My garden is definitely looking very much like an autumn garden now; the leaves are starting to fall, the apple tree is weighed down with fruit, and most of the plants are dying back after a summer of flowering. Things are gradually slowing down, and that change of pace brings with it opportunity.
With relatively mild weather and less garden maintenance required, autumn is a brilliant time of year to tackle new projects in the garden. Here are some ideas for autumn garden projects to make your outdoor space even better next year.
Look after your lawn
Heavy use and dry weather during summer can leave lawns looking worse for wear. Give yours some attention before the colder weather stops the grass growing, and it will be off to a flying start in spring.
A good raking session that removes dead grass, moss and leaves will give new shoots room to grow, and allow water to sink in better. If you’ve got areas of lawn that have been compacted by lots of traffic, loosen the ground up by using a garden fork to make holes at regular intervals. Finish off by feeding your lawn with an autumn lawn fertiliser; these have high levels of potash and phosphates to encourage strong roots, which is what you need for next year’s growth.
If you have bare patches in your lawn, early to mid autumn is also a good time to sow new grass seed.
Re-think your patio
A patio area can transform how much you use your garden, providing additional space to entertain, spend some family time, or just relax and enjoy the view. Autumn is a great time to install a patio or replace your paving; because you’re not using the garden as much, the disruption is easier to manage.
When choosing paving, think about the effect you’d like to achieve; do you want a sleek, contemporary feel or a more rustic finish, for example? Easypave have some nice ideas and a wide range of styles, including the compact circular pattern above which would be great for a small garden or sunny corner.
As your garden’s plants finish flowering, it’s the perfect time to harvest seeds and make yourself lots of new plants for free. Keep an eye on the plants you’re going to harvest seeds from, and move in when it looks like the seeds are starting to scatter; any earlier and they won’t be ripe, any later and they’ll be gone!
Collect seeds when the weather is dry, snipping off the seedheads and popping them into paper bags (not plastic – you need to keep them dry), before storing them somewhere dry and cool until you’re ready to plant them.
Plant spring bulbs
Spring flowering bulbs are fantastic for giving your garden a lift before the other plants get going, and autumn is the time to plant them. Daffodils, crocus, hyacinths and tulips are all popular options; plant them throughout your borders for a natural effect, or go for it and plant en masse to create real impact. It’s also worth potting up a bulb lasagne, which is a container layered with bulbs that flower at different times; this is a brilliant way to get a long display of flowers for minimal effort.
Take stock of your garden
In autumn lots of plants slow down their growth and begin moving into a dormant phase, when they stop growing until the weather warms up again. Before this process is complete, you’ve got a great opportunity to take a step back and look at your garden as a whole. Make a note of any gaps in borders that you’d like to fill next year, areas that need a complete overhaul, and maintenance jobs required on things like sheds, fences and walls. You can then spend the winter months finding inspiration, choosing new plants, and ticking those maintenance jobs off the list, which means you’ll be ready to enjoy your garden when spring arrives.
I hope you’re feeling inspired to get outdoors and enjoy some autumn garden projects – let me know what you’re up to in the comments.