From covering ponds to planting evergreens, Outdoors specialists GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk have revealed their top tips for preparing and protecting UK gardens during the colder months.
Their handy hints for getting backyards ready for the worst of the weather include undertaking necessary maintenance, general tidying and a bit of tender loving care.
A spokesman from GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk said: “Many UK gardeners neglect their outdoor patch during the winter because they think it’s only possible to help their gardens during spring, summer and autumn.
“The bad weather might be unavoidable, but there are so many ways green-fingered Brits can prepare and protect their garden for the colder months.”
1 Sort out the bedding
Dig up and replace any dead plants in garden flower bed, cut back any perennials and spread out a strong layer of organic fertiliser, manure or mulch (this can be bark, grass clippings, dry leaves or even old newspaper).
2 Plant Evergreens
Green-fingered Brits can brighten up dull winter gardens with colourful and hardy varieties of year-round plants – great choices include heather, primulas and witch hazel.
3 Remove vulnerable species
Gently dig up any tender plants or bulbs that would be susceptible to frost damage (along with the top soil), trim the stems and find them a more suitable place to spend the winter – such as in a box on a cool indoor window sill.
4 Take extra precautions
If hanging baskets and potted plants can be moved into a less exposed porch, patio or conservatory, take the opportunity during the winter; also wrap burlap, tarpaulin or fabric around any delicate tree trunks or shrubs.
5 Clean up
Remove any rubble or debris, collect any personal rubbish or diseased foliage, and clear away any disused or broken items from your garden – it’s not complicated.
6 Clear the gutters
Regularly clear fallen leaves from gutters and drains around the outside of the house and any outbuildings, to prevent any inconvenient blockages – those with lots of trees should consider investing in a wire cover.
7 Hoard grit
Tossing salt on icy paths and patios might do, but the best prepared British gardeners will get their hands on a bag of product especially designed to save them from slipping this winter.
8 Don’t forget to water
The icy cold outside won’t necessarily mean wet weather every week, so if a few days pass without any rainfall, it is still important to give the garden a once over with a hose or can, just as in summer.
9 Remove soft furnishings
Cushions, sun loungers, picnic blankets and other summer essentials should be stored away for the winter in sheds, lofts or cellars, along with weak plastic garden ware and metal items that may be vulnerable to winter rusting.
10 Rake the lawn
Get rid of any moss or thatch on the garden grass with a good old-fashioned rake and use the prongs to aid drainage and ventilation – this will help the lawn establish firm roots over the winter.
11 Stock the shed
Gardens exposed to the worst of the winter weather need all the help they can get, so it is vital to ensure all tools in the shed are capable of doing their jobs – service, sharpen or swap any that aren’t up to scratch.
12 Clean water butts
Any tanks collecting water for plants should be emptied and cleaned before the height of winter, allowing plenty of time for natural rainwater to collect before it is needed in the spring.
13 Refresh the compost
Autumn tidying will generate plenty of organic waste on compost heaps, so winter is the perfect time to spread it around the garden and start afresh for the new year.
14 Cover ponds
Place a thin mesh net or tarpaulin over ponds and any other standing water, such as in features, to avoid problems with putrefying leaves – they can then be easily collected from on top of the material and composted.
15 Take care of wood
Fix any loose screws or edges on fences, decking or wooden garden structures in advance of the worst of the weather and paint or spray wooden surfaces with an appropriate wood preservative product.
16 Let the sun in the shed/greenhouse
Use hot water and muscle power to remove shade paint from greenhouse or shed windows, to allow as many of the suns warming rays through as possible this winter.
17 Be kind to birds/wildlife
Non-migratory birds are especially vulnerable during the colder months, so it is vital for big-hearted Brits to leave well stocked feeders and water baths around their winter gardens. Don’t forget the hedgehogs, too.
18 Watch the waterworks
Any outside taps should be isolated and drained, or if this is impossible, then insulated and covered, to reduce the likelihood of burst pipes or other damage in freezing weather.
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