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9 Ways to Garden in the Fall to Prepare for Winter

Not sure how to start preparing the garden for winter? Here are 9 ways to garden in the fall to prepare for winter. And follow the garden tour at the end of this post!

With fall in full swing, the garden is showing signs that it is slowing down for the season.

It’s a bittersweet time for the gardener because, on the one hand, you want it to keep going, but on the other hand, you want a break from the grind.

Some of my perennials are dying back, others have powdery mildew on them, the leaves are changing and falling to the ground.

While the gardens still look pretty good overall, it’s time to start preparing the garden for winter.

The first frost will be here before we know it and there are some plants that need to be lifted or brought indoors before that happens.

Follow these tips to garden in the fall and get your garden ready for the next season.

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9 Ways to Garden in the Fall to Prepare for Winter

Here’s a quick list of ways to garden in the fall and start preparing for winter:

Since the growing season is coming to a close, let’s stroll the beds and see what’s happening right now.

good directions birdhouse in my cottage garden by the front porch in fall with rudbeckia, celosia and snapdragons and pansies overlooking the valley

Fall Garden Tour Before We Moved in 2021

One of the things I love to do is to look back at what happened in prior seasons to learn from my gardens.

What worked? What looks good? Did any plants have trouble? How’s the garden looking in fall? And what should I change next year.

Although these garden photos are from last year, there are a lot of things I’m planning to do this year to wrap up my new gardens for 2022 and prepare them for 2023.

One thing my new gardens need is some callicarpa and smoketree…stat!

If you want to check out my new gardens throughout the season you can see them here:

But I also share weekly pics of the gardens in my Sunday updates.

Subscribe here so you don’t miss out on the gardening inspo!

beige center hall colonials with expansive gardens of curb appeal -9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter
sedum autumn joy in fall cottage garden -9 Ways to Start Preparing the Garden for Winter

Front Entry Garden in the Fall

This fall, I tucked in some pansies, celosia, garden mums, and field trip pumpkins to ramp up the autumn vibe in the front walkway garden.

When you plant pansies in the fall, they will overwinter and bounce back in spring.

I love this gardening hack because it saves money in the garden.

Fall garden in the front yard - 9 ways to prepare the garden for winter

As far as cutting plants back for the season, most of this garden will remain intact so the birds can eat the seed from the dried flower heads.

I also leave it intact for the winter to add interest because snow will sit on the dead plants instead of flat ground.

Thus, I will not cut this garden back until spring.

dahlias in the front yard fall garden

I do need to lift the Dahlias and other tender perennials soon.

They are tender in New Jersey and won’t survive the winter outdoors.

HERE‘s how I will do it.

black lab on front steps of center hall colonial overlooking front yard gardens in fall9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter

There isn’t much that I am moving around in this garden; however, I do need to dig, divide and replant my Siberian Iris.

It has huge holes in the center of the plant, which is the plant’s way of telling me to divide it to keep it happy and healthy.

front porch in fall with pumpkins and cornstalks on beautiful autumn day in the gardenPreparing the Garden for Fall
My garden in fall 2019

It’s amazing how different the garden looks in just a few years right?

I love to try different things with my front porch and seasonal annuals and it makes all the difference.

close up of pumpkins and gourds on front porch with planters decorated for fall -Preparing the Garden for Winter
Fall Porch 2019

Right now, the garden mums, sedum autumn joy, and foliage colors create such an autumnal vibe.

You guys know how much I love sedum autumn joy because I talk about it all the time.

Front yard gardens of center hall colonial with black door in fall in new jersey gardenbricks 'n blooms weekly

There are so many types of sedums, but I love sedum autumn joy the most because it is readily available and perfect for beginner gardeners.

Watch this video to learn more about sedum autumn joy.

YouTube video

Sedum Autumn Joy’s color is one of the reasons this plant is one of my favorites and a must-have for anyone wanting a garden that is always in bloom.

The color and texture that this plant adds through the seasons is incredible and it is a low maintenance plant to boot.

sedum autumn joy in fall close up in cottage garden -Preparing the Garden for Winter

But overall the fall garden colors look amazing this season.

I’m really happy with how this garden has progressed through the years.

front yard gardens with cottage garden flowers in fall with black lab on front porch of center hall colonial in new jersey garden9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter
Sedum autumn joy close up -Preparing the Garden for Winter

The Mailbox Garden in the Fall

The mailbox garden was pretty low maintenance this fall.

I tucked in some fall annuals to fill in the gaps.

But overall I left this bed alone and it still looks amazing!

sedum autumn joy and garden mums in front yard gardens for curb appeal in fall -fall mailbox garden - 9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter

Here’s a look back at the mailbox garden in 2019.

Not too much has changed, except I started gardening more in the bed on the other side of the driveway.

fall garden around mailbox -Preparing the Garden for Winter

The Well Garden in Autumn

I love this garden now.

It used to just be a mish-mash of plants to hide the well equipment, but it’s been looking better and better every year.

Still one of my favorite ornamental shrubs, callicarpa puts on quite a show in fall with these bright purple berries and yellowing foliage.

close up of Callicarpa purple berries - beautyberry
How gorgeous are these berries on Callicarpa (Beautyberry)?

How gorgeous are these berries on Callicarpa (Beautyberry)?

I think the birds love them as much as I do.

well garden in fall with grasses, garden mums, limelight hydrangea and beautyberry with smoke tree9 ways to prepare the garden for winter

Because I planted SO MANY flowers that I grew from seed in spring, I just tucked a few garden mums and pansies in this garden to fill in the gaps.

This garden already has quite a bit going on so I tucked in a few fall flowers to keep the autumn vibe going while the other plants faded out.

Two of my favorites in this garden are my limelight hydrangea and smoketree.

Close up of limelight hydrangea flowers in fall -9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter

I just love the contrast of the yellowing foliage and flowers of the limelight with the dark foliage of smoketree.

Both accent the fall garden well and I can’t wait to see how they change even more as fall progresses.

Close up of limelight hydrangea flower as blooms fade -9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter limelight hydrangea

Backyard Gardens in the Fall

The backyard gardens are winding down but still look amazing!.

The deck is still getting used, but the houseplants are making their way indoors.

close up of christmas cactus, dumbcane and spider plant on deck before bringing indoors for the winter-Preparing the Garden for Winter
I brought all of these houseplants indoors over the weekend. The Peace Lily in front was wilting and looked really sad after a super chilly evening. Now that it’s indoors, it is much happier.

I still have a few houseplants outside that are so big I almost don’t know what to do with them.

But this year, they will overwinter in the basement with grow lights because I just don’t have the room for them on the main floor.

Outdoor dining space on deck decorated for fall with fresh flower centerpiece cut from garden and outdoor area rug -how to set a cozy fall harvest table

Most of the shrubs in that border have brilliant fall color so it’s just a matter of time before the foliage brightens up the landscape for one last time.

I do not cut much back in these beds either.

Yes, it is a lot to clean up in spring, but I don’t mind.

Shade garden with hostas and hellebores -9 ways to prepare the garden for winter

I prefer to feed the birds and have something interesting to look at during the winter.

The backyard border is not as vibrant as it was a few weeks ago. But the fall color is about to kick in for the final show of the season.

shade garden with hostas and stinking hellebore -Preparing the Garden for Winter

The cottage garden in front of my shed still looks gorgeous.

My dahlias are all still blooming.

garden shed with beautiful cut flower garden in fall with sedum autumn joy, dahlias and ornamental grass with pumpkins9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter

Even Cafe Au Lait decided to finally bloom.

Better late than never I guess.

close up of cafe au lait dahlia - Dahlias in cottage garden -Planting for fall garden beauty with dahlias

But my sedum autumn joy looks gorgeous back here with the ornamental grass.

And have I mentioned lately how glad I am that we swapped out the old fencing for this picket fence?

close up of garden shed with cottage garden and windowboxes filled with fall garden flowers9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter

That small change this year made such a difference.

The inside of the cut flower garden has been completely cleaned out.

I’ll be adding some compost and leaf mold to it soon.

backyard garden with garden shed, arbor and raised beds with vegetables -9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter

The vegetable garden had such a productive season this year in my new raised garden beds.

You can hear all about these awesome beds HERE.

Close up of oak leaf hydrangea leaves in fall - 9 ways to prepare the garden for winter
Close up of Oak Leaf Hydrangea leaves as it changes in fall

How are You Preparing the Garden For Winter?

Have you started closing your garden for the season yet?

I’m busy in the gardens digging, dividing and moving plants around hear at the new house. And since it’s cooling down more and more every day, I brought all of the my houseplants indoors for the season. Many of which are in the sunroom.

Tell me what you are doing in the comments below.

close up of shade garden in fall with oak leaf hydrangea9 ways to prepare the garden for winter

Looking for More Flower Garden Ideas?

If you love flowers and want to grow more in your garden, here are some posts that will get you on your way.

From tucking in flowering plants that are deer-resistant or ones that attract more butterflies and hummingbirds, to shade-loving flowers like the lenten rose, these posts will get you on your way to growing a garden that will bring joy for years to come.

Here are more cut flower and cottage garden growing tips, tricks, and design inspiration.

view of the front porch cottage garden with sugar pumpkins, sedum autumn joy, rudbeckia, celosia and snapdragons

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close up of new jersey gardens in the fall with fall garden flowers and plants

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Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with wood picket fence in front of garden shed

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    1. you can when it’s small but I wouldn’t do it now. You can add a plant support to prop it up and may want to divide it in fall.