Make the most of the unusually mild autumn weather by heading to the garden to prepare for the winter.

As fiery shades of amber, rust and gold blaze through our gardens and towns, we know autumn is well and truly here. These warming hues are a welcoming reminder to prepare for the colder months that are heading our way.

It only takes a few final measures to protect the plants that you have attentively nurtured and grown, so that they will continue to blossom and bloom year-on-year. A final tidy up will ensure that the energy and efforts you have you put in over the summer aren’t in vain. At the same time, let’s not forget the outdoor furniture and structures that will remain exposed to the elements through this frosty season.  Here are our top tips:

Look after your plants and borders

It is important to protect your plants and soil over the winter to ensure it is in a healthy state for the rest of the year. Doing this is actually really simple, all you need is plenty of mulch, bark or compost to cover the exposed areas of soil around the plants. This is important for two reasons; to suppress weeds and to keep the moisture in the ground to feed the existing plants.

Remove weeds

This is a dreaded task, but believe it or not, now is probably the best time to dig out weeds to weaken them.

Prepare your lawn

Your lawn still needs some attention if you want it to look great for the coming spring. While many of us just clear away the leaves, there is more you can do to maintain a beautiful lawn. The first step is mowing, but with raised blades so the grass is not short. The next, and most vital, step is to aerate, by perforating your lawn with the use of a garden fork to allow air and water to penetrate through to the grassroots. This will help the roots to grow and produce a stronger and healthier lawn.

Gutters, downpipes and drains

Autumn leaves are often likely to cause blockages in pipes and gutters, which can consequently cause damage to your home, such as damp. Take a quick look around the home and clear out gutters and downpipes. You could even invest in wire covers to prevent further blockages. 

Sheds, fences and decking

It is easy to forget that your shed, decking, and fences are most exposed to the elements and with the predicted stormy weather ahead of us, are at greater risk of damage. So, whilst the weather is still somewhat dry, take the opportunity to run a quick health check to reduce the risk of any serious damage. Take this time to check the condition of the shed roof, then replace or repair as appropriate. Treating timber and fencing with a coat of paint will be time well-invested.

Outdoor furniture

Consider storing any garden furniture that is likely to get damaged by the winter weather, or alternatively, protect them with a heavy duty cover. Store away any soft furnishings in a plastic bag, somewhere dry and out of direct sunlight.

Recycle

Make the most of the weather by retaining the natural resources it exposes us to. How? By storing fallen leaves in a compost bin and retaining rainwater in water butts, you will be able to recycle what is normally seen as waste into something useful, such as compost and water to feed plants during the coming season.

Leave plants in place

Autumn is a season full of colour, so the last thing you would want to see when you look out the window is an empty and plain garden. Keep the plants you have, particularly those with strong and bold structures as they will make great features on frosty mornings. Of course, if roots are damaged it may be best to remove them now. Retaining these plants will protect the soil and provide seeds for birds to feed off over the season.

 

Prepare for spring

You may be thinking we are really getting ahead of ourselves now, but yes, this can be done. The soil at this time of year is still warm, so you can plant bulbs which will be blooming by the time spring comes around. Cover the surrounding ground with plenty of compost or mulch to preserve the soil’s moisture and help growth. This could also act as a little reminder so you do not dig up that spot. 

 

We hope these tips will help you to maintain your garden over the winter months. We would love to see how you have got on, so do post your pictures on our Twitter or Facebook pages. If you have any more tips and advice, please do post them too.