Autumn Gardening Ideas, Tips & Jobs
The blustery weather is here, so it's time for some autumnal gardening ideas to enjoy the new season and prepare for the winter to come. Here are some autumn gardening tasks for you to do in October and November to make use of your garden for longer. Plus, some simple things to do now to plan for the wilder weather to come.
Autumn Gardening Ideas & Tasks
A season of change, autumn is known for its beautiful colours, the end of the harvest and hunkering down after summer. We've put together some essential tasks, ideas and tips for the autumn garden.
Our first port of call is to look after any plants in the garden and prepare any for the cold season.
Weeding should be done consistently throughout the autumn months. You'll thank yourself in spring when you have less to do. Ensure you pull up any perennial weeds by the full route to stop them from coming back completely. Ground cover can be hoed off but these weeds should also be collected and composted as the wetter weather may allow them to re-root if left on the surface.
Move houseplants and delicate plants indoors or into greenhouses where they will be protected from wind and excessive rain. For any plants that will remain in the ground but are susceptible to frosts, cover with fleece or cloches to keep them warm. A good quality, thick mulch around the base of a plant can act as a blanket for the soil and provide nutrients throughout winter.
In The Vegetable Garden
The final harvest is important to gather in. Any summer veg that has not quite ripened or isn't as big as you expected should be picked and preserved or eaten. If you leave veg on the plant hoping for some extra growth, you are more likely going to invite pests and diseases into the garden. Pull up any old plants and compost them if they don't have any diseases.
But, just because it's autumn doesn't mean you can't grow anything. Lettuces, spinach, chard and other leafy greens do well in these mild months. Plus, if you grow them in cold frames you can extend the season for longer. Autumn planted garlic and onions should be done before the first frosts come. Additionally, brassicas like spring cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli that have been established in pots can be planted into position now to establish themselves before the winter winds. Check out the RHS guide on winter veg growing for more advice.
Decorative Gardening Ideas
If the rain is bucketing it down, you may not feel inclined to step outside. But your garden can still be enjoyed long into the winter months with a few decorative features. Pergolas, awnings and shelters add a perfect place to sit out while remaining dry. They can be decorated with paint, bunting or signs to create a cosy place to rest in the garden. Adding in lighting, a heating source and comfortable furniture will ensure it gets used all the way through to December.
For those who like to change their landscape with the season, opt for planting arrangements that show off the best of autumnal colours. Select plants with autumnal hued foliage or petals, or choose containers and pots that reflect them instead. We have some more decorative ideas in our article on making your garden a little spooky for Halloween. But, we've also included lots of contemporary design ideas for those who aren't big on this holiday. Furthermore, we have lots more advice on how to enjoy your garden in the rain here.
Protecting Garden Fencing & Furniture
One important task for the garden at this time of year is preparing and protecting from the elements.
While we encourage everyone to use their garden for as long as possible, we know it's not always feasible. If you don't have a covered seating area, this is the time to clean your furniture down and store it undercover or in outbuildings. Ensure that any debris is wiped off, polished and dried thoroughly before storage. For wooden furniture, this could also be your last opportunity to stain, varnish or oil it in a dry environment.
For garden fencing, you should inspect it for damage before the winter months. Ensure that any broken parts or insecure fastenings are fixed to protect the fence from wind damage. As with furnishings, this is also a good time to restain, oil or varnish your panels. Check the weather for a dry, bright and/or windy day without rain and get to work. This will ensure that your fencing is properly protected before the cold and rain set in.
Storage & Tidying
Last, but not least, it's time to give a general tidy around the garden. We've talked about furniture storage but it's also important to store anything else you won't be using in the winter months to keep them in tip-top condition. The BBQ, tools, the hose and any other summer equipment should be cleaned, oiled if necessary, and stored somewhere safe and dry. Autumn is also when the trees start dropping their leaves, so put a routine in place to collect any of these and create leaf mulch if you have the space. It's a great addition to your soil over winter and will give your plants the boost they need when it comes to spring planting.
More Garden Ideas
We hope you've found some gardening inspiration. If you are looking for more ideas and tips for garden design, fencing care and plant maintenance, check out our blog.