The colder months are approaching and this means getting your garden and home-prepared accordingly. The garden particularly has been hard at work throughout the summer, but getting ready for autumn and winter isn’t necessarily that difficult, and these jobs can easily be done yourself
Autumn is the ideal time of the year to trim your garden into shape and prepare the home in general. Spring and summer are when your garden is most busy, tending to wildlife, growing wildly, and flourishing into its best version of itself. But now it’s time to unwind and tidy-up your garden for the coming months, as well as ensure your home is prepared internally, for the colder times ahead.
Gutters easily gather moss, leaves and twigs, and they’ve probably been abandoned somewhat through summer, so now’s the time to clean them. Fix any broken guttering ready for the colder months ahead. Because blockages and leaks can cause water to drip, and possibly run down the side of your house’s external masonry, the internal walls can become damp if moisture is drawn through.
When it’s raining, gutters will ultimately need to dump the water they’re carrying, and that will be down into the drains, so it’s important to make sure the drains are cleared of any leaves, grass cuttings, or any other garden debris that has found its way in there. This will prevent rainwater from collecting where it shouldn’t and causing damage or inconvenience.
Checking for gaps around windows and doors is easy and can save you a significant amount of money on your energy bill, so it’s a worthwhile task to carry out. Loft hatches and around pipework are also areas where cold air from outside can get through. If the pipework runs through an external wall, it can be filled with a silicone sealant or expanding polyurethane foam. Self-adhesive foam tape can easily fit around windows, and a plastic or metal strip with a brush or wiper attached is better for doors or loft hatches.
Let’s be honest – your BBQ’s had a good run this summer, but it’s time now to give it a deep clean and store it away or cover it up for the colder months ahead. Ashes and spent charcoal should all be disposed of. All garden furniture should be cleaned down too, and now’s the time to spot-clean stains on cushions, before storing it all in a dry place until next spring.
While the weather’s mild, now is the best time of the year to prune your plants. Cutting your shrubs to about a quarter of their original size is the general recommendation, and don’t forget to thin out the congested stems to improve air circulation. Berries and perennials, in particular, will benefit from a cutback, as will plants like lavender and rosemary that don’t handle pruning well in the winter.
Speaking of perennials now’s the time to tidy them up – geraniums and astrantias in particular. A great tip is to remove any collapsed stems or dying leaves, either by cutting from their bases with some pruning clippers or by gently hand-pulling them out. After you’ve done this, make sure to get rid of any remaining weeds, then spread some compost over the soil to give your plants a boost, leaving worms to do the rest of the work over the winter.
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