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When the clocks have changed most of us will be thinking of shutting down the garden for winter. There may be very little colour left because most of the flowers have faded and deciduous trees and shrubs have lost their leaves. After several harsh winters there is a reluctance to consider replanting borders and containers because of losses in previous years.
This is the time to start thinking about protecting delicate plants and possibly moving them into a greenhouse or cold frame. Also, do not forget that garden furniture may also need protection or packing away during the winter. This can leave the garden or patio looking very dull and unwelcoming over the winter period, but there are things that can be done even if you do not want to risk buying plants.
Your garden will always look more welcoming if it is clean and bright so this is the first thing to work on. Hard standing areas such as patios, paths and driveways can be cleaned to remove dirt, moss and algae. This can be done by using a pressure washer or by applying a suitable product via a watering can. Once clean this will instantly make the garden look much brighter.
Do not forget that gravel areas will also look better if refreshed. During the year soil, leaves and other debris will collect in these areas and weeds will begin to grow. Try to rake out some of this if possible then top dress with some fresh gravel. If you wish to add extra interest to borders then gravel can be used here too. There is a wide range of colours available and these can be used as a mulch on borders, providing much more colour than bark.
To create high impact and a large, bold splash of colour consider painting your fence or garden buildings, such as shed, garages or summer-houses. Used correctly, different colours can make the garden look not just brighter but also give the illusion that it is much larger. If this sounds a bit drastic then try brightening up your garden by hanging outdoor mirrors on fences and garden buildings to help reflect light all around the garden. These can be bought but are also easy to make yourself.
To add light after darkness there is also a wide range of low voltage and solar powered lights available. These are very easy to install and are a excellent way to add interest, or highlight certain areas of the garden.
If you are looking to add kerb appeal because summer plants have been taken away from your front door, try using multistemmed plants such as cornus, acers or birch. These have brightly coloured, decorative bark providing interest throughout winter months. To add a touch of Christmas, dress the plants with fairy lights and top dress containers with gravel or pine cones.
On the patio look for materials that can be used to provide temporary seating, such as logs or brightly coloured upturned glazed plant pots. This will help fill the space plus add some colour for winter. For extra interest a chiminea or log burner can be placed in the seating area.
Finally, for the ultimate feel good factor place plenty of bird feeders around your garden. This will help out some of the local wildlife as well as providing you with lots of colour and interest of the feathered kind.
Article courtesy of The Inverness Courier