Prep your outdoor space now and get ready for colder weather ahead. Then, stay warm by the fire pit.
Our gardens signal us when it’s time to prep outdoor spaces for cold weather ahead. Leaves take on autumnal colors, annuals and perennials turn brown and the last of the garden harvest is ready to bring in.
It’s tempting to take a break from gardening. But it’s smart to prep your outdoor space because it will be easier and faster to plant again next spring.
Prepping your garden and lawn helps keep them healthy, while pruning dead or diseased trees helps keep your outdoor space safe from falling branches.
7 Ways to Clean Up Your Outdoor Space
- Remove. Once your plants have died or succumbed to the cold, take up their supports. If the stakes, cages and trellises are still in good shape, pull off any clinging foliage and store them away. Remember, you can leave the dead foliage of sunflowers, Black-eyed Susans and purple coneflowers so any overwintering or birds passing through can stop by and snack.
- Prune. Remember to prune any dead or diseased tree branches or shrubs to keep them healthy. After the first frost, prune and mulch most perennials for the winter. Some perennials, such as coral bells, butterfly weed and mums, are better left unpruned, so their foliage can help protect their crowns.
- Rake. Rake your garden to remove leaves and plant debris, including any unusable fruits and vegetables. Pull or dig old stems and roots. If you see any bugs or disease, don’t add the debris to the compost pile, where problems can overwinter and spread.
- Mulch. Instead of bagging all your leaves for the trash collector, pile some in an out-of-the-way spot. Eventually they’ll form leaf mold, a valuable garden amendment. You can also shred crunchy, dry leaves with a lawn mower across your lawn and spread them around the garden for a super easy mulch that keeps plants warm in winter. No lawn leaves? Just use bagged mulch and spread it around for a layer of insulation around your garden, shrubs and trees.
- Dig. Using a garden trowel, dig and remove tender bulbs, then store them in paper bags in a dark, dry spot until spring. Some tender plants can be dug, too, and will survive in a sunny window until they can be replanted outside.
- Extend. Use a cold frame or floating row covers to extend any crops that are still producing.
- Aerate. Improve drainage in your lawn with core aeration in fall. In areas that experience snow, aeration helps cut down on ice build-up on your lawn during winter. You can always rent an aerator if needed. Also remember to level any low spots so water won’t stand in pools when the ice and snow melt.
Stay Warm by the Fire
When your outdoor space looks pristine, you’ll want to spend chilly nights by a fire feature, such as a fire pit, outdoor fireplace, patio heater or other outdoor heating option. You’ll stay cozy and warm while entertaining outdoors or dining al fresco.
There are plenty of heating options available for your patio, porch, deck or balcony that will keep you comfortable under the stars and extend the season and time spent outdoors.
Get ideas for staying warm in colder weather.