1. Paving, tiles & Decking:
- Clear away fallen leaves and bits of old plants.
- Deep clean with a pressure washer – but don’t point directly at any times to avoid damaging the finish, at any softwoods (e.g. decking) to avoid breaking the surface and if your decking is soft, use a cleaner and a strong brush.
- This should keep everything clean and, more importantly, stops surfaces getting grimy and slippery.
2. Plant beds:
- Remove weeds and give your shrubs and perennials a prune. Prune and shape hedges and remove dead flower heads. It’s a pain and I know it get’s dark early but the slower winter growth will reward you for longer!
- Tip: put bark chipping down over the newly cleared beds. They’re every garden’s best friend protecting plants from frost, helping to fertilise the soil and feeding plants. They also suppress weed growth and help retain water – like a superfood for your soil!
- If you have a living lawn its time for the last one or two cuts.
Scarify: it sounds technical but in reality this is really easy and a quick win to improve its overall health. Simply rake up the dead grass blades and plant matter that have accumulated at the lawns roots over the summer; it gives new blades room to grow. It’s also good for your lower back and forearms too!
- Aerating a lawn can be done simply with the use of a good garden fork to poke lots of holes throughout the lawn surface. Mind your toes though!
- If you have an artificial lawn, things are a little simpler you cheat! Sweep or vacuum up the leaves as they gather so the grass doesn’t get slimy. If you really need a bigger clean up then just give it a blast with a pressure washer but remember to stay away from any softwood borders!
- Santa may be just around the corner but it’s still a great time to plant many of the most interesting and popular bulbs for flushes of colour early next year.
- Do check the types of plants you’re picking beforehand just to make sure they’re either spring flowering of hardy summer flowering.
- Tip: if in doubt just check the packets, they normally have ideal planting times printed on them. Even if you’re planning on redesigning the garden next year why not pop in a few interesting things to welcome in the spring next year?
5. Watering Systems
- Even though London Winters are usually mild in comparison to the rest of the country, we do need to be a little careful with watering systems. Before the first frosts come remove your water timer from the tap – they generally aren’t designed to cope with any internal freezing.
- Remove and either discard the battery – or better still, keep it for something else like the remote control – but don’t use it again for the water timer.
- Next year install a fresh battery so you don’t get an unpleasant surprise next summer holiday when the battery’s gone flat and you return to a withered garden.
- Finally, leave the watering pipes disconnected so any freezing water has room to expand without stressing the pipes.
With a little help every garden can be a gorgeous garden.