Top tips for tidying your garden this autumn

Nick Moyle and Rich Hood

Here's how to keep your garden looking beautiful throught the Autumn months

As the growth of summer subsides, your garden or allotment is likely to start looking a bit shabby as some crops die off, their work done, and other plants shed leaves and hunker down for winter hibernation. Giving the garden an autumn tidy can have benefits for not only aesthetic reasons but also the health of your plants and soil…

 

Trim the lawn

For many people the lawn is the centre-piece of their garden, a vibrant oasis of green to be enjoyed all year round. Get the grass in shape and the rest of the garden won’t seem so bad.

The first thing to do is give it a final trim with the mower. As it won’t be growing much until spring you don’t want to be too severe with the blades so raise them a few notches higher than usual.

Pop the mower back in the shed, making sure its blades are nice and clean (you have to look after your tools over winter as well) and bring out the lawn edger (or a sharp knife) and tidy up the edges for maximum neatness.

 

Put things away

If you have pot plants that don’t like the sharp snap of a frost then get them under cover—a greenhouse or porch is a suitable destination. And not all pots and containers are frost harder either, so if you’ve got any that may crack in sub-zero temperatures bring them inside as well.

Any furniture that is likely to rot or rust should be stored away in the shed and it’s also worth having a good look around for other garden items that are better off inside than out such as canes used as plant support, fruit netting, pegs and other items that might get lost among the growth.

 

Tidy borders

If any stems and leaves look dead, then get them in the compost heap. You don’t want to pull up the roots of perennials while tugging at foliage use a knife, a pruner or shears for this task.

While doing this you should also be aware of your garden wildlife and be careful not to over tidy— any stems that have seeds will make a valuable meal for birds while some scruffier areas of the border will provide shelter and nourishment for a whole range of insects, bugs and even small mammals to enjoy.

 

Clear the veg

patch Old vegetable plants are likely to rot and develop diseases that can linger in the soil so it’s important to get these spent items in the compost heap.

The newly cleared patches can then be prepped ready for winter, giving them a final weeding and mending any broken bits of raised beds.

You could also try sowing a green manure, such as winter field beans, which can be dug into the soil after a few months of growth to replenish it with nutrients.

 

Rake up leaves

Leaves can quickly rot, making an instant mess of your garden and providing you with patches of slippery ground to catch you unawares.

Rake up leaves before they get to that stage, sharing them with the compost bin (or you could make your own leaf mold) and the wildlife—a few piles scattered in out-of-the-way places by fences or under hedges will be much appreciated by the creatures that dwell in your outside space.

 

Clean

Finally, get out the scrubbing brush and clean as much as you can. The greenhouse, the shed, the fence, the path, bird boxes, feeders, gutters, water butts, furniture and tools.

The more you get around to doing now, the more likely they’ll stay in full working order for years to come.