Don’t leave it too late

Social distancing needn’t stop you getting outside and enjoying your garden. There are lots of things you can do now (while the weather is still very pleasant) to prepare for the colder weather to come. 

It’s called fall for a reason 

Raking up leaves is a great way to exercise while you can’t go to the gym. You can also make it into a game for your kids (and they can collect the most colourful ones for making pictures). 

Regular raking will save you time on cleaning your pool, although you should still clear the filters and backwash regularly. Add fallen leaves to your compost bin so that you can make your soil richer. 

If you have a pond or water feature, give it a thorough clean now (including servicing the pumps) – these jobs will be much less fun if you leave them until winter! 

Look after your lawn 

It’s important to give your lawn some TLC at this time of year – give it a good trim to encourage one last burst of growth and be generous with the lawn feed if you want a lush, green lawn right through autumn. 

Keep your garden gorgeous 

If you have shrubs or bushes that are susceptible to frost damage, look out for frost covers to wrap them up and keep them snug as a bug in a rug. Speaking of bugs, as the weather gets cooler, there’ll be fewer insect pests to worry about – but watch out for ants trying to move indoors with you! 

Being stuck indoors is much more enjoyable if you can look out of the window and see a glorious display of winter blooms. It’s easy to achieve a big frieze (see what we did there?) if you start sowing now or planting out seedlings. Think pansies, violas, Namaqualand daisies and petunias. Again, get your kids involved – watching plants grow is a brilliant practical home-schooling lesson. 

During cooler, drier weather, you can protect the roots of plants with a thick layer of mulch – this will prevent frost damage if it gets really cold overnight. 

As the weather gets cooler, most plants will need less water (and more water will be retained in the soil). That means you can change the settings on your irrigation (or spend less time missioning with a watering can). Reducing the amount you water will avoid roots getting waterlogged, and also save you money on your bills. 

Fresh air is just a few steps away 

Perhaps most importantly of all, autumn is a great time to simply enjoy spending time in your outdoor space. Feel the crispness in the air and the sun on your face or grab a book or a glass of wine and relax on a sunny afternoon. Once winter begins, you’ll naturally be spending more time indoors, so now’s the time to make the most of your garden – especially if you’re not going out and about as much as you’re used to. 

Garden games like pétanque or croquet are a brilliant way to help everyone burn off pent-up energy – the winner gets to have a day off raking up leaves! 

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