Luigi Pannozzo, director of outdoor shelter specialists Gazeboshop, shares his tips on how to prepare your garden for autumn and winter.
I’ve put together some tips on getting your garden ready ahead of those colder months. On top of the usual routine of preparing your plants to survive through winter, it’ll be worthwhile thinking about outdoor lighting, heating and shelter to make your garden that bit more inviting.
As we head into autumn, the days are getting shorter and temperatures are beginning to drop. To ensure your plants rise to the challenge of surviving these conditions, it’s important to make a start on the groundwork as soon as possible.
The first step should always be to look after your lawns. Guests are guaranteed to notice this section of your garden first, and it’s almost always the part that people will comment on. A well-kept lawn is essential if you’re planning to have people over this winter.
Remove any leaves, thatch or moss using a rake, then mow your lawn and tidy up the borders as you usually would. Finally, perforate the soil with a garden fork (a process known as aeration that prevents soil compaction and ensures that nutrients can get around).
The other types of preparation you’ll need to make depend on the plants you’re growing:
With your lawn looking lovely and your plants prepared to thrive, it’s time to turn your outdoor space into an enjoyable place to spend time in. As the cold and dark of winter draws in, it’s particularly worth putting in a covered, heated seating area for you and your family to enjoy.
You could look at putting in a veranda, but you might find that a less permanent fixture keeps your guests dry and doesn’t dominate your garden quite so much. The real choice here is between a gazebo or a marquee depending on the size of your space and your family.
Whatever you do, make sure there’s enough warmth and light for you to stay sat outside once the sun goes down. Patio heaters are a good option for this. Alternatively, you could consider a fire pit – just make sure you don’t position the gazebo too close!
Creating warm, well-lit and sheltered areas will help to ensure that guests enjoy visiting your garden, but don’t forget about the furniture – a weathered and splintered old garden bench won’t appeal as a place to sit on when you have friends or family round.
Start by sanding down any wooden furniture, then apply a coat of wood preservative or a lick of paint. This will help to maintain everything through the winter whilst improving the overall aesthetic of your garden, yet it’s a step that many of us overlook in the run-up to winter.