Marianne Binetti

Marianne Binetti: 5 tips for renovating your garden for spring

February blooms with the Northwest Flower & Garden Show and this year the five-day show in Seattle will feature more than an acre of gorgeous display gardens.

Romance is a great theme for making this year’s show a date night/weekend in the city or — as we’ve seen in past years — a beautiful site for a marriage proposal.

You’ll be inspired to start a new garden or renovate your old outdoor space by free seminars. New this year is a contest called “Garden Wars,” which pits novice gardeners against one another to design and install an instant garden.

Garden renovation is a lot like decluttering your indoor space with a fresh look and clean sweep of the overgrown, overdone and overwhelming plants and design elements in your outdoor space.

If you can’t make it to my seminar on that topic at the show on opening day, here are the top five tips for renovating your garden this spring:

1. Prune, snip and saw away the overgrown

The gray weather in Western Washington demands that maximum sunlight be allowed into windows, and any homeowner who hates to prune will find that the inside of their homes grows darker as trees and shrubs around the house grow larger. Don’t procrastinate with the excuse that the season is not quite right for pruning. Prune anyway.

2. Grow your health by planting more herbs and vegetables

Simple ideas, such as adding a pot of mint near the back door for herbal tea or a bed of basil in a hot spot for summer fresh pesto will make even the most inexperienced gardener a success as a backyard farmer.

3. Start a collection and grow what you love

Life is short; live with more passion. Take out the back lawn and replaced with raised beds for your growing collection of dahlias, or just make this the year you finally get rid of the junipers and design a more pleasing display of compact or dwarf conifers.

4. Rejuvenate the gardener with practical moves

Turning your outdoor space into a place to enjoy life is as simple as practicing mindful moves such as gentle stretching while gardening. Use the right tool to avoid muscle sprains. Decide to “garden” instead of “doing yard work” and dare to leave the cellphone indoors.

You’ll plug into the sounds and sights of nature as you allow your mind to slow down and wander while actually enjoying the repetitive but instant gratification of weeding, watering and planting.

5. Move your plants

Rearranging the furniture inside your home can open up a whole new perspective, and rearranging your landscape plants can have the same effect.

We live in a mild winter area, and February is the perfect time to imagine that your plants have wheels. Large plants may require plenty of digging, but we all need more exercise, and putting the right plant in the right place fulfills the promise of both the renovated garden and rejuvenated gardener.