Lazy Susan’s top 12 autumn gardening tips

Autumn is upon us - Be prepared and find out how to get your garden ready with Lazy Susan’s top 12 autumn gardening tips!

From a meteorological sense, we're officially well into autumn, the weather is still relatively mild though, but you can see the nights starting to draw in and leaves changing colour.

However, according to the RHS, autumn is maybe the best season for gardening, and recent research prompted them to launch their Grow at Home This Autumn campaign. 

Their research highlighted that:

With some two-thirds (65%) of people not knowing that autumn is an important gardening season, the RHS has this week launched ‘Grow at Home this autumn’ to encourage and help people to plant now to save water and money.

Of course, in our humble opinion, spring is probably the most important season in terms of planting, however, autumn is when a good chunk of general maintenance is definitely best done.

Jobs we can tackle between now and early October will not only give us a head start on spring, but it’ll also help to keep our gardens looking great over the next 4/5 months or so, and give us little extra protection over the harshest of winter months.

According to the RHS:

Autumn is especially good for planting evergreens, as well as tulips and daffodil bulbs.

They go on to say that we should plant now to save water and money too, and that:

43% of UK adults who garden or grow plants outside consign their fallen leaves to the council green waste bin - a waste of a valuable resource and also less good for the environment compared to it being used ‘in-garden'.

The cooler temperatures at this time of year not only have numerous benefits for plants, but they're also much nicer to work in, so with that in mind, the Lazy Susan team have got our heads together and compiled our top 12 autumn gardening tips and jobs we'll be tackling over the next few weekends...

1. Plant spring-flowering bulbs

Plant spring bulbs
September is the perfect month for planting your spring bulbs. The soil is still holding much of that summer warmth, it is moist, but not saturated, and we’re unlikely to see any frost for a good couple of months. Planting bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths now gives them time to grow new roots, and they’ll be less vulnerable to the drier months of late spring/early summer.

2. Tidy up your borders and containers


To keep your borders and containers looking good for the next few months, and to give them the best chance come spring, dig up any annuals now and give them a good tidy up. We would also recommend you cover them with a good layer of compost and leave it to the worms to get that soil full of nutrients for next year too.

3. Tidy up your perennials 


Perennials are a hardy bunch and can pretty much be left to their own devices. However, we would always advise that at this time of year (once they’ve stopped flowering) you cut them back to around 5 cm above soil level. Giving them a trim will not only help to keep them tidy but also encourage new growth/flowering next year. Just be sure to leave a few longer stems for wildlife to use during wintertime.

4. Tackle those weeds


Hopefully, the above sign is true? If not, then autumn is one of the best seasons to get a march on weeds. If you’ve kept on top of them over the summer, then any you have now should be pretty small and easy to remove. However, more importantly, is that by pulling them now, they won’t get a chance to bloom and go to seed, thus preventing the problem from escalating, and any need for nasty weed killers.

5. Give your lawn a final cut


Cut it short. Remove any thatch. Treat any patches of moss. Apply a course of Autumn Lawn feed such as the Green Gardener’s Organic Slow Release Autumn Fertiliser to prep it for winter, promote good root growth and improve disease resistance. If you’ve had any drainage issues, then now is also the time to tackle them too. And if you do want to lay some new turf, then again, now is the time as come next summer it will have had plenty of time to bed in.

6. Plant some late flowering plants


If you want to keep a bit of interest and fill the spaces vacated by your annuals, then why not plant some late-flowering perennials such as Rudbeckia or Crocosmia? They’re the perfect colours for bringing a little vibrancy to the garden at this time of year. Over on the RHS website, Graham Rice has selected his quintessential plants to keep your garden blooming right up until the first frosts in Top 10 late-flowering perennials.

7. Plant some evergreens 


As with the above, now is also a great time to plant up some evergreens. Conifers for example are always best planted in early to mid-autumn as they’ll need less watering and aftercare than those planted in spring. Although, that said spring is the next best season for planting them, the winter is just too cold and summer too hot. But if you want them in, our advice is to do it in the coming weeks.

8. Plant deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers


The same goes for any new deciduous trees, shrubs or climbers you want to put in. Again, as with the above, autumn is the ideal time for deciduous climbers because the soil is still warm enough to encourage root growth before the onset of winter. The English Garden has a great guide to the best climbing plants and shrubs to plant now for some winter bloom.

9. Give the patio a clean


Maybe not as important as the spring clean but a good autumn clean will definitely make it a little easier come next year. I always give my stone patio a quick sweep and pressure wash at this time of year to clean away any mould or algae before it gets the chance to take hold and stain the stone. It is also worth tackling any maintenance such as replacing damaged decking planks or missing sand/repointing pavers.

10. Clean and put away patio furniture


Our patio furniture, such as our Lucy Patio Table shown in the photo above, is designed to stay outside in all weather. However, our advice is to store it inside if you can or cover it. The metal is protected with a painted finish to prevent the elements from damaging it, but by storing or covering it, you’ll keep it clean and ready to use next summer. Leave them outside all winter and it will get very mucky. Our Maintaining Aluminium Patio Furniture article tells you how best to clean. 

11. Clear up fallen leaves


I’m afraid this is just one of those jobs that none of us likes to do and often feels like a bit of a losing battle. They’re definitely starting to fall, so our advice is to sweep, rake and pick them up little and often. Leave them on your lawn or borders and they can smother the lawn, suffocate plants and introduce diseases into the soil. If you get a lot, then our advice would be to get a good leaf blower/garden vac!

12. Maintain your gardening tools


Last on our list is a job many of us (myself included) tend to put off. However, autumn is the perfect time to give our tools a good clean and a little TLC. Once you’ve done all the above jobs and given the lawn a final cut, give them a good clean, sharpen any blades, etc. Trust us, you’ll be grateful come the first cut of the new year!

Clean tools work more effectively, be it a trowel or lawnmower. They’re often expensive items too, so it makes sense to ensure they last. Keeping blades and edges sharp improves cutting, which is easier on you and your plants. A little clean with warm soapy water and dry them off. It is also a good idea to spray any metal/moving parts with a little WD40 to prevent rust from forming and prevent any diseases from spreading.