Things to do in your garden in winter

Fire pit in winter garden with bespoke steam bent oak bench Rotherfield Sussex

December 5, 2018

Your winter garden maintenance plan 

If you’re tucking in for winter, don’t forget your garden needs a bit of TLC as well. So get your wellies on and pour yourself a cuppa – you’ll need it. Here’s your guide to make sure your garden looks its best throughout the winter months and is poised to burst back into full life in the spring 

Garden maintenance is as important in winter as in any other season. Here are our tips and tricks to keeping your plants healthy throughout the cold months and to prepare your Kent, Sussex or Surrey garden for the year ahead.  

Prune, prune and prune 

During winter time, you need to start preparing for the spring growth. Your garden plants may be looking a bit scruffy and it’s time to give them a good prune. Almost all plants are best pruned during mid to late winter because this is when they are dormant, meaning they lose less sap from the cuts and can heal more quickly than when the plants are still growing.  

Specific plants to prune during the winter include (but are not limited to): 

  • Apple and pear trees (but not plum or cherry trees) 
  • Roses 
  • Summer flowering deciduous shrubs 
  • Fruit trees and bushes 
  • Wisteria 
  • Outdoor vines 

Look after your lawn 

Apart from properties that are right on the coast, most gardens in Kent, Sussex and Surrey will expect to endure frosts throughout the winter.  Remember not to walk on frosty or icy grass; it causes the leaves to fracture and can cause damage to the internal leaf cells. This leaves an ugly boot print shaped mark in the grass that – although not causing serious long-term damage – can linger for quite a while.  

If your grass is suffering from poor drainage, it may help to spike the lawns. This allows air, rain and nutrients to penetrate the hard surface and can increase the water-holding capacity of the soil. However, if your soil is heavy in clay particles then this does not bring about any real benefits because you are really just squeezing the particles closer together around the hole; in this case it may be best to use a hollow tine to aerate the soil. 

Winter can be the best time to lay turf, this is because you spend less time outdoors, giving the newly set turf more time to root itself into the existing soil without getting stepped on all the time.  


Winter can be a great time for planting as it gives plants a chance to get their roots established so they’re well set up for summer.  Here are the plants you should be thinking about getting into the ground during the colder months in gardens in Kent, Sussex and Surrey: 

  • New rose bushes 
  • Trees and shrubs lifted from open ground 
  • Hedges 
  • Herbaceous perennials 
  • Root balled deciduous trees and shrubs 
  • Fruit trees and bushes 
  • Replant your herbaceous border: if it was looking tired with lots of gaps during the summer, now is the time to re-site plants and fill in the spaces with new additions. 

Think about the wildlife 

It’s good to remember that fauna is just as important as flora for your garden to be as health, environmentally diverse and attractive as possible. In order for the fish in your pond to breath, oxygen from the air has to dissolve into the water; this won’t happen if there is a sheet of ice, so remember to keep it clear to keep your fish alive. Birds are also a welcome attraction to any garden, so remember to keep your birdfeeder stocked to give them a chance this winter and make sure they have access to water that isn’t frozen; in Kent, Sussex and Surrey that can mean breaking the ice and adding fresh water every morning.  

Other odd jobs 

  • To keep your garden looking tidy, remember to clear up any dead leaves and tidy up your flower beds and borders; any final perennials should be pulled up or cut back now ready for a fresh start in the spring.  
  • Tie in the branches of your wall-trained fruit trees.  
  • Spread fertiliser over your borders  

When the temperature plummets it can be harder to motivate yourself to get outside to look after your garden, but work that you put in now will reap rewards in the spring. But if you’d rather stay indoors, or if your back isn’t what it used to be, remember that we also provide a garden maintenance service. 

To discuss your garden design or maintenance needs

call 01892 577371 

or send us an email using our online form. 

Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:  

Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill  

Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex  

Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.   

You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.
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