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Preparing Your Garden & Furniture for Winter

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, it's time to bid farewell to your vibrant summer garden and ensure it survives the winter unscathed. Properly preparing your outdoor space and storing your furniture can make a significant difference in maintaining its longevity and ensuring a hassle-free transition into spring. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to put your garden to bed for the winter and protect your precious outdoor furniture.


Preparing Your Garden & Outdoor Furniture for Winter

Preparing for Winter

Clear Out all the Debris and Dead Plants

A well-maintained garden is a healthy one, and this process begins with tidying up before the winter chill sets in. Dead and diseased plants can become a breeding ground for pests and diseases, so it's essential to remove them. Start by walking through your garden and identifying any plants that didn't make it through the summer or show signs of disease. Use pruners or shears to trim away these problematic areas, ensuring that you dispose of them properly.

Additionally, fallen leaves and debris can suffocate your plants and encourage mould growth. A thorough raking can help prevent these issues. Consider using fallen leaves for composting or mulch, which will benefit your garden in the long run. The National Trust have some great tips for winter gardening.

Trim and Prune:

Trimming and pruning are crucial steps in preparing for winter. Overgrown shrubs and trees can pose a risk during snow and ice storms, with heavy branches potentially breaking and causing damage to your garden and property. To prevent this, carefully prune back any overgrowth, focusing on removing weak or damaged branches.

When it comes to perennials, cutting them back to ground level may seem harsh, but it's a vital step in promoting healthy regrowth in the spring. Leave just a few inches of stem above the soil, as this can help protect the plant's crown and encourage new growth when the weather warms.


Preparing Your Garden and Outdoor Furniture for Winter

Mulch and Protect:

Winter can be harsh on your garden's soil and delicate plants. Applying a layer of organic mulch serves as a protective blanket for the soil, insulating it from the frigid temperatures. Straw, shredded leaves, or wood chips are excellent choices for mulch. Spread a generous layer around your garden beds, being careful not to smother the plants themselves.

For extra protection during extreme cold snaps, consider using frost cloths or burlap to cover delicate plants and shrubs. These materials allow air and moisture to circulate while providing a barrier against freezing winds. Remember to remove the covers when temperatures rise to prevent plants from overheating. The RHs have a comprehensive guide to mulch, and mulching!

Clean and Storing Tools:

Your gardening tools are essential for maintaining a beautiful garden, so it's crucial to take care of them during the winter months. Before storing them away, give each tool a thorough cleaning to remove dirt, rust, and any lingering plant residue. Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove rust and then apply a light coating of oil to prevent further rusting.

Sharp tools are not only more efficient but also safer to use. Take the time to sharpen blades and pruners so they're ready for action come spring. Finally, store your tools in a dry location, such as a shed or garage, to protect them from the elements. Hang them or place them in a designated storage area to keep them organized and in good condition. For additional info on how to clean and store your tools, B&Q have some great ideas.


Preparing Your Garden and Outdoor Furniture for Winter

Storing Your Garden Furniture:

Clean Thoroughly:

Properly cleaning your outdoor furniture before winter storage can significantly extend its lifespan. Start by removing any cushions or fabric components and follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning or laundering them.

For the frames, use a mild detergent mixed with water to scrub away dirt, pollen, and any stains. A soft brush or sponge is ideal for this task, as it won't scratch the surface. Rinse thoroughly with a hose or bucket of clean water, ensuring all cleaning residue is removed.

If you have wooden furniture, consider applying a fresh coat of sealant or paint to protect it from moisture during storage. This is especially important for maintaining the wood's integrity and preventing rot. At Westminster we can advise you and answer any questions you may have about how to clean and store your outdoor furniture. Have a read through our Cleaning and Maintenance page, and if that doesn't answer your questions, please contact us at Customer Services

Dry Thoroughly:

Ensure your furniture is completely dry before storing it to prevent mould and mildew growth. Leave it out in the sun for a day or two if needed. Moisture is the enemy of outdoor furniture during winter storage. Even a small amount of trapped moisture can lead to mould and mildew growth. Before packing away, make absolutely sure it's dry. If you've cleaned it recently, let it air-dry in a sunny spot for a day or two to ensure there's no residual moisture.


Preparing Your Garden and Outdoor Furniture for Winter

Store in a Dry Location:

The ideal storage location for your outdoor furniture during the winter months is indoors. A garage, basement, or shed is the best choice, as it provides a controlled environment, sheltered from harsh weather conditions. When storing indoors, arrange your furniture neatly to maximize space and minimize the risk of damage.

If indoor storage isn't an option, invest in high-quality covers designed to resist moisture and UV rays. These covers should fit snugly and include fasteners or drawstrings to secure them in place. Look for covers made of durable materials, such as polyester with a waterproof coating, to ensure your furniture remains protected throughout the winter. Here at Westminster, we have the industry-leading Aero covers, to fit many outdoor sets and individual pieces.

Elevate and Cover:

In situations where outdoor storage is the only option, take extra precautions to safeguard your furniture. Elevate off the ground by placing it on blocks or pads. This prevents moisture from seeping into the furniture's legs or bases, which can lead to rot or rust.

Additionally, invest in high-quality furniture covers designed specifically for winter protection. These covers should have drawstrings or fasteners to secure them tightly, keeping snow, rain, and debris out. Make sure the covers extend all the way to the ground to provide maximum coverage and protection.


Preparing Your Garden and Outdoor Furniture for Winter

By following these comprehensive steps, you can ensure that your garden is well-prepared for the winter and that your outdoor furniture remains in excellent condition. Come springtime, you'll be thankful for the effort you put into protecting these outdoor treasures as you enjoy a fresh, vibrant garden and cosy seating for warm, sunny days.

Remember, the key to successful winter garden and furniture care is preparation and maintenance. With a little effort now, you'll be ready to embrace the beauty of your outdoor space when the snow melts and the temperatures rise once again. Taking these steps will not only save you time and money in the long run but will also help you make the most of your outdoor oasis year after year.

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