As the autumn months set in, there are some annual tasks to take care of in the garden, and getting ready for autumn on time will leave you with plenty to look forward to in the run-up to Christmas.
The most obvious gardening task for autumn is to collect any fallen leaves, and there are a few approaches to take here:
You can keep the collected leaves to use as insulating mulch on your flowerbeds during the winter, or put them on your compost heap or in your compost bin to transform them into rich fertiliser.
Give the grass a final mow before the cold and wet winter months arrive. You might want to set your blades a little higher than in the summer – this is a long-term maintenance cut, rather than for show.
Avoid cutting the grass after heavy rain or if there’s an early frost, but hopefully there will be some good weather for a few days in October or November, so that you can mow it a final time and leave it in good condition for the dormant winter months.
Don’t be tempted to delay repairs until after the winter – in fact it’s even more important to put right any damaged fixtures and fittings before the strongest winds and severe weather conditions arrive.
Check fence posts and panels, garages and gates, sheds and greenhouse roofs, and make sure they’re sturdy (and waterproof, in the case of roofs and outbuildings) to give your garden the best possible chance of making it through to spring in one piece.
Autumn is also the time to treat your borders, especially if the last of the summer flowers have died off and you can cut back or pull off the dead leaves.
Give your freshly cleared borders a layer of manure or compost to act as insulation for any roots still in the ground, and to fertilise them ready for healthy growth in the spring.
Finally, think about decorating your garden in the autumn months, ready to be able to enjoy it around Christmas, New Year and the whole festive holiday period.
You can add outdoor fairy lights, icicle lights along garage and shed roof edges, and tree lights; patio heaters for a more comfortable evening outdoors; and all kinds of sculptures, festive figurines and wall-mounted decorations.
Make sure everything is secure in case of strong winds overnight, or choose decorations you can easily move into the shed or greenhouse.
Your garden can be a place of sanctuary and relaxation even during the depths of winter, so put in the preparation in the run-up to Christmas and you can reap the rewards in the new year.