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Winter proofing a client’s garden

Winter is traditionally the time when gardens begin to look a bit jaded. As the temperatures fall and the nights grow darker, it can be all too easy to abandon nature to its own devices.
All landscapers, however, know that while winter does whittle plants away, this reduction in greenery can be useful. It allows a layout review to create new and exciting plans for the next year, and to focus on maintenance jobs. Focusing on the following areas will keep a client’s outdoor areas safe, tidy, and ready for the onset of Spring.
 

1. Clearance and Composting

 
The calcified stalks and mildewed leaves that litter the garden can all be rounded up and composted. Gardens are efficient eco-systems and nothing need go to waste. Conversely, to protect plants from hard frosts and wildlife, lay down an extra layer of compost and mulch. This will guard root systems and supply them with nutrients over the hardy months.
 

2. Protect Saplings

 
Before maturity, all trees are vulnerable to extreme conditions. It’s best to survey a client’s property to decide what action needs taking to see each tree safely through the season. Native saplings can be cosseted with fleece, straw, hessian and bracken. This insulation is best held with wire or netting. Moving potted Mediterranean trees inside, or simply to a sheltered spot can help.
 

3. Clear and Cover Ponds

 
If the client has a pond, it’s best to tackle the clear-out now and to cover it up at the earliest. After the ravages of autumn, water features can become overwhelmed with garden matter. This in turn can damage mechanisms and create future problems. Opting to cover the cleared pond also prevents the water from fully freezing over, protecting any fish or amphibian life.
 

4. Health and Safety First

 
Slate walkways and stone paths can look elegant through the summer months. However, come winter, they demand maintenance to prevent slips and falls. This is straightforward enough with a sponge, some soapy water and a bit of elbow grease.
 

5. Decking

 
Similarly, one of the biggest garden hazards can be timber decking. Timber decks can become ice rinks throughout the winter months. This makes it essential to maintain them to protect those who walk on them, and the decking itself from rotting and degradation. Algae causes the slippery surface and will need cleaning with pressure washing or with an anti-algae treatment. Alternatively, if the decking is Millboard, then it will be inherently slip-resistant. The only maintenance required will be a simple brush down to clear leaves and debris.
 

6. Repair Fences

 
With greenery at a minimum and everything cleared and tidied, it becomes much easier to repair and repaint fences. Do this job now while you have access to the full lengths.
 
Following this checklist will preserve a client’s garden throughout the bitter winter months. With good maintenance, their winter decks and patios won’t have to be off-limits.
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