How to Get Your Garden Ready for Winter

Getting your garden winter-ready doesn't have to be a daunting task. By taking some simple steps now, you can ensure that your garden will be healthy and ready for the next season.

Woman in a blue hat raking colorful leaves onto a barrel
Winterize your garden | J_Koneva on Shutterstock

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures begin to drop, now is the time to start thinking about how to protect your garden from winter damage. Frost, snow and ice can all wreak havoc on your plants, so it's crucial to take proactive steps to ensure your garden survives the winter unscathed and is ready for spring.

In this post, we offer some of our favorite tips and suggestions for how to get your garden winter-ready. By doing some of this work now, you'll ensure that garden is ready to go once spring comes around.

Clean up your yard

Cleaning your garden now will help ensure it is ready for the winter months. Start by removing any dead or dying plants. These can provide a home for pests and diseases that can damage your other plants. Tidy up loose leaves and debris, sweep your walkways and put away your garden tools. This will prevent mold and rot from setting in over the winter and keep your tools corrosion and damage-free.

Hands in white cotton gloves scooping dry leafs up and dumping into black sack.
Get your yard ready for winter with a good clean-up | sbw18 on Shutterstock

Trim back your perennials

As plants die, they become susceptible to mold and pests. Trimming them down helps to protect them from the harsh winter weather and encourages new growth in the spring.

A rose bush with cut stems ready for mounding and winterizing
Trim your perennials before winter | Radovan1 on Shutterstock

When trimming perennials for winter, cut them back to about six inches above the ground. This will give them plenty of time to regrow in the spring. Larger bushes and plants, particularly susceptible to winter damage, including roses, camellias and citrus trees, need additional protection. To protect them from harsh winds and frigid temperatures, build a protective barrier around them using burlap or frost cloths. Be sure to secure the fabric well, so it doesn’t blow away in the wind.

Add mulch

Mulching your garden beds is one of the best things you can do to protect your plants from winter damage. Mulch helps to insulate the ground and keeps it protected from the elements. It also helps to conserve moisture, preventing the soil from drying out. In addition, mulch can help to suppress weeds, keeping your garden beds tidy and free of unwanted growth. Use an organic mulch such as straw or shredded leaves, and apply it two to four inches thick.

natural mulch on garden bed from pine bark pieces, with garden tools and juniperus
Mulch is your friend in the garden | Maria Evseyeva/Shutterstock

Bring tender plants indoors

If you have any tender plants that are not frost-hardy, late fall is the time to bring them indoors for the winter. This includes potting them up if necessary and placing them in a sunny spot near a window where they will receive enough light but won’t be exposed to drafts. Water them regularly, but ensure that the pots have drainage holes, so the roots don’t become waterlogged.

Terracotta flower pots. Plant pots in different shapes.
Bring delicate plants indoor | Fabrizio Guarisco/Shutterstock

Cover your patio furniture

Cold temperatures, rain and snow can cause damage to unprotected garden furniture. Put away all the cushions and umbrellas in storage and cover your furniture with a tarp or cover to protect it from the elements and prevent it from getting damaged.

Patio furniture cover protecting outdoor furniture from snow.
Cover your patio furniture to prevent it from damage | Ausra Barysiene on Shutterstock 

It's important to cover your patio furniture to prevent insects and other pests from taking up residence. This creates a barrier that stops them from getting inside and keeps your garden free of pests. This will keep everything clean and protected for the next season.

Check your irrigation system

Before the first frost hits, take some time to check your irrigation system and make sure that it is functioning properly. Repair any broken sprinklers or leaks, and flush the lines with clean water to prevent them from freezing solid during cold weather. Doing this as part of winterizing your garden now will save you a lot of time and hassle when trying to get your garden started in the springtime.

sprinkler head watering the bush and grass in the garden
Check your irrigation system | CPM PHOTO/Shutterstock


By following these tips and suggestions, you can help ensure that your garden survives the winter unscathed. To get your garden winter-ready, choose the right plants, cover things up, and keep an eye on the forecast. Don’t forget to bring items inside as needed to ensure you can enjoy your garden next season and watch it thrive all season long.

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