Clean Up and Compost: Preparing Your Garden for Winter

One of the things I love about our new house is an already-picket-fenced-in area the previous owner used as a garden! I haven’t planted anything in it yet, but I plan on getting some good use out of it come Spring. However, in order for it to be ready for me come Spring, there’s a bit of preparation that needs to be done, am I right?

Beautiful young woman gardening outside in summer nature

Right now, with winter coming hot – or cold – on the heels of Fall, it’s the time of year we all enjoy getting cozy inside and snuggling up by the fire. For those with green fingers, it’s time to reflect on the summer’s bounties and think about preparing your garden for the coming chill. Preparation is the key to having an easy maintenance garden over winter, and helps it to burst back into life in next spring as well.  

Pulling up and bedding down

Start with your plants, digging up any annuals and adding them to the compost heap. Make sure that any bulbs are settled in ready for spring, pull out weeds, and cut back your perennials. Digging over the beds helps to aerate the soil and mix it up, and spreading a thick layer of compost or bark chips on top helps to replenish the nutrients and organic content. If you want some winter color, try adding wallflowers and pansies or some heather and cyclamen, which do equally well in easy to manage pots and hanging baskets.

Fall is a good time to show your lawn a little TLC as well, especially after the stresses of summer. Start by raking it over and removing any dead matter, and then use a garden fork to aerate the turf for better movement of water and air. Add some fertilizer or compost to help feed the grass, and consider covering it if you get very harsh winters.

Setting everything in order

With your plants all bedded down for the winter, turn your attention to other areas of the garden which can benefit from a bit of sorting out. 

  • Clean out the greenhouse and shed so that they are tidy and organized after the busy summer growing season.
  • Drain hosepipes or taps to avoid problems with burst pipes. If you have a fountain in your garden, consider draining it and wrapping it up for winter for the same reason. This will also help you to avoid the fountain cracking due to the freezing temperatures. 
  • Clean out dead matter from the bottom of your pond, and place a mesh covering to stop more leaves from collecting – remove them regularly for your compost heap, or simply pile in a corner to provide a cozy habitat for hibernating insects.
  • Sort through any tools, pots, and supplies; cleaning and mending where needed, and making sure they are stored in a dry and secure place.

Although winter might seem like an off-season for the garden, it’s an important time of year for resting and replenishing your plot. Taking the time to tidy up your plants and your tools means that come next, everything will be ready to spring back into life with the season.

How do you prep your garden or yard for winter?

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!


9 thoughts on “Clean Up and Compost: Preparing Your Garden for Winter

  1. I have so failed my garden. These tips are totally right! Wish I’d done this but now I’ll have to wait until it warms a bit.

  2. My husband takes care of the gardening tasks. I know he did the necessary preparations for the winter. I will let him read this article too. Maybe there is still something we still need to do. Thanks for this awesome article.

  3. Draining the hose is so important. We have animals and if we keep the hoses drained, we can frequently use the hose to water the horses and sheep rather than hauling buckets . . . unless it is really cold or someone forgets to drain it!

  4. These are all great tips. We do all of these but we do them in September as Winter comes early in Northern Norway and last for a long time. I am still trying to convince my in laws to start composting but haven’t been successful yet. Hopefully soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.