Nov 11, 2017

Winter-Proof Your Yard

As the characters on Game of Thrones are fond of saying, “Winter is coming!” Luckily, in the real world, as the last leaves of autumn fall to the ground, they don’t bring an invading army of the undead – just frost, snow and long, dark nights.
Even so, these can cause considerable damage to an unprepared yard. It’s important therefore that you take a few simple precautions now to protect your yard. Follow these simple tips, and you can emerge next spring into a yard that is ready to be enjoyed straight away.

Save those leaves!

Raking leaves is a pain, right? Unfortunately, I don’t have any tips to make that less so, but I can give you a cool tip to put all these pesky leaves to good use – make some leaf mould.

Simply rake up the leaves and either put them into a bin made of wire in the corner of the yard, or otherwise put them into a black bag with some breathing holes, sprinkle with water and chuck behind the shed. In two years or so, you will have a bag of wonderful crumbly organic matter ready to dig into and seriously improve your borders and flower beds.

Hire a professional to prep the decking

If you have decking in your garden and you want it to stay looking its best for next summer’s BBQ season, you really need to protect it over winter. The cold, damp conditions over the winter months are the perfect environment to encourage the growth of moulds and fungi that can attack – and seriously damage – the wood of your decking.

If you want long lasting results then this is one area where it can be an advantage to hire in a decking professional. For one thing, the industrial chemicals and anti-fungicides they can treat your wood with are simply that much stronger and longer lasting than anything you can get from the DIY store. 

Lawn TLC

This can be a great time to do some maintenance on your lawn, as over the winter it will have months of less intensive use to slowly repair itself.

Tackle any moss problems now – remove small patches carefully with a fork and chuck it onto the compost heap. Any large scale moss growth can safely be tackled with a moss-killing chemical now that the lawn will not be in daily use.
Any areas that have been compacted by hard use should have drainage and aeration holes created by pushing a fork all the way down every 10 to 15cm.
This is also a great time to lay down any new strips of turf to replace any damaged lawn. It will now have months to bed in properly before summer, and most grasses will happily grow during autumn and most of winter.

Maintain the Equipment

 Finally, this is a great time to give your tools and garden equipment a bit of TLC before it is stored away for the winter. This could be getting the old lawnmower serviced, including sharpening the blades. Speaking of which, this is a good time to sharpen the blades of things like secateurs or sheers. You can do this yourself – there are plenty of online guides or video tutorials – or you can send them away to expert companies.

The traditional tools of the gardener can also benefit from a little care. So with your forks, spades shovels and other tools, take the time now to carefully clean all of the metal parts, ensuring they are completely dry before you store them. 

Any traditional style tools and equipment with wooden handles can really benefit from a little rubdown with linseed oil before they too enter storage. 

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