With the end of summer soon upon us, it’s time to start thinking about the garden once again and how to prepare it for autumn.
Spending a little time in the garden this time of year will ensure it’s ready for when autumn and winter hits. It’s one of the most important times for gardeners and there are a few tasks that need completing so that the garden is fully prepped and ready for when the spring arrives.
Here’s how to prepare your garden at the turn of the season.
When it comes to your shrubs and trees, you should prune any unruly branches to improve their overall shape, as well as give your hedges a final trim before the frost arrives. You should inspect your branches and remove any that are dead or diseased to encourage healthy stem growth in the future.
Restore tidiness to your garden by cutting back any herbaceous perennials that are done for the summer. By removing any dying leaves and collapsed stems you are also encouraging a strong growth system and preventing diseases from taking hold of them.
Tender potted plants would struggle to survive in a colder climate; therefore the end of the summer is the perfect time for them to be moved into a greenhouse, porch or conservatory for protection.
Plant spring-flowering bulbs
Add some colour to a winter garden by planting spring-flowering bulbs such as snowdrops, crocus or daffodils in your garden. By planting these now, you will have a vibrant garden once the winter is here.
Clean your greenhouse
Now is the best time to give your greenhouse a good clean! Sweep out all plant debris and thoroughly wash out pots, trays and clean surfaces to create a fresh environment for you to use that will also help to protect plants against pests and disease.
Tools and equipment
As you begin to clear away all your tools and equipment for the colder months, you should also give them a clean to ensure they are in the best shape for the next use. Your tools should be thoroughly cleaned and once this is done, should be wiped down with an oil rag to prevent rust and corrosion whilst they are stored away.
It’s also essential that you give your lawnmower a clean before that is put away. Simply check underneath for any grass clippings that have got stuck there and remove them – this will stop your blades from jamming when you next use your lawnmower and prevent them from rusting.
Cover your garden furniture
Garden furniture is an investment and with the colder weather arriving, you should protect it. Outdoor furniture can be vulnerable to damage during the winter; therefore by using a cover to securely shelter it, you will be protecting it from the rain or snow. The cover will guarantee the furniture’s quality and allow you to enjoy it once again when the sun is out.
Tidying paths and paving
During the colder months, your pathways may become a little more dangerous than they would be during the summer, due to frost and fallen leaves making the paths slippery. Although fallen leaves and frost is inevitable, it’s still worth using this time before the cold hits to give your paths and paving a thorough clean. Make sure you clear all the fallen leaves and debris, as well as remove all dirt from your paths either with a jet wash or stiff broom and soapy water. Don’t forget to collect the fallen leaves for your compost!
As you're working in your garden, you have an opportunity to gather leaves, debris, tree clippings and other garden matter and add it to your compost bin. This will break down to provide nutrient-rich compost that will help to enhance your soil, improve its structure and moisture-holding ability.
Protect your pond
To protect your pond, add netting. This will take care of any fallen leaves or debris, catching them before they fall into the pond. If you allow your leaves to fall to the bottom of the pond, they will decay, disrupting the ecological balance of the waters and making it harmful for the life within. Pond netting also makes it particularly easy to remove the fallen leaves and keep it nice and tidy.
If there are any fish in your pond, you need to ensure that it does not freeze over in the winter. The best way to prevent this is by floating a small ball on the water's surface; this stops the water from freezing, meaning your pond life will have enough oxygen.
Add some lighting
The end of summer means we say goodbye to long days and hello to long nights. By adding outdoor lighting to your garden, you will be cheering up a dark and dreary time of year. Not only will it add to the aesthetic of your garden, but it will also allow you to enjoy your outdoor living space for longer.