9 Tips to Care for Your UK Lawn in the Winter 

By  Enda

Few UK gardeners look forward to the winter months. The rain is usually the first to come. That may well be welcomed initially, but often there is just too much of it. In the deep heart of winter though comes the frost and snow. We thought we would offer some winter lawn care tips, through this difficult season.

For most home owners Winter is a very quiet time in the gardening world. For some people that is a relief of course, but for keen gardeners, this is a time to do some useful preparation work. If you know how to care for your garden in the colder months, then when Spring time arrives, you can reap the benefits.

Top Tips On Winter Lawn Care

There are some tasks that you can do in the winter months from around November to February. Now it depends on which part of the UK that you live. Clearly the more Northern parts, will as a general rule, be colder than those in the South of the country. However, you should be able at some stage to do these tasks.

Tip 1 - Weeding Time

There is no better time to get rid of those larger weeds like dandelions, nettles, bittercress and chickweed. Take advantage of milder winter days to remove any existing weeds. It's easier to pull them out when the soil is damp but not waterlogged.

Apply a layer of mulch around your plants to suppress weed growth. This not only helps with weed control but also insulates the soil, protecting plant roots from freezing temperatures. Think about using weed fabric or ground cover around plants to inhibit weed growth. This is especially useful in areas where you don't plan to plant anything new during the winter.

Take the time to inspect your garden regularly and manually remove any weeds that appear. This prevents them from establishing themselves and spreading. Be aware that some weeds are active during the winter, so it's important to stay vigilant. 

Keep pathways and walkways clear of weeds. This not only improves the appearance of your garden but also prevents weed seeds from spreading to other areas.

Tip 2 - Tidy Up Time

This is the thing that I do the most of in winter in the UK. After the Summer and Autumn, there will likely have been a lot of activity in the gardens. Winter is the time to tidy everything up, and begin that by doing a general sweep of the gardens. I look for anything that should now be in the bin.

I also keep an eye out for any tools that may have been accidentally left out. I also make any notes on my mobile phone of any small or larger jobs that may need doing. My final act in this general look around is to remove any dead leaves from the lawn, as that allows the grass to breathe better.

Tip 3 - Patio & Deck Furniture

Many gardeners will take their furniture indoors in late Autumn or early Winter. Personally, I store my chairs, tables, decking lamps, ornaments, BBQ etc in my garage and a shed. Before doing that, it is important to give all of them a really good clean.

That makes putting them back out again a more pleasant task.  I also recommend brushing and washing down any patios or decking before the onset of Winter.

Tip 4 - Servicing Your Tools

I like to clean my tools after every use. Now, I do know many people who don't do that. Winter is great times to give them their annual once over. Service tools like your lawnmower, clippers, trimmers, etc. A quick clean and a few drops of oil is really all it takes, and that will add years to the lifetime of your tools. You should also check any electric tools for safety.

Tip 5 - Fences & Railings

If you have fences, railings or gates, the start of Winter is a great time to check how solid and safe they are. Most winters in the UK, we get strong winds and bad weather. Make sure they are all secure. Just before winter is also a great time to paint them with as that offers significant protection.

Tip 6 - Cultivating the Soil - November is Best

This needs to be done before the onset of the very heavy rain, or heavy frosts. If you have garden beds, or borders this is the time to turn them over with a spade. That allows the soil to breathe and get air in and around it. A digging fork is best for doing this task rather than a spade.

With heavy clay, leave it rough for the clods to weather. Lighter or sandy soils simply need to be turned over. You can also add any organic materials into the soil at this time.

Tip 7 - Make Leaf Mould & Compost

Rake up or vacuum up any fallen leaves and use those to make compost. You just need to stack those in a moist position, and then allow them to rot fully for about 12-18 months. These types of leaves make a great compost at this stage.

Tip 8 - Laying New Lawns

using a garden fork on the lawn

This is the time to lay new lawns from turf. If the weather is suitable, the soil conditions are right and there is good drainage, there is no better time. You can also drain existing lawns at this time. Make a series of small holes in the lawn surface that will take away excess rain.

Things to Avoid Doing

You shouldn't feed your lawn in late Autumn or during the Winter months. Most gardeners know that when you feed a lawn, you encourage growth. That is not something you want to do. The cold weather will simply kill off young growth, and also damage you lawn in the long term.

Although not always possible, try not to walk on grass that has frost on it. Temperatures can drop quickly in the winter months, and frosts also happen quickly. There is not much we can do to prevent that.


I am someone who enjoys a little gardening. Now I am not someone who spend hours in the garden, but I do like both my front and back gardens to look really nice. Well kept lawns, neatly trimmed hedges, and borders filled with plants, make a huge difference, to how your property looks.

Enda McLarnon

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