How to get your garden ready for winter

Now is the perfect time to tackle key gardening jobs ahead of the winter months to ensure your plot looks its best for winter and feels set for a healthy revival come spring

woman taking her tools down the garden
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As summer fades it may feel like gardens are no longer the priority, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, because now is the ideal time to tackle essential gardening tasks to get set for winter and get ahead for next year.

There's an abundance of tasks, both big and small, that can be done to protect and prepare your garden ahead of the colder months because care and good prep now will ensure you reap the rewards next year. It’s a well known fact that successful spring gardens are nurtured in winter. 

Here are the key jobs to protect, nourish and make the most of your garden all year round...

1. Tend to lawns

Prepare to put your lawn to bed for the winter months, giving it some much-needed TLC before leaving it for the duration of winter when conditions are not good for cutting grass. Give it one last cut for the year but don’t go short, the longer you leave your grass the better it will fair during the cold, damp months ahead. Use your mower on a different setting with the blades set higher than usual to leave the grass longer.

Once you’ve mown the lawn for the last time follow a three-step plan of aerating, scarifying, and fertilizing the freshly-trimmed grass to welcome a lush, thick, and full lawn of fresh green grass when spring comes around. 

2. Clear and collect fallen leaves

As the seasons change the leaves begin to fall, to prevent dense piles from building up it's important to sweep and clear any fallen leaves from lawns, beds, borders, decking, and garden paths. If left, fallen leaves will begin to decompose and threaten the well-being of your garden plants and grass, as well as attracting slugs and pests that will be drawn to the rot. Not to mention the potential danger of slippery wet leaves becoming a slip hazard if left on decking, patios, paths, and other garden walkways. Use a broom and a rake to gather up fallen leaves.

3. Protect vulnerable plants

Not all plants can adapt and thrive during seasonal changes, so it’s important to take the time to protect or move vulnerable plants. The first frost can threaten more tropical plants that fare better in warmer climes, in these instances use a fleece covering to encase the trunk of plants such as banana plants or any younger more susceptible trees and plants. If any of your vulnerable outdoor plants are potted the best solution is to move them indoors, protected from the elements. To save your best garden plants from the harsh contrast of central heating, look to store them in positions that are away from radiators but in areas that receive plenty of natural light. If you have the luxury of a greenhouse this can provide the perfect new home for your outdoor plants during winter, although conservatories and garden rooms are equally ideal.

4. Clean and store summer essentials

Same as you would indoors, have a general tidy around and sort out to put any unneeded garden items to rest for the long winter months. Clean the bbq and put it into storage, take the washing line down, and give your best outdoor garden furniture a deep clean before covering it and putting it away in an outbuilding or garage, safe from whatever the winter weather has in store. Giving your summer garden essentials a deep clean this side of winter means you can be ready to use them as soon as the warmer weather returns next season. 

5. Preserve borders and bed with mulch

Keep your soil healthy and prosperous during the cold weather by adding a layer of mulch as insulation for winter. This natural organic matter is effectively a winter coat for your garden beds and borders, helping to retain heat from the ground to keep your soil warmer during the cold spells of winter. A top layer also helps protect roots from winter cold and stop soil from being washed away - as well as keeping weeds at bay to ensure better soil health.

Tamara Kelly
Lifestyle Editor

Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 19 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of, she has spent the last 16 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.

With a keen eye for the latest interior trends, there's not a lot she doesn't know about home decor – whether it’s what colour we should be painting our living rooms next season, or if the latest 'must-have' buys are actually worth investing in.

A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interiors trend events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.