The complete guide to getting your garden ready for autumn
Leaves are turning red, coats are coming on, and night is arriving sooner and sooner. After a long, hot summer, autumn is finally here.
As the seasons shift, you may be wondering how to prepare your garden for the colder months. The cold and rain can do a number on your stones and greenery, so it’s important to give your garden some needed TLC to make sure it stays its best.
MB Wilkes have been providing a wide range of landscaping solutions for years, providing materials for everything from residential backyards to sweeping public gardens. Read on for everything you need to know about preparing your outside space for autumn, from adding decorative garden stones to revitalising your soil with fertiliser.
Top Tasks to Prepare Your Garden for Autumn
Because of the wet, windy weather that comes with autumn, keeping your garden in good condition takes a bit more elbow grease. Here are some steps you should take to keep your garden looking beautiful for the months to come.
1. Mow the Grass
This is always a good place to start. You’e probably been mowing your grass all year round as part of general garden maintenance, but it’s especially important to do before the cold and wet weather really sets in - frost and moisture can make mowing long grass much harder.
2. Clean Your Garden Patio Slabs
With BBQs and garden parties on hold until the warmer months, now’s the perfect time to give your garden patio slabs a thorough clean. You can deep clean it with a strong power washer, or give it a good old-fashioned scrub with an appropriate cleaner.
While you’re out there with all your tools, give your patio furniture a thorough clean too. This will stop excessive dirt and grime from building up over the wet winter months.
3. Prepare Your Garden Plants
To make sure your plants stay healthy during winter, there are a few things you should do to prepare them:
- Dead-head your flowers, allowing them to bloom into colour one more time before winter arrives.
- Make sure your more vulnerable plants are inside in time for the first frost - these include succulents, citruses, and salvias, amongst others.
- Cut back the trees and shrubs that have thrived during the summer. Not only will this help keep your garden neat over the winter, but it will encourage regrowth next year.
- Look for signs of disease on your perennials, such as spotty leaves or rotting stems, and treat them accordingly.
- As human activity lessens in the garden, bird activity will be on the rise. Protect your plants from birds by keeping leafy vegetable crops under netting or in fruit cages.
4. Improve the Quality of Your Soil
Over the summer, plants soak up all the goodness from the soil to help them grow. By the time autumn rolls around, the soil’s nutrients are seriously depleted.
Now is the perfect time to add mulch, manure, and compost to your existing soil to enhance its quality over the coming months, ready for new growth in the spring.
Cover all areas where you’d like regrowth, but make sure to avoid covering any plants that are left. Mix the soil and fertiliser well with a garden fork to ensure total coverage.
5. Rake Leaves to Prevent Build-Up
This is something you should be doing throughout the autumn months, for as long as leaves are falling from the trees. If wet leaves build up, they will turn to mulch before you know it, becoming slippery, unsightly, and harder to remove.
6. Check Your Gutters
Make sure to check your gutters for leaf build-up, as well grime, dirt, and other debris. Doing this will ensure that your gutters don’t get clogged up over the winter and therefore last longer in the long-term. The last thing you want is to have to pay for your gutters to be repaired or replaced.
7. Clean Your Ponds
Without the right level of care, ponds can soon become overgrown with plants, weeds, and algae, making them unsightly and unhealthy for fish and other wildlife. Late autumn is the best time to clean ponds - it isn’t cold enough for the water to freeze over, but ost creatures are less active than they are in summer.
If you're looking to enhance your pond's appearance, take a look at our range of shingle and gravel.
Autumn Plants, Fruits, and Vegetables
Spring isn’t the only time to get planting! Take advantage of the cool and wet weather by growing some tasty autumn fruits or vegetables, or plant some autumn-flowering bulbs to add a splash of colour to your garden in winter.
Autumn is also a great time to collect and store vegetable seeds for the following year. Harvesting your own seeds is fairly easy and straightforward, and it's an opportunity to increase the number of plants in your garden for free.
If your garden could benefit from more workable, moisture-retaining soil, we stock high-quality soils that provide the ideal conditions for plants to set root. We also sell compost and mulch to help keep your new plants growing strong!
Fruits and Vegetables
Delicious, juicy apples are easy to grow in autumn. Whether you prefer tart or sweet, there are plenty of varieties to choose from. Make sure to plant your apple tree in a sunny spot with deep, well-draining soil, well away from any frost pockets.
Growing both summer and autumn-fruiting raspberries will reward you with plenty of fruit from midsummer until mid-autumn. If you end up with excess raspberries, they can be put in the freezer or turned into delicious jams, sauces, and desserts!
Thanks to their extra-fast growing time, radishes are an excellent vegetable to cultivate in autumn. They only take around four weeks to reach full growth, so you can start enjoying your homegrown veg in no time.
Turnips are hardy and easy to grow. Sow them in the ground or in a greenhouse in early autumn, they’ll be fully grown and be ready to be picked by winter.
Spring to early autumn is the optimum planting time for some types of potato. Potatoes require an open, frost-free site with deep, fertile, moisture-retentive and crumbly soil for heavy, high-quality yields.
Plants and Flowers
Bulbs make a fine display planted in containers or raised beds that bloom at any time of year. Autumn-flowering bulbs, such as nerines, can brighten up the late season with unexpectedly colourful displays.
Dividing perennials regularly will ensure healthy, vigorous plants that will continue to perform year after year. Division is most successful in autumn, when the plants are not in active growth.
As light levels decrease in the autumn months, some plants may benefit from being moved to a sunnier position such as nearer a window, as long as the minimum required temperatures can be maintained.
Autumn Garden Enhancements
Beyond growing and maintenance, autumn is a great time to enhance your garden with beautiful, practical additions. Any later in the year, and you could find the damp and cold too harsh to be laying bricks, sand, or gravel – we recommend getting this work done now, so it can help prevent the elements taking over your garden until the spring.
Here are a few brilliant additions you can use to give your garden that special touch:
1. Garden Stones
As the cold weather creeps in, the bright blues and yellows of summer slowly fade to grey. Evergreen plants help to keep your garden green, but empty flower beds and the bare branches of other trees can make your garden look a little desolate. It’s good to inject colour and beauty into your garden with something that lasts year round.
Decorative garden stones will help break up the uniformity with pretty, mellow colours and interesting shapes. Stones such as our Scottish Cobbles or classic Black Slate will help keep your garden looking beautiful all year round.
We stock a wide range of different stones and pebbles, so browse our full range of decorative stones to find the type perfect for your garden.
Gravel is ideal for improving drainage in your garden or driveway, particularly during these upcoming rainy months!
You can buy high-quality shingle and gravel online via our website - we'll deliver direct to your door.
3. Rainwater Butts and Barrels
Water is a limited and valuable resource that is essential for plant growth. To make the most of the upcoming wetter months, buy a water barrel to collect what you can and store for later use.
Create Your Dream Garden with MB Wilkes
Looking to create your perfect garden this autumn? MB Wilkes is the leading supplier of landscaping and garden materials in Dorset. We have everything you need to build the perfect outdoor space, from sleepers and planks to natural stone paving.