Wet, windy and cold weather can play havoc with our gardens, causing damage to plants and buildings as well as creating new hazards like ice and slippery surfaces.
When severe weather is forecast, there’s lots you can do to protect your garden and the outside of your house from the elements. Our checklist will help you get prepared quickly before the bad weather hits.
Consider future-proofing your garden and house exterior for autumn and winter. Check out our article on how to protect your garden from bad weather with more long-term considerations and investments.
Store items such as tools and gardening equipment, into your shed or weatherproof garden storage. Ensure electrical power tools are raised from the ground, for example on a shelf in your shed, to avoid damage if your shed floods or leaks during heavy rain.
Shield garden furniture, barbecues (pictured), fire pits and trampolines with outdoor covers to help prevent water damage like rot and rust. Make sure the cover is fitted all the way over the item and that any straps are securely tightened. Move items under shelter if possible for extra protection.
Move small pieces of garden furniture and items like potted plants inside or somewhere sheltered. Be careful to avoid wind tunnels created by neighbouring buildings.
Place larger pots on ‘pot feet’ to prevent waterlogging. If you find that your plants are waterlogged after heavy rain, put them on their side for a couple of hours to drain excess water.
Garden furniture and play equipment like picnic tables, play tables, sand pits and swing sets (if not concreted down) could be lifted by strong winds. Anchor down and secure to the ground anything that could be lifted with weights, ropes, bungees or stakes. Also consider young trees that could be vulnerable to gales.
Trampolines can be unsafe when it's extremely gusty. Our trampoline accessory kit solves this issue as it includes an anchor kit to secure it to the ground, as well as cover to protect it from the elements.
Check sheds and greenhouses for weaknesses, such as broken glass panels and damaged wooden slats, as the wind can catch here. Check the building is securely anchored to its base and that vents are shut. Make any quick repairs needed, such as patching any gaps and holes temporarily with sheet wood. For any tears in a felt roof, this Evo-stick flashing tape is a quick and easy fix as it creates an instant watertight teal.
Clean paths, patios and paving with a pressure washer to reduce the risk of slipping. Surfaces can get slippery when lots of rain has washed over soil and leaves. Use a salt spreader to salt your paths, driveways and patios if frosty, icy or snowy weather is due. Adjust the spread width on the spreader to cover a wide area quickly and easily.
Take down hanging baskets and any other hanging decorations and move these indoors or into a sheltered spot.
Keep plants, especially potted ones, well watered during periods of high winds as these weather conditions can be surprisingly drying. Check that climbing plants are tied back to their stakes or trellises.
Prune back any overhanging shrubs and trees which could be a danger in high winds, or which could deposit snow or vegetation into ponds.
Cover plants and young trees with a plant protection fleece, specially designed for protecting plants during cold weather. Alternatively, you could use a tarpaulin or old blanket. Tie or weigh it down so that it doesn't blow away and remember to take it off during the day so that the plants can get light and air. Wrap bubble wrap around the containers of tender plants to keep their roots warm. Bring any tropical plants indoors as they are unlikely to survive the cold weather outside.
Keep the surface of ponds free from fallen debris and vegetation using a pond net – this will help the pond to breathe. This is particularly important for fish in your pond as well as any wildlife.
Float a ball or something similar on the surface of your pond. The movement of this will help prevent a layer of ice forming. It’s important to avoid ice formation as fish can be poisoned from methane trapped under the layer of ice, produced by decomposing vegetation. If ice does form, don’t smash it as the vibrations can harm or kill the fish. Instead, melt a hole using some boiled water.
Fit a cover to your outdoor tap to prevent it from freezing in cold weather. Check your tap is turned off and store away your hose. Avoid leaving your hose and hose head connected as the freezing weather can cause the plastic head to crack.