Winter home and garden tips for Australians

When winter comes around it is hard to muster any sort of enthusiasm for any outdoor activity.  Let alone feel the need to crawl around in the garden.  Understandably, when you live in thenorthernhemisphere that experiences a frosty and icy winter, gardening is not an option.  However, should you live in the southern hemisphere where winters are not as severe, you have little excuse.  Countries like Australia still have some temperate days where the sun comes out and a little gardening or outdoor chores can be taken care of.  Not saying it is not cold, but it certainly does not mean you gamble with getting frostbite while you are taking care of your garden and outdoor maintenance.

If you are someone that suffers from the winter blues, studies have recently shown that getting outdoors helps to relieve some of the symptoms.  Gardening is a great winter outdoor activity, as you can manage to find some shelter during a downpour or warm up while you go about finishing all the needed tasks.  Also, the garden is not the only element that needs taking care of during winter.  Winter takes its toll on your house and fittings as well.

Here are some tips from Pestrolon how you can take care of your garden and home during winter.

  1. Prune, snip and preen

Winter in Australia comes with wind, make sure you properly prune any tree branches that may fall into your property or on your fencing or house.  All shrubs and trees that grow close to power lines could prove a safety hazard and cause blackouts.  Make sure all foliage and branches are kept clear of any electricity infrastructure.

Please do not tackle any branches that are already incontact with any power lines.  This is extremely dangerous.  Please contact your local council for assistance in removing those branches safely.

Pruning should ideally be done before winter but during winter you can constantly make sure that any trees or branches are not causing any safety hazards.  Also, all shrubs and leafy plants will need constant cutting and maintenance during winter to make sure they are ready for the spring bloom.

  1. Clear the garden area of potential hazards

Always ensure that your yards and garden area are clear of any materials or furniture that can be hazardous during storms. Tie down any garden furniture and any loose objects that may be blown about during a storm.  Also, during winter make sure you rake up any twigs, stick, and bark.

  1. Secure roofs and repair tiles

Before and during winter, make sure you have no loose or damaged roof tiles.  Trying to fix leaks in winter is a hassle no one wants.  After storms, always check your roof again to make sure no roof tiles are missing or damaged.  Also, check and maintain your flashings.  Get rid of any blockages or rust.   Be sure to look out for any damages in the skylights, fasteners, flashings,and seams.

It is also important to ensure that no moisture can seep through any brick or mortar of the house.  Regularly check this before and during winter, and make any necessaryrepairs.

  1. Prepare the soil

Just because it is winter, does not mean nothing grows or gets ready to grow.  This is a good time to dig the space for a new vegetable patch or to get an existing patch ready for planting in spring.  Make sure the ground is weed free and well hoed to aerate it.

Winter is also a great time to plant winter vegetables such as English spinach, snow peas, and squash.

  1. Do not forget the pool

The winter season is not kind to swimming pools.  It is vital to maintain and ‘winter-ize’ your swimming pool.  Invest in a durable pool cover so you can prevent algae build-up and the collection of garden debris in the pool water.  The constant maintenance of the mechanics is also important, for example, ensure that the pool pump is in good working order.  Also, give it a good clean and vacuum before you cover it up for winter.

  1. Ban the winter blues with more color

If you, like many other people, feel that winter fills you with melancholy and sadness, you can banish the winter blues by potting some colorful blooms around you.  Some potted plants thrive in winter and give off the most amazing blooms.  Filling a spot in the garden with some color will bring cheer to any winter grump.

  1. Bring down the heating bill

Insulating your house will drastically reduce the heating bill in winter.  It is reported that insulation cuts your electricity usage by 30 percent.  Placing insulation in the ceiling will stop the heat from escaping.  The same with insulating wall cavities and outside walls.  This should be done before winter, but can also be done during winter.  You can get a professional to assist with this, as it can sometimes prove a bit of a hard task.  Ensure that you insulate all areas where air can escape such as windows and doors.

We can all agree that there is very little about winter that conjures up happy or even festive images.  However, winter is a great time to get to the little garden and home chores that the summer sun does not allow.  You can start before winter, do some prep.  The preparation will take the work out of the tasks and make it fun.  It can become a task that every member of the family can take part in and enjoy.  Besides, what better way than getting the kids away from the TV and have them spend some time outdoors?