Get ready for Autumn

Prepare your garden for the colder months

In my blog, Protect your garden furniture from the elements, I began with the first line of preparation for the Autumn. In this blog, find out how you can get the rest of your garden ready for the cold, wind and rain.

  • Pruning
  • Clearing up
  • Planting and sowing
  • Composting


I find pruning to be quite difficult. Not only the pruning itself, but also knowing the moment of when to prune exactly. Most of the time, I start, as soon as all the leaves have fallen from the plant or tree, but this can lead to having dead plants in the spring. So, I think I could do better!

Instead, I go looking for a pruning calendar online. There are so many to choose from. It is of course, handy if you at least know which plants are in your garden. Fortunately, I was able to find some old plant index cards in the shed. However, for the most common shrubs, I have managed to find a few firm rules, which are easy to remember.

Do you have shrubs that bloom in the spring? Prune these after they bloom. Not in the autumn or winter, as then they won’t bloom the next year. If you’ve got shrubs that bloom after June, then prune those in spring once the frost is definitely over. If you prune them too early, the branches will die. Perhaps you’ve got other plants in your garden, in which case, consult a pruning calendar for the correct instructions.

Before pruning, be sure to check that your pruning tools are sharp enough. Hold your shears up to the light and check to see if there is any damage to the blades. Trying to prune using blunt tools is not only very tiring, your plant will also have a greater chance of being damaged.

If you know which plants you’re going to prune now, first choose which branches you are going to remove. Preferably, select those that grow across each other. Prune the branch above the spot where a young branch or shoot points outwards. Let the young branch where it is, so the shape of your bush or tree is maintained. This way, you’ll avoid creating holes in the greenery.

Clearing up

The majority of annuals are now past their best, so the planters can be emptied and cleaned out in preparation for next year’s blooms. Of course, the autumn is the perfect time to put coloured Heather, Skimmia or Chrysanthemums in plant pots on your terrace or balcony. Their warm tints add a special touch to your otherwise bare-looking garden. However, you will need to ensure that your plants and clay pots are well protected against an early frost. If you group them together, they will keep each other warm, but this is often not enough in order to survive a harsh winter. Other options are to bring them indoors or wrap some bubble wrap around the pot(s).

Your garden furniture will also maintain their beauty for much longer by storing them in your shed, garage, under a shelter or protective cover. If you’re short of storage space, store any smaller items together in a box or chest that you can either stack away or use to put something else on top of, like your garden cushions, which fit perfectly in a cushion box. In the summer, you can easily transform your cushion box into an extra seat, by putting a cushion on top of the lid. You can also easily store your plant pots or garden hand tools in your cushion box, so they are out of your way for the entire winter season. If you clean them before putting them away, they will be ready for use immediately come next spring.

Fallen leaves and branches in your guttering may mean that your drains will get blocked, which can cause much greater water damage as a consequence. Therefore, be sure to clear your gutters after all the leaves have fallen. Autumn leaves in your garden seem like great fun to kids and animals, which is nice of course, having such a natural garden. Yet, damp leaves are slippery, they stain your tiles and aren’t exactly good for your lawn either. So, clean up as much of them as possible after playtime is over. Perhaps you could even leave a small pile in a corner of your garden somewhere, as who knows, maybe a hedgehog will be attracted to nest in your garden.

Have you cleared up everything? Then don’t forget to turn off your outdoor tap and water hose to protect them from the elements. Once frozen, they could otherwise easily spring a leak. An experience I’m sure you’d rather miss out on.

Planting and sowing

Even though the autumn seems like the end of a beautiful summer, it’s also the beginning of new life in your garden. You can already start making plans for how you would like your garden to look next year. In my blog, How to create your own unique look in your garden, you can read how to make a garden design. This summer, I had a good look around me and have already bought some bulbs. The autumn is the perfect time for planting bulbs for springtime blooms, like Daffodils, Hyacinths, Lillies and Snowdrops, to ensure you can enjoy lots of beautiful colours in your garden once the first rays of sun appear next spring. Nature sadly can’t give us any guarantees, but planting the spring bulbs before the first frost means a greater chance of success.

Do you have a kitchen garden or do you want to have one next year? In my blog, An edible garden, I explain what preparations you will need to make to ensure a healthy harvest. You could just buy new plants next year and plant them in your kitchen garden, or you could sow them yourself. It may mean a bit more work, but is a lot cheaper and more rewarding. Some crops, like rhubarb, can be sown now, but check online for a sowing calendar, so you will know exactly what other vegetables can be planted now, too.

If you’ve got some bald spots in your lawn around your swimming pool, garden furniture or play areas, spread some seed on them before the autumn, so they will be completely unnoticeable by next summer.


Your garden is now entering a rest period, so in the majority of cases, you won’t need to spread any compost. Except for your lawn, that is, which after an intensive summer of use, could do with a helping hand. Using special autumn lawn feed, you can maintain the quality of your lawn and prevent moss forming, without giving the grass a new growth-impulse.

So, there is still enough to be done, before you go back to sitting indoors for the winter. Do you have any tips with which we can prepare our gardens for the autumn/winter season? Share them with us on our Facebook page.

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