Updated 11 October 2022

Get your garden winter-ready

Autumn’s here and it's time to get your garden ready for the winter. Below is a check list of all the things you need to remember when you shut down your garden for the winter. And there are even some extra tips on how to make your garden look great even at the coldest time of the year.

Get your garden winter-ready

When autumn arrives, it's time to start thinking about tidying up the garden. The ground slowly becomes soft, the grass stops growing and the weather turns wetter and colder. To ensure your equipment survives the winter and stays in good shape, you need to make sure you protect it correctly.

Below we list all the things you need to remember when you shut your garden down, as well as how to keep it looking a little nicer during the winter.

  

Protect the barbecue

The garden's pièce de résistance is probably your barbecue, and although they're usually built from materials that can withstand tough weather, you’ll maximise the life of your barbecue by protecting it with a cover.

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Barbecue covers are available in a range of prices. Size affects the price, but the quality of the material normally correlates with the price too. Choose a cover that fits your barbecue.

You can find the best price for barbecue covers (and loads of product tips) at PriceRunner

Furniture and cushions

Just like the barbecue, outdoor furniture should be protected with covers, regardless of whether the furniture is made of rattan, wood or plastic. All materials age, but ice, moisture and the winter sun’s rays will accelerate that process.

You can buy protective covers from a shop, or just use a good quality tarpaulin. Make sure you attach the tarpaulin tightly so it can’t blow away.

Cushions should be stored protected so they don’t become a winter home for rats, mice or even mould. For example, a patio storage box in a dry storage space is an ideal solution.

Product idea! This patio storage box made of synthetic rattan is both affordable and stylish.

Winter storage for your garden machinery

Now’s the time to tidy away your lawn mowers, robotic lawn mowers, strimmers, secateurs and all your other garden tools.

But before putting them away, you should also give them a minor "service". Clean them properly, top up with oil where required, fold away any machines that can be made smaller and put them all away in a weatherproof environment.

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Some machines should not be stored where they can be exposed to sub-zero temperatures. For example high-pressure washers can’t withstand such low temperatures and the same is true of batteries and power tools, which should be kept in rooms that will have maintenance levels of heating through the winter.

Winter storage for your trampoline

Trampolines are often destroyed when the autumn storms come. In fact, they’re often torn into shreds, which means they’re a risk to the environment as well. Many people try to avoid this by attaching the trampoline to a fence or similar so it doesn’t get blown away, but this is seldom enough.

The best thing you can do is to dismantle the trampoline and keep it in your garden shed for the winter. Then you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged, and it will also have a longer lifespan. It might not be much fun to take it apart and then set it up again in the spring, but it's better to do that than have to fix the fence or buy a new trampoline because the old one got broken up in a storm.

Look after your plants

Some plants should be pruned in the autumn, and others should be covered over for winter. Trim away withered twigs, prune hedges a bit so that they get a nice shape, and do the same with berry bushes. However, more sensitive plants should be pruned during the JAS period (July, August, September).

There are also plants which should be planted out in the autumn. For instance now’s the time to pull on your gardening gloves if you want bulbs in the spring.

Tips on autumn planting:

  • Tulips – Ensure you have a beautiful spring garden by planting your tulip bulbs now.
  • Ramsons, spring onions and carrots – All great in a salad or for cooking in the spring. Ramsons and spring onions can be planted in October. Carrots can be sown as long as there is no frost in the ground.
  • Bare-rooted hedge plants – If you’re going to plant hedges (bare-rooted ones), you need to do this in the autumn.
  • Fruit trees – These are often planted in the autumn. They’re also very attractive in the garden when they get their first leaves in the spring.
  • Roses – It’s often fine to plant these in the autumn, but check the variety to ensure it doesn’t have any special requirements.

Do you have any more tips on autumn planting? Feel free to add a comment below this article.

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Sort out your wood

The cosiest thing of all is to light a fire in the winter and settle on the sofa in front of it. But to do this, you need a wood stove and some firewood.

Of course you can simply buy your firewood. If you only light a fire for cosy Friday nights in, you can probably get away with buying a small bag of firewood now and then, but if you’re lighting a fire often, it’s best to buy a whole cubic metre at a time and have it delivered to your home. There are plenty of great storage options for wood, a firewood shed is great for keeping your wood dry airy.

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If you have your own trees, however, you can save a lot of money by splitting wood yourself. All you need is a saw to fell and chop up the tree, and a log splitter of some kind to split the logs. If you do a day or two’s work in the autumn, with the right log splitter, you’ll have enough firewood for the whole winter.

Top tip! Log splitters are available both as vertical and horizontal models, and can cost anywhere from £300 up to thousands of pounds.

Tidy up and decorate the garden

With all your gadgets and machinery gone, and your furniture stored or covered, you’re ready to begin phase two: tidying up and decorating the garden. If you spend time in the autumn tidying up, clearing away dead plants, removing weeds and so on, it will be much easier and more fun to open the garden up again in spring.

Autumn is also a perfect time of the year to take care of fallen twigs and branches. If you have a garden shredder, you don’t have to make several trips to the recycling centre with large loads of twigs. Instead you can feed them into the garden shredder (or wood chipper), and the chips that come out can be spread over your flower beds. Or you can make smoke chips for the barbecue.

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You can also collect that pile of leaves you've made with your leaf blower, and mulch it with your lawn mower. Then spread it over your flower beds for nutrition. You can even put a layer of compost between the leaves and the soil.

Check list for tidying up your garden

  • Clear weeds from flower beds
  • Prune withered twigs
  • Shape non-sensitive bushes
  • Collect excess leaves and compost them, or shred them and use as nutrition on the flower beds
  • Collect twigs and branches that have been blown down – or remained in the garden for some other reason – and chip them in a garden shredder
  • Brush off patios and in the greenhouse

With the garden tidied up, it's time for some decoration. You can set out dining areas for different animals, and receive continuous visits from birds, squirrels and other guests who help to give life to your garden.

Tie wreaths and create other ornaments with the help of ornamental grass, moss, sticks and anything else you find on the ground. In the autumn, you also have access to pumpkins in different colours that you can use for decoration. Ornamental cabbages and heathers are other decorative choices.

Light up for true magic

Now your garden is nice and tidy. But you still have one step left. With the right lighting, your autumn and winter garden can be at least as inviting and beautiful as it is in the summer. Autumn and winter are dark, and you can use that darkness in combination with light from outdoor lighting to create bold effects in the garden.

If you have access to IP-rated electrical outlets in the garden, you can connect mains-powered lighting (you can also lay 12 volt lighting circuits yourself if you want). If you need 230 volts, that has to be a permanent installation, so you’ll need to get an electrician involved. Another alternative is solar cell lighting. It’s not as bright, but on the other hand it doesn’t require any cables. Of course you can also mix these three variants.

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Lighting also differs in type – you can have spotlights, downlights, bollard lights and LED light strips in any combination to give life to your garden.

Some examples of how you can decorate your home with outdoor lighting:

  • Light a tree from below by pointing a spotlight at the trunk and up towards the underside of the crown. This transforms the tree into a real work of art.
  • You can choose to install bollard lighting along paths. Bollards are short posts with built-in lighting, which are inserted in the ground. If you don’t have an electricity supply along your paths, you can instead choose to place a number of solar cell lamps along each side.
  • By setting up light strips in bushes, along your fences or on the patio, you give the garden and the patio a warm and cosy feeling.
  • It’s important to have lighting on your drive, because you don’t want to come home and be met by darkness. Nowadays, there are surveillance cameras with built-in spotlights, which are a good choice for anyone who wants to increase security and reduce the risk of burglary. Ordinary lanterns on a pole are also attractive. Or why not...
  • Downlights along the facade? These are quite trendy and also highlight your house when you look at it from the street.

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And did you know that the Philips Hue system (smart lighting that can be controlled from a mobile phone) is also available for outdoor use? This allows you to set different scenarios, so that for example the lighting on your drive comes on when the sun goes down, or the garden paths light up when you move around in the area.

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