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snow on garden furniture

After the long, warm (if we’re lucky) days of Summer start to reduce and the daylight gets shorter, you might not want to think about Autumn and Winter but, it’s on the way, so here are some tips to get your garden Autumn/Winter ready.

Right now, as there has been some rain at last, the grass will still be growing but those days of getting the mower out, are surely numbered.

If you spend a little time thinking about the investments you’ve made in your garden such as; plants, timber structures – decking, sheds, pergolas etc and how you might offer them some protection over the colder months, they will last longer and give more pleasure for years to come.

1. CHECK YOUR GARDEN FENCES

If your fences are new, it’s likely the treatment they came with is still protecting them well. For older fences, give them a coat of wood treatment such as one of the Ronseal fence treatment products.

Do any panels need replacing or, if it’s a fence made of Feather Edged boards, do any need replacing? Any rotting or broken panels (see our recent blog on why your fence is cracking and what else you can do about it) need work now, they will only get worse.

wooden-garden-fence-cracking

2. CHECK YOUR DECKING AREAS

You may have timber decking or composite decking (or a mix of both…) so let’s look at these in turn:

2.1 Timber decking

Traditionally, all decking was made of timber so it’s probably fair to say that much of the decking down today is timber (with composite decking catching up quickly) but, it won’t last forever. We can make it last longer with care, attention and some remedial works.

Check the boards for rotting or splitting and replace any that you don’t think will make it to spring. Give a liberal coating of one of the Ronseal decking protector products.

Clear any ice or snow rather than leaving to build up over a long time.

2.2 Composite decking

Now that composite is used far more widely, it’s quite possible you have this for your decking area.

Your general decking care should be to remove any grease or other spills following your Summer of entertaining.

It’s true that it’s relatively maintenance-free but, just like with timber decking boards, it’s best to clear any ice or snow build-up sooner rather than later – we advise using a plastic shovel to prevent scratching the composite decking boards.

3. TIDY PATHS AND PAVING

Wait until all the leaves have dropped (or you’ll end up doing it twice) then rake up all the leaves and debris (doing this on a dry and crisp day makes it slightly easier).

Give your paving a thorough cleaning (maybe with a power washer/stiff brush to get rid of dirt & moss) to ensure it’s less slippery in the damper months.

snow on garden furniture

4. MAINTAIN YOUR BORDERS

Trim lawn edges and clear dead stems from perennial plants. Leave deciduous grasses until late February, as the dead foliage also helps protect the plant’s crown.

Cut back the herbaceous perennials in your borders close to the ground as they begin to die down and remove annuals that have finished. Tidy up your borders by removing any dead foliage, leaves, weeds & debris.

Empty out your compost bins of old, well-rotted material and spread it all over the fresh soil to set it up for the spring. Your compost bins can then be filled up again with this year’s waste ready for next year.

5. PAY ATTENTION TO SHRUBS AND TREES

Prune any stray branches on your shrubs to improve the shape and, if they need it, give your hedges a final trim before the frosts hit. Remove any dead, diseased or damaged branches, particularly with your trees.

6. PROTECT PLANTS

Move any pots planted with tender species into a conservatory or greenhouse for winter protection. Wrap horticultural fleece around the trunks of any palm trees planted in the ground and spread a thick mulch of bark around the base of these and any other delicate trees, like Japanese maples, to protect them from the frost.

7. TIDY PONDS AND WATER FEATURES

Try to prevent your pond or water feature clogging up with leaves by temporarily covering in a net during Autumn. If your pond hasn’t been cleaned in a number of years and is beginning to look murky, then late autumn is the ideal time to tackle it while many creatures are becoming dormant. If there are fish in your pond, then try to be vigilant during frosts to ensure that the water’s surface doesn’t completely freeze over, even if you just have a ball on standby to float on the water’s surface it will help.

8. PREPARE THE LAWN

Go over your entire lawn with a scarifying or spring tine rake to remove thatch and moss to allow it to breathe and grow more freely. If you do have a large amount of moss invading your green space, then there’s a good chance that you have drainage issues – a session with a lawn spike aerator or even just a standard garden fork across the area will help considerably. Combine with specially produced autumn lawn feed and moss-killer products to give your lawn all the help you can.

9. PLANT OUT SPRING-FLOWERING BULBS

Plant out your spring bulbs before the winter kicks in. From snowdrops to crocus and daffodils, they all like well-fertilised, free-draining soil, so dig in lots of sharp sand and some bone meal for a slow release of nutrients that will feed the bulbs over a long period. When planting bulbs, the general rule of thumb is to plant at two or three times the depth of the bulb itself. Spacing also works well at two or three times the width of the bulb, and for the most natural and dramatic effect, plant the same variety of bulbs in large drifts.

10. WATCH OUT FOR SNOW

Snow, if left on plants for long periods, can be damaging so gently tap on any branches to keep them clear.

snow on plants

11. INSTALL OUTDOOR LIGHTING TO ADD ANOTHER DIMENSION

Add some outdoor lighting- just because there is less daylight, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to see your garden in the dark. This also helps with security. Take a look at our Ellumiere range of garden lighting

12. ENJOY YOUR WINTER GARDEN

Sit back and relax in front of the fire, safe in the knowledge you’ve done all you can to get your garden Autumn/Winter ready…

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