The winter months don’t have to mean saying goodbye to your garden – in fact from late autumn through to the warmer days of spring, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your outdoor space.
At the same time, you can take care of pruning, maintenance and other winter garden tasks that will hopefully have everything in good condition well into the new year.
Laying turf in winter is not as problematic as you might imagine. The only times you really can’t lay turf are when the soil is frozen, frosty or very wet.
During mild winters or prolonged dry spells, it’s likely the ground will be in fine condition for laying a new lawn – so why wait until spring?
As always, prepare the soil with plenty of fertiliser and aerate it before laying your turf, then gently tamp the turf down to a level lawn and water it well.
For a resilient, low-maintenance turf that will do well in winter, try our Gold Standard Turf.
Once your new turf lawn is laid, it actually needs less care and attention during winter, as it won’t dry out as fast or as often.
Check daily and water when the soil appears to have dried out. This is especially likely during dry windy spells of weather, which will encourage moisture to evaporate.
You shouldn’t need to mow your lawn until winter ends, so you can focus on giving it the right amount of water to put down roots, and should avoid walking on it on the coldest days when the individual blades of grass are frozen.
See our lawn care calendar for a year-round guide to protecting your turf.
There are a few different ways to cover flowerbeds for frost protection and other purposes, and to help any spring-flowering bulbs you planted in the autumn months.
Once you’ve removed any dead growth from the end of summer, you can add a layer of compost to help fertilise your topsoil and provide those bulbs with nutrients.
But insulating layers like hay or leaves should not be added until the weather gets cold, to avoid your flowerbeds becoming home to mice and other unwelcome visitors.
The counterpoint to the above is wildlife like hedgehogs, which also need somewhere cosy to hibernate during winter. An undisturbed heap of leaves in a quiet corner of your garden is the perfect place.
You can also hang birdfeeders or, if you already have them up, fill them with winter foods like fat balls and suet pellets, which will help the birds to stay warm along with the usual nuts and seeds.
It’s a good idea to have some fresh, unfrozen water in your garden for all kinds of wildlife, so remember to check and replace this if it freezes solid in a cold snap.
There are plenty more tasks to take care of, such as checking wooden structures like fences, sheds and picnic tables for rot and wind damage.
But one that’s easy to overlook is protecting pots and planters against cold weather. Planters that cannot be moved should be covered with fleece or even old carpet, to insulate against freezing temperatures.
Terracotta pots that can be moved should be placed indoors in a shed, greenhouse or even inside your house, so if temperatures drop below zero outside, they will not crack due to the freeze-thaw effect or expansion of the soil in the pot.