The autumn winds have picked up this week in the UK and it’s been quite blustery, although there is still some lovely warmth from the low-hanging winter sun that occasionally manages to peak through. With that said, you might be looking wistfully at your garden that you’ve spent much of the summer enjoying and relaxing in, longing to get back out and soak up the late summer warmth before the winter chill cuts through. It doesn’t need to be this way, however, there’s still time left to winterize your garden and make it somewhere nice to relax in, even during the chilly months. Here are some pointers on making your garden habitable, even on those damp and dark winter days.
Shelter Against the Wind
A shelter is going to be necessary to protect yourself from the increasing winds and icy rain, summer gazebos are cheaper towards the end of summer, with a few models often reduced to clear the stock before the Christmas stuff starts to sneak onto the shelves. If you decide to invest in a gazebo, make sure it’s rated waterproof, otherwise you might end up unexpectantly wet from a sudden rain shower. Alternative shelter options include; a wooden shelter (or shed makes for a nice cheap alternative), retractable awning, marque (waterproof rated) or a greenhouse. Not worried about the appearance of your shelter? Get down to your local beer garden and ask if they have any pub umbrellas going spare after summer, most pubs will get new brollies in the Spring and they are good for staying dry.
While some people don’t feel the cold and others are happy to wrap up in a few extra layers, there are those that do feel the cold and will find the idea of sitting outside unbearable. If you are hoping to use your garden in the winter, you’ll want to consider investing in something to keep you warm. Whether this is a good quality winter coat, a warming pair of thermals and a cosy pair of gloves or something that produces warmth like a gas patio heater, firepit or electric garden heater.
*Safety note* Never use any fuel burning appliance in an enclosed space without sufficient ventilation. If you are planning to build a dedicated garden room (like a shed, greenhouse or walled shelter) it’s advised that any appliance that uses combustion as the method to generate heat is professionally installed by a qualified engineer. This is to prevent fuel burning inefficiently and producing Carbon Monoxide, a tasteless, non-smelling, invisible gas that can cause CO Poisoning and can lead to sickness or worse. Electric heaters, electric fan heaters and solar panel heating are recommended for use in enclosed spaces as there is no combustion required, although always check the manufacturers instructions before use.
Stop Dirt in its Tracks
If you’ve got pets or kids who love to burn off steam in the garden, you’ll likely dreading the autumn and winter months for the dirt, leaves and general mess that tends to get dragged in to your home after a jaunt outside to play. While of course, you could pave over the garden and turn it into a terrace, that takes away from the aesthetics that a well-maintained garden offers. Alternative options for reducing the mess include laying artificial turf or creating a small enclosed area outside the door to safely stow away mucky shoes and a towel for cleaning muddy paws. Artificial grass is perfect for dogs and children for its durability and low-maintenance requirements and still maintains the lush, green appearance of a looked after garden. Another potential option is to aerate the ground with a garden fork or dedicated lawn aerator, as this loosens up the ground, allowing water to drain away more freely, however, the mud will still get churned up slightly under regular heavy use.
The joys of a having a garden don’t have to just be for the Spring and Summer, with a bit of proactive preparing and a small investment, you can have your garden friendly for year-round use and even make it warm and cosy for those dark winter evenings. Do you get any use from your garden over the Autumn and Winter months and do you have any tricks for avoiding muddy tracks and leafy messes?