Winter is coming faster than you think

As wonderful as the Summertime is in the Pacific Northwest, there’s something special about Fall. In just a short amount of time, the colorful leaves have fallen and mornings have become just a little bit chillier. 

But, if you’re already longing for Spring and Summer, you’re not alone! There are a few steps you can take to get your yard ready for Winter so it can bounce back faster when the warmer weather returns.

1. Prep your irrigation system

Just like the pipes inside your house, it’s important to protect the pipes and hoses connected to your irrigation system outside your house during the cold season. If you have an irrigation or sprinkler system in the garden, the first step for winterization is to turn it off altogether. After all, we aren’t expecting much growth over the next 6 months! 

From there, make sure you drain any standing water out of the pipes, which you can do in a few different ways depending on your system and how it’s put together. Check your manual to find the best way to drain your system, or contact Greenhaven Landscapes, and we can help! 

Lastly, it’s crucial to insulate any above-ground pieces, like valves and sprinkler heads, with foam or insulation tape.

2. Monitor water levels in your water feature

While it’s not necessary (or recommended) to turn your water feature completely off in the Winter, it is important to monitor water levels.

If water levels get too low (or some of the water is frozen), water won’t be flowing through the pump as it should, and your pump could burn out. Keep a close eye on your water levels throughout the winter, and add a little extra water if it gets too low.

3. Cut back (some!) plants and bushes for Spring bloom

If you have perennial plants or bushes in your yard that you want to grow back healthy next Spring, you have to cut off the dead stuff so it’s easier for the plant to sprout fresh leaves and flowers. But, there are some plants you actually shouldn’t cut back yet or they won’t grow back at all in the Spring!

Here are a few of the plants you shouldn’t prune if you have them in your garden:

  • Rhodies & azaleas 
  • Cherry blossoms
  • Crab apple trees
  • Lilacs
  • Hydrangeas

4. Move sensitive plants under cover or indoors

If you have perennial plants that are particularly sensitive to below-freezing temperatures, it may be safer to bring them indoors or inside your garage or shed for the winter. These are called tender perennials, and they are much more likely to bloom to their normal level if they are protected from the elements in the cold season.

You can dig up the bulbs or roots, plant them in a pot, and move them into a space that won’t get as cold or be exposed to snow, wind, and excessive rain. 

While not all perennials need to be moved, there are a few that do, including:

  • Geraniums
  • Cacti
  • Herbs
  • Dahlias
  • Gladiolus
  • Calla lilies

5. Trim trees (and monitor during snow)

With colder weather also comes heavy rain, wind, and probably also snow here in Vancouver, which may put your trees at risk for breakage. If you have any large branches – especially if they are close to your home – make sure to trim those back.

Or, if you can’t trim, keep an eye on those branches throughout the winter, and when snow falls, shake the branches frequently to ensure they can stay intact and not fall from heavy snow accumulation.

6. Aerate your lawn

While it’s usually better to aerate your lawn before the first freeze, it’s not too late to do it now, especially if you don’t want your lawn to become a shallow swamp this Winter! You can get a manual aerator from your local hardware or garden store, or you can hire a local landscaping company to come and use a machine to do it for you. 

Fall and Winter yard prep can feel daunting, but if you break it down into smaller tasks, it’s not so bad! 

Your Landscape Design and Construction Experts

If you’re already dreaming of next Spring and Summer to enjoy your outdoor space again, now is a great time to start thinking about your next landscape design project to get your yard ready for the next warm season. Contact the team at Greenhaven Landscapes to get started!