Autumn is now firmly upon us and it's time to do those outside chores that might not seem obvious but doing them now may save you a lot of hassle (and money) in the long run. Read on for advice and tips on best practise for garden & outdoor furniture maintenance, exterior property maintenance and interior things to do before the winter freeze sets in.
Gardening is great fun but you do need to put in the effort and Autumn isn’t the time to be putting your feet up just yet! There are a few things you can do and should do to ensure your garden and plants are safe and ready for winter, read on below for our recommendations on being the smuggest and most organised garden owner in Bristol!
- Any non-frost hardy shrubs or more tropical plants cover the entire shrub and pot with some bubble wrap or garden fleece sacks, easily available from Amazon or your local garden centre
- Give the lawn a good raking and aerating (poking holes to encourage drainage) with either an aerating scarifier if you have a large lawn or a hand-held trowel for a smaller lawn, you can then also give an autumn feed if you like
- Prune certain plants like roses – November is a good time for this. But also it’s nice to leave some perennials unpruned for wildlife/insects to enjoy as a winter hidey-hole
- Feed the birds if you can, leave out some water and food regularly and crack the ice on any water bowls
- Rake up leaves and add them to a compost pile – leaf mulch makes an amazing compost
- Plant bulbs for a spring display – a good tip not to forget where they are is to plant bulbs then cover the ground around them with a layer of gravel or grit. Eventually, the grit will disappear into the soil but just top it up as needed.
- Plastic & resin – plastic furniture can become discoloured with algae over winter so it’s a good plan to try and cover them with some plastic sheeting or bespoke covers. Give them a nice scrub with warm soapy water so they go away nice and clean and not having any bits/muck already trapped in them.
- Wooden furniture may need treating with a specific oil – now is a great time to do it so no-one gets any on their clothes and the oil can soak in well over winter.
- For metal & cast-iron furniture, you may need to respray them after a while if they are painted. Use a wire brush to get rid of any flakey paint then use a paint spray to get a lovely even finish.
The Outside areas
- Don’t forget to insulate any exterior boiler pipes and outdoor taps to stop them freezing and causing boiler breakdown - a section of foam pipe insulation will do the job and you can buy tap "jackets"
- Clear gutters, downpipes and drains free of debris so if we have lots of snow or rain there won’t be any issues that you have to clear in the December cold weather, plus leaks left untreated can cause serious damage to your property. Check all the pipes are connected properly and free draining as they should.
- Water butts – if you use a water butt then this is the time of year to empty it out and give it a rinse to get rid of any algae, you can get greenhouse disinfectant to do this if you wish.
- Sheds, decking, fences – Check the felt or roof coverings of any outside structures, make sure it’s all fixed down and sound, and check for any loose fence panels or decking and then choose a nice weekend and give them a good stain/treat for winter to prolong their life.
- Cracks – fill in any cracks in garden paths and drives before the frost can make them bigger
Inside the house
- Get a boiler service – it might be a good idea to get your boiler serviced if it’s due/overdue before the cold weather hits and boiler breakdowns are common to identify any issues before they become a real problem
- Sweep any chimneys – again just best practise to schedule now if you had this done for a while and have an open or gas fire
- Check windows and door seals – if there are any gaps or the sealant has come away now is a good time to score out and replace, it’s an easy job and YouTube is always on hand to show how it’s done!
- Inspect loft – any leaks or sagging insulation? You know what to do.
At Bristol Property Centre we work with a range of property maintenance experts and there’s not much personally we don’t know re property and upkeep so we hope you’ve found this article useful and it will help to keep your home and garden in shipshape and Bristol fashion for 2021!