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Winter-proof your garden

With winter on its way, you have probably taken steps to maintain your home and protect it against the worst the weather can do. You might be thinking that the garden can take care of itself.

Whether you are a homeowner or a landlord of let property, however, it pays to spend that little extra time giving the garden an adequate level of protection, too. A well-maintained garden after all invariably adds value to your property.

So, here are some tips culled from a variety of authoritative sources:

Shelter

  • although some of the work will have been determined by the planning that went into the positioning of plants and shrubs, extra protection can be provided by wrapping the more vulnerable in horticultural fleece;

Water

  • the more plants you have in your garden the better – they help to mop up all that excess rain;
  • once again, advance planning in your planting may help to determine areas which are likely to remain wetter than others – so, for those parts of your garden choose water-loving plants such as lilies, hydrangeas, and luxurious ferns;

Lawns

  • that low-maintenance lawn you hoped might take some of the work out of gardening might as easily turn into an unsightly quagmire after a downpour or two;
  • serious waterlogging might call for the lawn to be completely re-laid when spring comes around, but a temporary remedy might be found in spiking it well to ensure as good a drainage as possible;

Raised beds

  • if other areas of your garden regularly become water-logged, you might consider building raised beds to keep plants and shrubs above the waterline;
  • these are easier to control when winter is doing its worst and also help to maximise the space and planting opportunities in your garden – just make sure to keep them topped-up with good quality soil;

Debris

  • wind, rain, ice and snow are all likely to increase the amount of general debris strewn across your garden;
  • this needs to be cleared away not only for appearances sake but also to keep planted areas healthy and paths and walkways accessible;
  • fallen leaves and other compostable material may be kept until spring, when you can re-apply it as fertilizer for planted areas;

Wildlife

  • play your part in maintaining what is a mini-ecosystem in your garden – including both its flora and fauna;
  • birds are likely to be among the most frequent visitors to your garden, so put up feeders for them and ensure they have enough water not only to drink but also to bathe in;
  • you might be surprised by how many other animals make use of any ponds or water features in your garden, so, keep them from freezing over.

Time spent winter-proofing your garden is likely to prove more than worthwhile. Protecting what is already established means that there is less work to do come the springtime and you may take comfort in the fact that the maintenance you do now helps protect the value of your home or let property.

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