Lifestyle and Decor

Maintaining your garden in winter

Private Property South Africa
Sarah-Jane Meyer |
Maintaining your garden in winter

Many home owners tend to neglect their gardens in autumn and winter, which is a pity as that is really the time when you can do the landscaping and reorganising that you don’t have time for in spring and summer.

Estate agents agree that an immaculate garden can increase the value of a property by as much as 20%. Buyers are also attracted by well-kept outdoor areas, so maintaining your garden year-round makes good sense - especially if you are thinking of selling.

Whatever the season, there is always work to be done in a garden, and most people are too busy to do it themselves so their gardens never look their best. With regular maintenance throughout the year you can have an exceptional garden, so don’t put your professional garden services on hold just because the lawn doesn’t grow as fast as it does in summer.

Garden maintenance entails more than just mowing the lawn, and most gardens could do with a general cleanup after summer. Gardeners and garden services are only too happy to spend winters trimming shrubs, trees and shaping hedges. Other tasks could include digging over flower beds in preparation for spring planting, removing weeds from paving, raking up leaves, weeding and general planting as well as digging up and replanting an entire lawn.

Landscaping aspects of the job could include laying of new lawns, building flowerbeds, and choosing suitable plants and features. This might also be the time to put up a pergola, lay down paving or make a new water feature.

Autumn and winter gardening tasks could include:

  • Pruning of roses should be carried out from mid-July to August.
  • The colder months are also the time to prune shrubs like honeysuckle, butterfly bushes, hibiscus, lavenders, verbenas, tibouchinas and viburnums as well as vines, trees and fruit trees.
  • Cut out dead branches from garden trees and transplant woody shrubs.
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs like nerines and daffodils as well as the lilies including Aztec, ifafa, plantain, pineapple, flame and spider lilies.
  • Prepare herbaceous borders for planting in spring by digging over the soil and adding plenty of manure and compost.
  • For winter colour in the garden, interplant winter-flowering seedlings with spring-flowering bulbs. Prepare the bed before planting seedlings like alyssum, calendula, bokbaaivygie, phlox, pansies, fairy primulas, dianthus, Iceland poppy and candytuft. Then plant some indigenous bulbs like Ixia, Sparaxis, Tritonia, Babiana, Freesia and Lachenalia. These are easy to grow and can be left in the ground to sprout again next spring.
  • If you have a patio or decking, use a pressure washer to spray away any grime and slime, and consider applying a fresh coat of paint or varnish.
  • If you have an existing garden shed or studio, make sure the wood has been treated so that it is weatherproof and you can easily give it a facelift by adding a touch of colour.
  • Freshen up a perimeter fence with a coat of paint or varnish.
  • If your home is overlooked by other homes or gardens, winter would be a good time to create the feeling of privacy in the garden. Adding hedges or trees in key spots will enable potential buyers to imagine themselves enjoying a peaceful afternoon outdoors.

Add a shed or a studio

A well-maintained garden will make sure buyers are not put off your property, but something more can make them want to buy your property rather than others they may have seen.

Adding a garden building - from a shed to a summerhouse or a log cabin - provides extra space at a fraction of the cost of a building extension. The outdoor room can be used as an entertainment area, a workshop or studio, an office, a gym or a small cinema room. In many municipalities garden buildings won’t require planning permission, so it can be a relatively simple process. But be sure to check with your local authority.

A well-kept garden with attractive features will make your property more attractive to viewers and could increase the price potential buyers are willing to pay. The colder months are an ideal time to carry out the projects needed to optimise your home.

Read more: How to make your small garden an urban oasis

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