Winter gardens can be pleasing wonderlands, especially after a first snowfall or even just through having a busy bird table filled with hungry visitors.
With just a bit of planning and preparation, everyone with a garden can create the foundations for their own pretty winter scene.
Care for your grass
If you do nothing else, make sure your grass is cut before the worst of the wet, cold weather gets too much of a grip. Just this one job will make a massive difference, as somehow a trimmed lawn makes the whole space look loved.
If you want to, you could go a step further and get rid of any moss patches. Kill them off with a moss killer, then rake away the dead bits and reseed any bald areas. If you’re going to mechanically scarify your lawn, you need to have this done before September is done. If moss doesn’t bother you, leave it. Lots of families mostly use the lawn as a play area for the kids, so the most important thing is to keep it trimmed and tidy-looking.
Clear out dead plants
What looked wonderful in the summer becomes a bedraggled mess once the flowering season is over and plants start dying back.
They haven’t finished giving yet though, as they make wonderful compost to feed to next year’s flowers and shrubs. Dig up the dying vegetation and put it into the compost bin. If you don’t have a compost bin, you could just dig it all in, burying the leaves and stems under the soil. The worms will get to work breaking everything down and releasing nutrients.
Protect garden furnishings
Whether you just have a couple of chairs and a table, or your outdoor area is a second living/dining room, protecting your investment in garden furnishings saves money in the long run.
Give everything a good clean before you put it to bed for the winter, brushing off dust or dirt and washing suitable items in warm, soapy water. Rinse and dry, then consider putting it all into self-storage for safekeeping.
As well as furniture, a storage unit is also the perfect resting place for barbecues, paddling pools, mowers, slides or swings and playhouses. You’ll save space in the garage or shed, knowing everything is protected from the elements.
Keep pathways clear and safe
Wet leaves are notoriously slippery, sometimes even worse than snow or ice. If you can, stay on top of sweeping or blowing fallen leaves before they have a chance to rot.
They make excellent compost in the form of leaf mould, and if you don’t have a compost bin you can just use a black bin liner. Fill it full of leaves, poke a few holes for ventilation, and leave it to rot down.
It makes a perfect mulch, and you’ll know it’s ready when there is very little trace of leaves left, just a dark brown, crumbly material.
If you’re using a leaf blower to help clear them away, this vital piece of kit can be added to your self-storage unit once all the leaves are gone.
Time for spring preparation
We sometimes forget, during the process of winding down the garden for winter, that autumn is also a planting season.
If you love swathes of daffodils and tulips in the spring, now’s the time to get the bulbs in the ground. Natural-looking planting creates the best show, rather than having blooms in strict lines. Toss a handful into the area you’d like them to grow, then plant them where they land. It gives a pleasing, random effect.
Shrubs are also best planted now, along with trees. Once you’ve done the hard work of clearing the beds and taking care of the lawn, planning a layout for new flowering shrubs or fruiting trees is a real pleasure. It’s also the time to move shrubs if you have one growing in a position that’s not ideal.
If you’re buying young shrubs, make sure you know how big they will grow so you can plan ahead and save work in the future.
Some vegetables also benefit from being planted in autumn so they can lie in the ground over winter.
Moving into winter
With garden equipment you don’t need to be tucked away in self-storage, tidy flower borders and safe, clean paths, you have the perfect canvas to make your garden winter wonderland.
String fairy lights along fences, set up bird feeding stations (remembering to regularly clean up scattered seeds so you don’t attract pests), or create seasonal displays for Halloween or Christmas.
You’ll also have a nice clear space to roll the snow into snowmen, should we be lucky enough to get a bit of the white stuff this year. But even if we don’t, you will at least have a beautifully tidy garden to enjoy through the winter and into next spring.
Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Lucy Clarke