Pull Weeds: Unfortunately, weeds also find their flourish in the summer months —expanding wildly in the heat. That’s why it’s important to remove them from your garden as quickly as possible. Otherwise, weeds may steal much-needed moisture and nutrients from other plants. Pulling weeds will be easiest early in the season before they’ve grown too much (or produced any seeds). If necessary, you can tend to problem areas with a simple weed control product—or make a natural solution at home using vinegar, salt, and soap. Psst, new mulch can also hold weeds at bay!
  3. Deadhead + Prune: Not as morbid as the name suggests, deadheading is the practice of snipping or pinching off spent flowers to make room for a second round of blossoms. While not all plants will produce another bloom, deadheading helps your garden look both lovely and tidy regardless. You’ll also want to prune any spring or fall perennials in the garden—removing old foliage and trimming according to the plant type.
  4. Watch for Pests: Certain bug populations increase in the summer, like beetles or grasshoppers, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for any unexpected guests in your garden. The good news is that healthy plants naturally resist pests, so the best course of action is simply tending well to your existing collection. If needed, choose an organic, non-toxic pesticide that won’t harm the environment or furry friends!
  5. Water Well: These hot, dry months require more watering to ensure gardens stay lush and healthy. Even so, it’s important not to overwater (it can be tempting!). Most common plants will need an average of 1 inch of water a week. Refer to your state’s general watering guidelines, and consider weather conditions. Try watering early in the morning to reduce evaporation and apply hydration directly to the ground rather than the foliage—so it can seep deep down to the roots. To note: Rain gauges can be helpful tools to see just how much moisture your plants received overnight or while you were away.
  6. See What’s Ripe for Harvest: If you’re growing herbs, peppers, berries, or vegetables at home, remember to harvest what you’ve sown. This actually encourages your plants to continue producing and limits pest and disease issues—while you enjoy the fruits of your labor. You’ve earned it!

DIY Projects for Summer

Make the most of extended daylight hours. Here are three gardening projects you can tackle this summer. Our expert-led Magnolia WorkshopsOpens in new tab feature step-by-step videos that make it easy for beginners and green thumbs alike.

Grow Your Own Herbs

“The benefit of growing your own herbs is that you’re able to go out and pick the herbs fresh. It takes your cooking up another notch because the aromas are so much stronger. And you can really taste it, smell it in your food.”—Jamila Norman

From 30 Day Harvest: Vegetables and HerbsOpens in new tab with Jamila Norman.

why do it: to have fresh herbs on hand for summer cooking

supplies checklist: transplant herbs from your local gardening or hardware store, gallon-sized pot (8 inches deep) or raised bed, and compost, garden soil, or raised bed mix

01 Pull herbs out of the transplant pots.

02 Break open their roots.

03 Dig a hole and place the herbs.

04 Pat soil and water.

05 Harvest a few weeks later!

Plant a Pollinator Garden

“They’re beautiful to look at—and are so important to our ecosystem… The end result will be a beautiful garden for you and your pollinators to enjoy for years to come.”—Rachel Freitas

From Learn to Landscape: Easy Backyard ProjectsOpens in new tab with Rachel Freitas.

why do it: to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds that help your garden grow

supplies checklist: prepped bed, an assortment of pollinator plants, and your basic gardening tools

01 Select a space.

02 Pick your plants.

03 Lay out the design.

04 Start planting.

05 Water and enjoy the view.

Build a Raised Bed

“A raised bed is any garden that is elevated a little bit above ground, so you don’t have to dig into your soil to plant—or bend over as much when gardening. Plus, they heat up earlier in the spring and cool down slower in the fall. ”—Kevin Espiritu

From Starting a Home GardenOpens in new tab with Kevin Espiritu.

why do it: they’re easy to build and maintain all season long

supplies checklist: wood, pencil, measuring tape, circular saw (or similar), safety equipment, decking screws, drill, drill bits, square, landscape fabric, hardware cloth, staple gun

01 Choose and cut your wood.

02 Protect your plants.

03 Add soil and mulch.

04 Start your seeds.

05 Plant seedlings and water away.


Tools to Get Growing

Gardening Tools + Planters

Planters to display; watering cans to hydrate; tools to dig, snip, and cultivate. Find everything you need to set your plants up for success this summer.

From earthy, terracotta pots to whimsical accents, our garden collection is curated with pieces that are as beautiful as they are useful—bringing a natural sense of nostalgia and charm to your outdoor spaces.

Pale Mint Shears
Terracotta Orleans Pot
Round Roof Bird Feeder

We hope this guide has inspired you to get out there and enjoy a summer spent in the sun and soil. Year after year, gardening reminds us: It’s worth the wait.