Although we don’t often get severe weather in this country, strong winds, heavy rain, cold nights, frost, ice and snow can all still play havoc with your garden plants, furniture and structures. Make sure your garden doesn’t suffer by taking steps to protect it before bad weather hits.

Protect vulnerable plants and trees

Depending on the types of plants you have in your garden, you may need to protect them if poor weather is forecast. Particularly tender plants should be brought inside for winter, while others may just need covering during cold nights.

For plants that need shelter from wind and direct sunlight, which can be harmful after a frost, consider making a windbreak using decorative or hurdle fencing. Alternatively, for plants that won’t survive inside but can’t withstand the full impact of winter, a cold frame could be a wise investment.

You should also look out for and prune branches that might cause damage in strong winds or heavy snow. In the case of heavy snow, remove snow from plants and branches to prevent them from warping or snapping.

Move furniture and hazards into storage

Protect your garden furniture and secure loose items such as hanging baskets and garden ornaments by moving them into garden storage or a shed at the end of autumn.

Check your fences and sheds

The best time to check your fencing and sheds is before winter starts, which will give you time to repair any issues and apply protective treatments to keep the wood strong through any winter weather. It also gives you time to invest in a new shed or fencing if you discover they’re not likely to last the distance.

Give your shed a thorough look over before treating it to make sure it is strong enough to withstand all weather conditions. Keep an eye out for loose or rotting panels, holes or gaps in roofing felt and windows and doors that aren’t securely closed. If you have a padlock, now is also a good time to oil it so that it still opens after winter!

Your shed shouldn’t require much additional maintenance through winter, unless there’s heavy snow, in which case you should clear snow from the shed roof to avoid causing lasting damage.

Fences require similar treatment - apply a protective coating and check for rotting posts and loose panels. If your fence is constantly falling down, it may be time to invest in new fencing. If there are strong prevailing winds where you're planning to put your fence, try to choose one with an open rather than solid structure (like a trellis or picket fence), which will help it withstand gusty conditions.

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