“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” They’re the words of travel writer Paul Theroux, but any gardener will be able to relate to them. Now is the ideal time to take stock of your garden, prepare for spring and enjoy working outdoors while there’s still a refreshing chill in the air.
Even if your plants have become dormant this winter, there’s plenty you can be doing to make your outdoor area a more pleasant space to spend time in both the cooler and warmer months. When it comes to winter gardening, there are three ways to ensure you aren’t neglecting your outdoor space:
- Cosy up outdoor areas
- Give your space some TLC
- Prepare for spring and summer
Be inspired to get outside, even when it’s cold, with this guide.
Cosy up outdoor areas
If you haven’t spent a lot of time outdoors this winter, the top priority on your winter gardening list should be making your outdoor area cosier. There are a number of simple ways to warm up your outdoor space:
- Add outdoor cushions and blankets to your furnishings
- Move your seating to an area with more sunlight
- Create warmth with the addition of a fire-pit, free-standing electric heater or built-in fireplace
- Use extra lighting to create ambience and a feeling of warmth – consider string lights, lanterns and candles
- Install shelter structures that will protect your space from wind (vergolas are a great solution, as they allow sun in during winter and provide shade in summer)
When creating an outdoor space, many people do most of the planning with just summer in mind. However, we recommend thinking about ways to season-proof your garden so you can enjoy it year-round.
Ways to do this include using retractable structures and deciduous shade covers that will keep you cool in summer and let sunlight through in winter, and putting heavy planters on wheels so you can easily move them as the seasons change.
Give your space some TLC
Nothing is more satisfying than spending a day getting outdoor jobs done – and winter is the perfect season for this, as it’s far more pleasant to get on top of those physically taxing jobs when the weather is cooler.
Things to get done in winter include:
- Repot container plants
- Transplant established plants and shrubs while they are dormant
- Mulch your plants (this helps them retain warmth in winter)
- Prune roses, frangipani, summer-flowering shrubs and tropical plants
- Tackle larger landscaping jobs like paving, painting, general repairs, decking maintenance, installing outdoor art, fireplaces and water features, etc.
When it comes to planting, the warm climate in South-east Queensland means there is still a lot you can grow during the cool months. Edibles including silverbeet, cabbage, kale, carrots, lettuce, radish, peas and most herbs will continue to grow.
You can also get ready for the warmer months by planting spring vegetable seeds in pots and placing them in a warm protected area. Tomato, eggplant and capsicums are good plants to get started now.
If you want colour in your outdoor area, try camellias and azaleas for flowering at the start of winter. Gardenia, bottlebrush, may bush and jasmine will begin to flower in late winter and throughout spring.
Prepare for spring and summer
Spring/summer is prime time for relaxing outside, so it makes sense to do larger landscaping projects before the weather starts to warm up.
When planning design and landscaping for your space, we recommend starting with Pinterest as a source of inspiration. You should also consult with your local nursery on plants that will grow well in your area. If you require professional assistance with your landscaping, now is also the time to book this in before the spring/summer rush begins.
For design ideas, see these seven gardens that showcase why landscaping shouldn’t be an afterthought.