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Essential garden jobs for autumn

View Of Garden

Summer is over, but it’s not time to chill just yet!

As the temperature starts to dip and leaves begin to brown, there are a few things you can do in your outdoor space at the beginning of autumn, which should help you save time and money down the line. 

In this blog, you’ll discover what to plant in autumn in the UK so that you can plan ahead and watch your garden thrive again come springtime.

We’ve also compiled some suggestions on jobs you can do to help your outdoor spaces get through the winter in good shape before the shorter days and weather conditions make it much more difficult to maintain your garden, yard, or balcony.

Jump to:

1.    How to look after your lawn 
2.    What to plant in autumn in the UK 
3.    Install a water butt
4.    Prepare perennial herbs for winter
5.    How to care for your tools 

1. How to look after your lawn

Lawn Mower Cutting Grass

Early autumn is the perfect time to give your grass some TLC.  

  • Clear away any fallen leaves and debris, this will allow nutrients and water to get to the roots of your grass.
  • Using a lawn mower, you’ll want to set your mowing height to around 4cm to cut your lawn slightly longer than normal.
  • Don’t forget to neaten the edges of your lawn for a professional finish. Electric tools are available  in most garden centres, hardware or electricals shops and will most likely make your jobs more efficient, however, edging shears and a half-moon edger can also get the task done.

Your grass will continue to grow at a slower pace as the temperature dips, so you won’t need to cut it as regularly after this. 

Scarifying, aerating, and overseeding your lawn at this time of year will do wonders for your garden throughout winter and next spring. 

  • Scarify your lawn with a rake or a scarifier to remove moss and help the soil breathe.
  • Aerate by creating small holes in the soil using a garden fork or aerating shoes.
  • A few days before overseeding, use a pre-seeding feeder. Sow seeds evenly across the patches on the lawn, be sure to follow the scattering instructions on the seeds packet for best results. Water your lawn if no rain has fallen for 3 days. 

It’s also important to prune your plants to encourage new growth for next year. Taking cuttings from plants like roses and hydrangeas and putting them in a vase will also look pretty in any home.  

2. What to plant in autumn in the UK

Planting Bulbs In Soil

Now that your lawn is ready for colder seasons, it’s time to consider what plants you’d like to see bloom next year! 

In the UK, autumn is the peak time to plant bulbs in your border like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Expect to see these plants add colour to your garden come next April and May. 

Opting for snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) means your garden will likely see the first signs of spring in February. 

If you’d like to enjoy the first results of your bulbs as early as Christmas, plant hyacinth bulbs in pots. 

It’s essential that you plant them now as they need months to absorb the nutrients from the soil before you get to see them sprout. 

  • Dig a hole 2-3 times the size of the bulb.
  • Plant your bulbs with the top pointing up. If you’re unsure which side the top is, place it on its side and it should find its own way to the surface.
  • There’s no need to water your bulbs when planting in the autumn as the soil is most likely moist enough already. 

Bonus tip: Avoid planting bulbs individually. Plant them in groups of five or more for best results.  

3. Install a water butt

Water But

Installing a water butt with a rainwater diverter will collect water from the down pipe. 

There’s little risk of overflow as most water butts are designed to divert any excess back down the drain. 

If you’re a renter, make sure you have permission from your landlord or property management company before purchasing any materials. Whether you're renting or a homeowner, it’s best to get your water butt professionally installed as there’s a wealth of hazards that can come along with this job such as height, manual handling and potential risks depending on the material your downpipe is made from. 

Once installed, using a water butt to collect water has many benefits: 

  • You can save money on metered water bills by using stored rainwater to keep both indoor and outdoor plants hydrated in warmer months.
  • Rainwater is full of the nutrients that your plants need.
  • They’re environmentally friendly.
  • They come in useful when there are local hose pipe bans. 

Bonus tip: Clean your water butt at least once a year with gardening disinfectant and hot water to avoid nasty smells. 

4. Prepare perennial herbs for winter

Pruning The Garden

Growing your own herbs is easy, saves you money on food shopping and makes homemade food taste delicious!

Perennial herbs such as rosemary, oregano, and thyme can be planted once and won’t just survive the winter but will thrive for years with a little bit of care.

Autumn is the perfect time to do a final pruning on your herbs. Here are some tips to prepare them for winter in the UK:

  • Cut back weeds and remove dead stems from around the base of the plants.
  • Trim dead flower heads and keep the plants bushy. Make sure you don’t trim too far down as plants need to recover before the temperatures drop. 

By caring for your perennial herbs, you’ll find they act as a great pest deterrent but attract beneficial insects, like honeybees. 

5. How to care for your tools

Wheelbarrow Filled With Garden Tools

Tools can be expensive and if left covered in dirt or outdoors for a while, are a pain to clean.  

Cleaning your gardening tools properly and putting them away correctly after use can save a lot of money, time, and hassle.

Trust us - your future self will thank you for it! 

Here are some general tips to help your tools last: 

  • Spades and shovels can be sprayed with a garden hose and scrubbed with a wire brush to get rid of thick, stubborn dirt.
  • Use a nail brush and soapy water on pruners, loppers, or shears.
  • For lawnmowers, follow the cleaning guide in the user manual and take extra care when cleaning the blades.
  • Sharpen tools at least once a year using a whetstone or file. Most local garden centres also provide this service.
  • Prevent your tools from rusting over the winter period by sanding wooden and metal parts and then treating them with oil.  

Disclaimer: heavy duty or cut resistant gloves should always be worn during this process to avoid any contact with sharp edges. if they don’t feel comfortable selecting the right gloves for this job, visit their local garden centre for advice
Ensure your tools are completely dry before putting them away in a dry, safe place ready for next season.