After years of neglect, gardens tend to become overgrown and wild looking. Trees may suffer broken limbs which aren't pruned and perennials gardens will often become over run with weeds. Restoring a garden requires an analysis of all garden elements including trees, shrubs, garden structures, wall and patios.
Examine garden walls and be sure there are no signs of leaning or cracks. Get an expert opinion on obvious defects in any garden walls. Also examine the patios, paths and steps and determine whether or nor their materials and location fit into your long tern garden plans. Check trellises and arbors for rot, and their metal for rusting through. Repair if plants need their support or remove if they're no longer needed for any reason.
In the perennial garden, find the healthiest flowers first and mark them with garden stakes. Areas of the garden which have become too infested with weeds can be complete dug up and the plants thrown in the compost pile. Turning over the soil will loosen compacted soil and allow you to remove the weeds from the garden. Tilling in fresh organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, will help create nutrient rich soil. Over time nutrients can be leached out of garden soil.
Once the plants you’re not keeping are removed, dig up, divide and transplant the perennials which you’ve marked (See Dividing Perennials). Generally fall blooming perennials should be divided in the spring while spring bloomer prefer division in the fall. If you’re restoring your garden during the spring mark where the bulbs are so they’re not dug mistakenly further along during the season.
If the lawn has been completely over run with weeds you may need to plant a new one. If the lawn is in fairly decent shape but a bit thin. Restoring a lawn is best done in the fall with the cooler weather since it will recover quickly after detaching and aerating The problem with disturbing the ground with these task in the spring is the fact that opportunistic weed seeds will try to germinate. Basically, detaching and aerating will reduce soil compacting and allow water and nutrients to reach the deeper roots. Adding seed will help thicken the lawn.