Fall and winter bring cozy mornings, chilly evenings, and lots of cheer and excitement for the holidays. The dry summer heat has faded away, leaves are falling, and autumn and winter decorations are appearing in homes and gardens. When the seasons change, so should your landscape care and maintenance.
It’s a common misconception that you should wait until spring before you start thinking about landscaping. In fact, there’s a lot you can do to your outdoor spaces to keep them looking cheery and beautiful for the fall and winter, and to prepare them for new growth in the spring!
Here’s what should be on your fall and winter landscaping to-do list!
Test the Soil
To grow and maintain healthy grass and plants, you need healthy soil. Unfortunately, soil tests are often overlooked by both homeowners and professional landscapers. Fall is a great time to perform a soil test for pH and nutrient levels. That’s because it gives you enough time before spring rolls around to react and make any necessary changes.
Bring Tropical Plants Inside
Any tropicals and houseplants you have outside should be brought indoors, as they won’t survive the winter weather. However, it’s a good idea to minimize any shock to tropical plants by first moving them to a partial-sun porch for a couple of weeks so they can slowly adjust to getting less natural light than they’re used to. Then bring them inside until spring or early summer.
Rake Up Leaves & Think About Using Them for Mulch
You should remove the autumn leaves that have fallen on your lawn. That’s because any leaves that sit on top of your grass can prevent the lawn from getting the sunlight it needs to survive and thrive. You can simply rake up all the leaves and dump them in your yard debris bin. Alternatively, you can decompose them in a composting bin and then thinly spread the composted leaves over the lawn to add healthy nutrients.
Garden beds are a bit of a different story. You can choose not to remove leaves that have fallen into your garden beds, assuming they’re not so thick that bulbs and perennials can’t push through when spring rolls around. However, many homeowners still prefer to remove leaves from their garden beds as well.
Reseed the Lawn
Autumn is the ideal time to reseed dry and stressed summer lawns. For the best results, a general rule of thumb is to use 3-4 pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet if you’re planting any new grass. If you’re only reseeding, 1-2 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet should do the trick.
Turn & Add Mulch in Garden Beds
It’s a good idea to mix and turn your garden-bed mulch at least once or twice per season. This is to break up any clustered pieces and clumps. You can turn your mulch pretty easily with a rake and a pair of gloves. In addition to turning and maintaining, you’ll want to add new mulch once every 1-3 years as the old stuff decomposes to maintain a thick and healthy layer.
Perennial plants grow back each and every spring. Dividing a single perennial (splitting it into multiple plants) helps them thrive by allowing more space for roots to absorb nutrients and grow. It also means you’ll have more plants to add to your garden!
Fall and early winter represent the best time to divide perennials. Here’s what you should do:
- Using a spade or fork, dig up the parent plant.
- Gently lift the plant and the soil around its roots out of the ground.
- Divide the plant into smaller pieces by a) gently teasing the roots apart with your fingers or b) cutting through the roots with a sharp knife.
- Make sure each individual division has a healthy quantity of roots.
- Keep the divisions in a shaded, moist environment until it’s time to replant.
Give Hardscapes a Refresh
Removing excess debris from any hardscapes in your outdoor spaces helps keep your fall and winter landscaping looking fresh. A single power wash in the autumn can go a long way! If you have any cracks in your patios, driveways, pathways, or paving stones, it’s also a good idea to fill them and apply a sealant before freezing temperatures hit.
Add Landscape Lighting to Brighten Up the Winter
You can elevate the appearance of your landscaping, highlight architectural features, and improve safety and security year round by installing landscape lighting. Adding lighting to your outdoor spaces before the darkest, coldest months arrive can brighten up the season and ensure your landscape and property look cheery and beautiful during the holiday season and beyond.
Store Landscaping Equipment Properly
Taking the time to clean and store lawn and garden tools, hoses, and sprinklers will extend their longevity and improve their effectiveness when spring arrives. Keep them in a dry environment like a well-sealed shed or garage, preferably up off the cold ground. Also remember to empty, clean, and winterize your irrigation lines to prevent water from freezing and causing damage.
Plan Ahead for Spring!
Now is the perfect time to think ahead and plan your spring and summer garden! Working with a professional to create a comprehensive landscape design is the perfect way to ensure you include all the features you want and create a result that looks beautiful, sustains the local environment, and lasts through the summer and spring and for years to come.
Blessing Landscapes: A Different Kind of Landscaping Company
At Blessing Landscapes, we’re all about helping you achieve a beautiful, sustainable landscape throughout every season. We do more than just design and install landscapes. We take the time that’s needed to truly understand your unique property, preferences, lifestyle, and goals. Our process is designed to provide a smooth experience and make sure you understand your existing landscape and all your options. We offer the full range of landscaping services, including:
- Landscape Design
- Landscape Maintenance
- Water Features
- Drainage Services
- Lawns & Gardens
- Synthetic Lawns
- Outdoor Living Spaces
Ready to get started? Call us at (503) 284-3557 or contact us online and tell us how we can help!