Best Autumn gardening tips to prepare for winter

As the nights start to draw in, and those final rays of late summer sunshine fade away, it’s time to give your garden a thorough tidy up before winter sets in. Autumn is the perfect opportunity to get rid of all the dead vegetation left over from the summer months, while tidying borders and clearing out gutters is essential as we get ready for the onset of those rainy, windy days.

Josh Novell, director of Polhill Garden Centre in Kent, shares his top autumn gardening tips to prepare for winter.

Autumn clean up

Grab that rake, broom and gloves, and start sweeping out plant debris and disposing of waste on your lawn, bedding and greenhouse. Cleaning the debris from your garden will help brighten up the area, which will make your garden look fresh and prepared for winter.

Tidy borders

Now is a great time to start doing the hard work: dig up those annuals and plant your beds with pansies and wallflowers to ensure a vibrant display next spring.

Cut back faded perennials to 5cm above ground level, but don’t worry about making them too tidy – attractive seed heads are great for insects and look wonderful when covered in autumn dew.

Spreading compost, bark or manure across your borders will ensure your plants have the nutrients they need for winter.

Treat your lawn

Remove moss and mulch with your rake, and add them to a compost heap – use moss killer first if you’ve got a lot on your lawn. Then, brush in a sandy top dressing followed by autumn lawn feed, to keep the grass healthy and strong throughout the winter months.

Plant evergreens

Fill in gaps in your borders with evergreens such as Azaleas and Rhododendrons. Both shrubs will add a splash of vibrant colour to your garden. Or opt for Skimmias, whose evergreen leaves provide contrast to their fragrant white flowers in April and May, and long-lasting winter berries.

Clear out compost bins

Autumn is the ideal time to clear out old compost and use it around the garden, making room for this year’s waste. If the compost isn’t quite ready, turn it to improve decomposition and create a new heap next to it for fresh organic matter.

Prevent pond debris

Decomposing leaves can turn your pond water foul and block filters on pumps. To prevent this happening, spread a fine-meshed net across the pond and pin it down with something sturdy, such as bricks or heavy stones.

You can then easily remove any leaves on the mesh and add them to your leaf mould or compost heap.

All these tips will help to spruce up your garden throughout the autumn period, while making sure it’s ready for the colder, wetter weather winter brings, ready to bloom again next spring.