It’s been a hot, dry summer so now is the time to turn your thoughts towards what your garden needs in the coming months as the nights draw in and temperatures dip.

First of all, tidying the bedding, ensuring everything is clear and laying down the right groundwork now, will help your garden reach its full springtime potential.

Think about putting away your garden furniture and accessories in a shed, or if space is limited perhaps consider a wall store which can be placed in an alleyway, or a tool chest for storage of small items.

Or buy a waterproof cover to keep the worst of the weather off during the cold months.

If your shed needs some attention now is the time to re-felt the roof and insulate it as much as you can.

Also consider fitting some gutters to protect your wooden shed from excess rainfall.

Your garden fences and posts will also benefit from a coat of good quality wood preservative.

Simply sand off any old, flaking stain or dirt from dry surfaces and apply.

Give your decking a good clean and apply a preservative or stain, decking oil and decking protector, to help prevent moisture damage and mould growth when the winter storms threaten.

If you have a greenhouse then pay some attention to the glass panels and doors.

As the nights draw in, make the most of the available light by scrubbing shade paint from your greenhouse windows.

This lets more of the sun’s rays through the glass, helping winter temperatures to climb that little bit higher, saving you money on heating.

A bucket of hot water and some elbow grease is all it takes to bring the glass up sparkling clean. Now’s a good time to check and replace damaged panes, and clear your greenhouse gutters too.

To ensure a vibrant display in your garden for next spring, dig up annuals and plant your beds with pansies, bellis daisies and wallflowers. Cut back faded perennials to 5cm above ground level, but don’t be too tidy – attractive seed heads are great for insects, look wonderful covered in autumn dew, and provide handsome winter silhouettes.

Once your borders are clean and tidy, spread a thick layer of compost, bark chips or well–rotted manure. Don’t worry about digging it in – let the worms do the hard work for you.

The autumn clear up of borders and vegetable plots always generates a lot of plant material for your compost heap. Now is the ideal time to clear out last year’s compost and use it around the garden, making room for this year’s waste.

If your compost isn’t quite ready, turn it to improve decomposition, and create a new heap next to it for fresh organic matter. You can never have too much compost.

Before you store your lawn mower at the back of the shed for the winter, it’s well worth sending it for a service to ensure it’s in perfect condition when you need it next spring.

Shears and secateurs need sharpening – do this yourself or send them away if you prefer – while spades, forks, and other tools benefit from a good wash.

Dry everything thoroughly and oil metal parts to prevent rust. Wooden handles can be cleaned and protected with linseed oil – but do dispose of rags carefully as linseed can combust as it dries.

Now your autumn garden is clean, tidy and ready for winter.

The common saying ‘so much to do in so little time’ rings true with many people but fear not as the advertisers on this page are keen to help lighten your workload.

Think and plan now so you’re ready for the chill in forthcoming months.