10 tips to get the garden and house exterior ready for bad weather
The end of summer brings with it a number of jobs to do in the garden, and on the outside of the house, to prepare it for the cold, and possibly wet and windy, weather of autumn and winter. By doing these preparations you can relax knowing that your garden, its contents and the house exterior is set up to cope with the wild, and often unpredictable, weather ahead.
Use our checklist to help you plan and preserve your garden in advance of the seasons and know which tools and materials to stock up on.
Alternatively, if a storm or bout of severe weather is forecast, follow our tips for safeguarding your garden and house exterior at short notice to avoid damage.
And as well as your garden and the outside of your house, there’s plenty to do inside your home to prepare it for the cold. Check out our tips and advice for keeping your home warm and cosy this autumn and winter.
Tools & materials required
Garden tidy ideas for autumn and winter
Lay lawn stepping stones
Use stepping stones to avoid treading on your lawn. Walking on wet soil in beds, borders or lawns will compact the soil. Plants rely on air pockets within the soil for space to expand and grow, but compacted soil has fewer air pockets, resulting in poorer plant growth.
Frost can also damage your grass if stepped on.
Invest in garden furniture covers
We offer weatherproof covers for a variety of garden furniture items (pictured) as well as barbeques and fire pits.
Alternatively, store away your garden furniture and barbeque in the shed to protect it from the weather.
Get prepared with the right equipment
A pressure washer is useful in autumn and winter to clear your patios, paths and driveways of leaves and mulch which can make them very slippery. Which can be a big hazard when frost, ice and snow is likely.
A garden vacuum (pictured) is also ideal for clearing leaves, particularly in autumn when there are lots on the ground.
Additionally, when it’s due to be really icy or snowy, salting your paths and driveways is essential. For large areas, a salt spreader is the perfect tool to cover a wide area quickly.
Stock up on these tools now so you’re not caught short when bad weather comes.
Store away tools and gardening equipment
Store tools and gardening equipment away in a safe, dry location to prevent water damage and stop rust setting in, such as in a shed or garage.
We offer wooden sheds in a selection of sizes that can be easily treated to prolong their usage, as well as plastic sheds which are made from durable resin that won't rot. Metal sheds are another practical solution as they're easy to assemble and require minimal maintenance. For a temporary storage solution, our portable sheds can be assembled over the autumn and winter and taken down when not needed.
Or if space is limited, consider some garden storage. Our range includes weatherproof storage boxes (pictured), benches and more that are ideal for storing away garden equipment.
Inspect the roof
Check the exterior of your house, including the roof and chimney. Look for any visible damage that could be worsened by the weather, such as loose tiles or brickwork, or unstable chimney pots. Doing this now can avoid a considerable repair bill after a storm and it could uncover problems such as leaks that can cause substantial damage if undetected for a long time.
We advise staying off the roof. Either view from the ground with binoculars or walk around your home's exterior, inspecting for signs of damage, sagging and aging. Take notes of any possible problem areas, or parts in need of closer inspection.
If you're confident enough to take a closer look, carefully use a ladder to give it the once over. You should never try to walk across your roof and if you're in any doubt about the condition of your roof, have it checked over by a roofing specialist.
Alternatively, check it from the attic. What's happening inside can tell you a lot about what's happening on the outside. Many early warning signs (such as sagging material, water damage and outside light) can be spotted just by looking at it - great if you don't want to risk damaging insulation.
Make any repairs that are necessary to secure the house from adverse conditions.
Clear the gutters
Regular checks of your guttering will help you avoid damage during harsh weather conditions. The small amount of time taken to properly maintain your guttering will benefit you in the long term, so use dry days as an excuse to get outside and check that your guttering is properly prepared for the worst of weathers.
Clear your guttering of any leaves and mulch. If gutters get clogged up, overflowing water can damage the exterior of your house over time. Fitting a gutter guard (pictured) will stop the gutters from blocking up again, meaning you won’t have to keep clearing them. If you’ve got a water butt, check the connector is clear of any blockages such as leaves.
If the guttering looks damaged then it may need to be repaired or replaced. Our guides will walk you through these tasks. When replacing guttering, consider our square line guttering which has a greater flow capacity than traditional half round guttering, meaning it should be less likely to overflow or break when full.
Fences provide practical privacy and shelter, but can also bear the brunt of bad weather, be it rain or high winds.
Check your fences for damage that might weaken them, such as rot or attack by insects. If you have a wooden fence that hasn’t been treated, or not for some time, protect it with fence paint or treatment. This will help it withstand bad weather and prolong its life.
Also, make sure all your boundary fences are secure and posts are firmly set in the ground.
Maintain wooden garden buildings
If you have a shed, playhouse, summerhouse or cabin, make sure that it's in good condition to withstand adverse weather conditions. Check that your roofing felt is secure, and there are no splits or signs of wear and tear. Replace the felt if it's very worn, or patch and repair any small areas of damage. Keeping the felt on your shed roof in good shape will also help protect the valuable tools stored inside.
If your shed or garden building hasn’t been treated for some time, or at all, then it could be susceptible to water damage. Prevent this by applying exterior wood paint or treatment to preserve it for longer.
Also, check that your shed door is firmly shut so it doesn’t get damaged by blowing open in high winds. Explore our range of bolts to help make sure your shed door is secure and opt for a top and bottom lock if in doubt.
Check trees for signs of weakness and poor health. Trees where damage has already occurred, or disease and rot has set in, are more vulnerable in strong winds.
Look for cracks in the trunk, large amounts of dead wood or mushroom and fungal growth as these may be warning signs. If the damaged area is close to the ground and the tree is relatively small, you can remove damaged or infected branches yourself.
For easy clearance, a garden shredder is a hassle-free way of getting rid of tree branches and large sticks.
If you have concerns about larger trees, contact a local tree surgeon who will be able to safely undertake any pruning required.
Capitalise on the rain by collecting it
Take advantage of the weather by installing a water butt to collect the excess rain water. This provides a sustainable store of water that you can use for hydrating your plants when watering resumes in spring – great for the environment, as well as saving you money on your water bills.