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Autumn and winter garden ideas

Alfresco Autumn: How to Enjoy Your Garden for Longer in 2020

Autumn has arrived and with it so too has the crisp, autumnal weather. It’s easy to start battening down the hatches and packing up the garden ready for winter. But not so fast! There are lots of ways you can continue to enjoy your outdoor space right through to next spring.

So, here are our top five tips to help you make the most of your garden this autumn and winter, and enjoy the outdoor life for longer.

 

Gas patio heater

Invest in a patio heater

Staying dry and staying warm are essential if you’re going to enjoy your outdoor space over the cooler months. If you’ve created a beautiful patio area and you wish you could enjoy it for longer in the year, a patio heater is an essential garden gadget to help with this. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be powered in a few different ways – gas, electric and wood-fired options being the most common.

Electric heaters will warm up your space quickly and are fairly easy to run. You will, of course, need to consider how to safely get mains power from your house or garage to your heater.

Gas heaters are more expensive to run, and take longer to heat up. But they’re often less expensive to buy, more portable and tend to heat larger spaces better than electric heaters.

If you’re concerned about the eco credentials of your patio heater, have a look at bio-ethanol heaters. Using fuel made from food waste, they burn cleanly with no smells or smoke, and are much more environmentally friendly than gas or electric options.

 

Garden string lights

Get some decorative garden lighting 

Illuminating your garden in creative ways can bring a magical quality to your outdoor space. As the dark evenings draw in, it’s natural to want to retreat indoors. But with some simple and affordable outdoor lighting, you can create an atmosphere both adults and children will enjoy.

String lighting is an affordable and easily installed option that looks great hanging in large trees, along fences, or just about anywhere you like. Like most garden lights these days, string lights can be solar powered, making them easy to position anywhere in your garden without the need for mains power.

Stake lights are great for flexibility, as they can be moved around with the seasons to highlight different planting or features in your garden. These lights are also great for illuminating steps in your garden, for safety and aesthetic purposes.

For a really affordable option, simply put some flickering LED tea lights into a jar and keep them on your patio table, or dot them around your garden. Continue the creative theme to encourage the kids to get out more, with novelty Halloween lights (it’s that time of year after all!) or a festive display to admire out the window on Christmas day.

And if you’re in need of more garden lighting inspiration, take a look at some of our national parks and gardens. They often have beautiful landscape lighting that you can easily recreate on a smaller scale in your own garden.

 

Wildlife in winter

Help wildlife survive the winter

With natural habitats and wild areas in decline, many species of wildlife struggle to survive through summer, let alone through the colder autumn and winter months. That’s why dedicating an area of your garden to encouraging wildlife is a great thing to do. It also gives the kids a reason to wrap up warm and get outside, exploring the garden and spotting wildlife in different seasons.

In the summer months, it’s easy to attract bees, butterflies and other creatures into your garden with colourful, fragrant planting such as lavender. But through the autumn and winter, when many wild animals and insects go into hibernation, what can you do to keep your garden thriving with life?

Create little nooks and crannies where insects love to hide away – logs with loose bark, or some of your garden leaf litter is perfect for this. A bee hotel will give bees somewhere safe to hide away, and are great fun to build with kids.

Birds have come to rely on garden feeders to survive the winter, when their natural food supplies run low. So help them keep their fat reserves up by leaving plenty of bird-friendly food out every day – nuts, seeds, old fruit and a bird bath topped up with plenty of water will go down a treat.

Another garden visitor that often struggles to survive the winter is the humble hedgehog. Simply by building a leaf pile or a small hedgehog house, you’ll give them somewhere to shelter from the elements and help them to survive. A bowl of water and some dog or cat food will also help them stay fit and healthy through to spring.

 

Planting bulbs for spring

Get planning and planting

Autumn is the perfect time to start preparing your garden for fun and frolics the following year. So why not get the kids outdoors into the fresh air to help with some leaf sweeping and bulb planting? Getting a head start on planting can make all the difference come spring.

Start planning now how you can make your garden a space to enjoy all year round. Think about creating shelter from the elements by planting evergreen hedges and trees that last from spring right through to autumn again.

If you are planning a new patio or garden path, now is a great time to get your ideas together, so you’re ready for when the lighter, sunnier evenings arrive again. If you need extra help, Tobermore offers a range of Landscape Design packages to suit any project need and budget.

 

Garden hot tub

Soak up the view in a hot tub 

When the day is done and you want to unwind, what could be better than jumping into a warm, bubbling hot tub and admiring your garden handiwork?

Hiring a hot tub is always an option. But if you want to splash out on your own tub, you may want to consider a few pointers to make the experience even more relaxing.

  1. Think about privacy. Bamboo screening, lattice fences or tall shrubs are great ways to section off your hot tub area if you want to be a bit more secluded. They will also protect you from the wind and keep your hot tub area nicely sheltered.
  2. Keep safety at front of mind. The area around a hot tub will get wet, so make sure you have rubber or gripped mats and other appropriate surface coverings around your hot tub to prevent slips and falls. Some of the decorative lighting ideas mentioned earlier will help here, too, making sure your hot tub area is safely, as well as pleasantly, illuminated.
  3. Also consider the planting around your hot tub. Think about scented plants and flowers – sweet box (sarcoccoa rustafolia) can withstand the colder months and produces a wonderful aroma, as does iris, honeysuckle, wintersweet and mahonia.

So there you have it – five ways you can get out into your garden and continue to enjoy what it has to offer well into autumn and winter.

 

Tobermore Paving and Walling Guide

Planning a garden makeover?

Take a look at our latest paving and walling guide, packed full of images for inspiration and information about our full range of paving and walling products.

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About the Author: David Thompson

David is Tobermore's Head of Consumer Sales and manages our Paving and Walling Centres in Tobermore and Bangor. With almost 20 years' experience in the market, David offers a wealth of technical knowledge and design inspiration.

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