Tidying the garden in autumn

Autumn is the ideal time to give your garden a thorough tidy, before the cold weather sets in. As well as clearing fallen leaves, there are lots of other simple tasks that will make a big difference to the look of your garden. It's worth putting in a little extra time and effort, so your garden will look neat and well-tended through the winter months.


Tidy your borders

Remove dying leaves and collapsed stems from herbaceous perennials, either pulling by hand or cutting at the base with secateurs. Leave any stems carrying seedheads for birds to enjoy. Remove weeds, then spread compost over the soil to insulate plant roots.

Collect autumn leaves

While a few piles of leaves in out-of-the-way places can provide shelter for overwintering wildlife, your lawn and borders will look much tidier if you collect and compost as many leaves as you can. Wet leaves can also be slippery underfoot if left on paths and patios. 

Clear away old crops

Clear spent plants on the veg plot before they start to rot and become host to pests and diseases. Compost everything unless it’s diseased. Chop beans and peas off at ground level, leaving their nitrogen-fixing roots in the soil to feed next year’s crops.

Leave your lawn looking trim

Nothing sets off borders better that a neatly cut and edged lawn, so mow for the final time and cut the edges with an edging tool or knife. Set your mower blades higher than usual to leave the grass slightly longer over winter, then cut the edges to redefine their pristine lines.

Put away plant supports

Cut down annual climbers in borders and climbing beans in veg plots and remove the dead stems and foliage from their supports. With canes and other removable wooden supports, wash off any soil then treat them with preservative. Store them indoors over winter. 

Make repairs

Repair damage to raised beds, sheds and compost bins, and paint them with wood preservative. Replace any rotting fence posts, so they don’t get blown down in winter storms. Ensure shed roofs don’t leak, and replace any broken panes or faulty vents in greenhouses.

Clean out nest boxes and feeders

Take down bird boxes and empty them. Old nesting material, unfertilised eggs and other debris may carry diseases, so wash out the boxes with hot water before putting them back. Also remember to clean out feeders and bird baths, and regularly refill them.

Sort out your pond

Scoop out leaves that have blown into your pond, before they sink down and start to rot. Also cut back the foliage of marginal plants that have died down. Remove pond pumps and fountains that are no longer in use. Wash them out thoroughly, then store over winter.


Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Tidying the garden in winter

Repairing lawn patches

Edging a lawn

Related offers


Subscriber only content

Save 15% on bark mulch

With this offer, you'll get a 1000-litre bulk bag of bark mulch for just £107.10, saving 15 per cent - please enter offer code at checkout to claim your discount. Price includes delivery.

Unlock now


Subscriber only content

Save on potted palms

Create that holiday feel on your patio with these exotic Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis). You'll save £19.99 when you buy two potted plants (approx 1.2m tall), plus two free decorative pots, for just £29.99.

Unlock now


Subscriber only content

Claim 50 free* freesias

Freesias are fantastically fragrant and make a wonderful cut flower. Claim a pack of 50 double-flowered freesia bulbs for free - *just pay £5.65 for postage. Also, order any additional plants from Hayloft and pay no extra postage.

Unlock now