With summer on its last legs and autumn just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start thinking about preparing your garden for the colder months.
While it might seem strange to turn your attention to the garden just as it stops looking its best, any elbow grease you apply now will pay off ten times over next spring. Follow these tips to get your garden ready for autumn and winter, while laying the foundations for 2018.
Tidy your borders
Once your annuals have gone over, dig them up and add them to the compost heap if you have one. However, just because summer is over doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a bit of colour in the garden. Replace those faded annuals with your favourite winter-flowering plants for a colourful display that will last all the way through till spring. If you want some inspiration, take a look at David Domoney’s pick of the best flowers to add colour to your garden over winter.
If you’re not happy with your garden’s layout, autumn is the perfect time for rearranging your borders, as the soil is still warm. Cut past-their-best perennials back to around 5cm above ground level, and take the opportunity to divide any that are overcrowded too.
Lastly, dig a thick layer of compost into your borders so the soil is full of nutrients going into the spring.
Look after your lawn
Autumn and winter can wreak havoc on your lawn. Luckily, a bit of TLC throughout the colder seasons will keep your lawn looking great.
First, treat any mossy areas of your grass with moss killer. This will turn the weed black and in a few weeks, you’ll be able to rake it up. In the meantime, consider relocating hedges or trees that are casting shade on your lawn, or you’ll have the same problem every year.
It’s also important to remove thatch, which is a layer made up of old grass clippings and other debris that blocks drainage and encourage disease. This can be removed with a quality spring-tined rake and some elbow grease, and it makes a great addition to your compost heap.
Next, improve drainage by creating air pockets every 10cm or so across your entire lawn by driving a garden fork into the grass as deep as you can and then wiggle it back and forth a few times. Then spread a ready-mix bag of sandy top dressing on your lawn to fill the holes but still allow air and water through.
Lastly, feed your lawn with an autumn fertiliser that is high phosphates and potash. This will encourage root growth and the long-term health of your lawn.
If you don’t have any of the equipment you need to look after your lawn, pop along to Bold Heath, a Wyevale Garden Centre, which is just off the A57 and includes all the tools and supplies you need to grow green, luscious grass.
Evergreens will add colour and character to your garden throughout the winter months while most of your garden lies dormant. They also make the perfect backdrop for delicate flowing plants throughout the entire year, making them a great addition to any outdoor space.
Evergreens will really hit the ground running if you plant them in autumn, as the soil is still warm but temperatures have dropped a bit. To make sure you don’t end up overcrowding your borders with evergreens and leave no room for flowering plants, use the RHS’s guide to evergreen shrubs by size. This will help you find the perfect plants to fill the empty spaces in your borders and have your garden looking its best all year round.
Take the time to perform these three essential gardening tasks in preparation for autumn and winter and it’s sure to look its best throughout the colder months and beyond.