Build a cold frame to house delicate plants. ATTRIBUTION: Ofer El-Hashahar (Flickr) ]

Build a cold frame to house delicate plants. ATTRIBUTION: Ofer El-Hashahar (Flickr) ]

Prepare for the weather ahead by winterizing your backyard and garden before the first frost. From your plants and trees to your pond and yard equipment, proper preparation results in a clean, vivacious landscape come spring. Follow these tips to winterize your backyard and garden.


There are many things you can do to boost the health of your lawn so that it grows in greener and fuller next year. Until the grass ceases to grow, continue to mow and fertilize it on a regular basis. Never remove more than one-third of the leaf at any time. Aeration can also help you achieve a healthier lawn by allowing air, water, and nutrients to better penetrate the grass roots.

Trees, Bushes, and Shrubs

While some trees, bushes, and shrubs require no pre-winter maintenance, others may require differing levels of care. New plants should be shielded from the bitter cold winds by wrapping them in burlap. Fill the burlap covering with dried leaves to provide a cushion for the plant. You’ll also want to spread a thick layer of mulch around all tree bases, without touching the trunk.


Both flower and vegetable gardens require some winterizing before the soil freezes. Once plants have turned brown, cut them back several inches. Pull any large weeds or other dead vegetation and add them to your compost pile. Loosen the soil with a hoe, tiller, or hand-cultivator to rejuvenate the garden bed. You’ll also want to plant any spring-flowering bulbs while the ground is still warm.

Patio and Backyard Furniture

Unless you plan on storing your outdoor furniture inside of a shed, garage or other secured area, you’ll need to protect your outdoor furniture from the harsh winter environment. Opt for protective outdoor furniture covers made from high-quality materials that fit snugly on your patio and backyard chairs, tables, ottomans, chaise lounges, and other outside furnishings.


If you have a pond in your backyard or garden space, you will need to prepare and protect it to prevent problems caused by extreme temperatures. Begin by cleaning out the pond. Remove any leaves with a net, as they can rot and release dangerous chemicals in the water if left all winter. If you suspect that the water will freeze, disconnect and remove the pump and tubing and bring them inside until spring.

Outdoor Containers and Pots

Many people use containers and pots of various sizes to grow crops like basil or perennials like oregano or mint. These containers and pots can crack or break if left outdoors due to freezing temperatures. Before winter hits, move the containers or pots to a warmer area out of the wind, such as a garage or shed. To keep the plants warmer, wrap the containers in burlap or a blanket.


Each year before the freezing temperatures hit, be sure to prepare your irrigation system. Failure to do so could result in burst watering pipes and hoses. Start by draining all of the water from your garden hoses, and store the hoses in a garage or shed. Disconnect any air or water pressure systems and be sure to drain out any water. Leave the irrigation valves slightly open to avoid a buildup of pressure.