Winter garden maintenance

Are you a fine-weather gardener, whose idea of winter gardening involves plant catalogues and a large mug of tea?  We hate to break it to you but, actually, you’re missing a trick!  Far from hanging up the secateurs in October, the most productive gardeners are using the time when (most of) their plants are having a rest to get into some serious garden projects.  Let’s bust some myths about what you can – or can’t – do in your garden in the winter!

It's too cold to lay turf in winter, right?  Wrong!

Winter as actually a really good time to lay turf.  It allows the grass to establish its root systems before the warmer weather arrives, when you’ll want to walk on it.  It will grow more slowly, meaning you’re less likely to need to disturb it by mowing.  Weeds also tend to grow less in winter, giving the new lawn less competition.  As long as the soil is not actually frozen or water-logged, you may get better results laying turf in cooler weather than at other times of year. 

If you’re not sure how to lay turf, one of our suppliers, Rolawn, provide this helpful advice.
You can find our Lawncare Calendar here and tips on repairing your lawn here

You wouldn’t lay a patio in winter, though?  Yes, we would!


Rather like turf, laying a patio or any kind of paving is best done when you don’t want to walk on it for a while, which is usually during the colder months.  As your garden will also have less over-hanging plant material around, it can also mean that it’s easier to see where paths or patios need to go.

A few words of caution: you do need to keep an eye on the weather forecast, especially if you are using a cement or mortar mix. Concrete mixes won’t go off (harden) properly if the weather is lower than about 5’C (41’F) so either plan to do the work when the weather is forecast to be at least that or cover the area with an old, thick carpet or similar to provide some frost protection.  If heavy rain is forecast, protect your work with a groundsheet to give it a chance to set before it gets washed away.

Could I dig a pond in the winter?  Yes!

Winter is a great time to create a new pond or water feature, especially a wildlife pond as it will have time to settle before the breeding season for many species starts in the spring.  Without summer’s abundant foliage, you’ll be able to see where to dig and all the muddy edges will have greened up by the time you want to use the garden again in the warmer weather. Chances are there will also be more rain in winter to help fill your new pond up naturally!

Of course, digging water-logged or frozen soil by hand isn’t much fun so it could be a great excuse to hire a mini-digger (which will also get the job done more quickly in the shorter daylight hours!). 

What about building or repairing fences and other structural elements? Do it!

Once again, winter is a good time to put up, repair or repaint fence posts, panels, pergolas and other garden structures.  In most part, this is because they are less likely to have plants growing over them or being where you want to work so it just makes the job simpler.  It’s likely that you can see any problems better and get to them to treat or paint them when they are plant-free.

The words of caution above may still apply, of course. If you have to dig new post holes, choose your equipment wisely and, if you’re cementing anything in, check the forecast to ensure it will go off properly. But, otherwise, there is nothing to stop you.

So, can you plant things in winter, too? Yes!

It’s not just turf that can thrive when planted in winter, there are many other plants that prefer being moved when they are dormant.  Hedging – whether bare-rooted or potted – can establish well in cooler months; fruit bushes, like bare-root raspberry canes, will prefer it; and bare-root roses can be planted right up to around March (depending on the weather) and do well on it.  And that’s before we even mention winter bedding plants or bulbs!  So don’t think that you have to live with a ‘barren’ garden over the winter, there is much that can be planted to help fill it up.

Too many of us close the back door on our gardens when the weather turns colder, only to think about them again in the spring, when suddenly there is too much to do.  So we hope we’ve convinced you that winter is a good time for gardening but there is another option, of course: contact the Hambrooks Maintenance team for a quote. They can come and do the hard work while you enjoy your tea and plant catalogues!




N. Haggard 20 September 2022

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how delighted I am with my new garden.

Jon, my designer, listened to my ideas and delivered on everything I asked for. I wanted something different to any garden I’d had before, no lawn, no landscaping but packed with plants. He designed such a lovely secret garden, around a statement tree. And I have to commend him for his unwavering patience! I changed my mind a hundred times but never did he give me the impression that he was losing patience with my endless indecision. And my confidence in him led me to place an order for over £10k.

My landscaping team, Blade and Tony, were exceptional, from their work ethic, skill and knowledge, to the way they dealt with me, the customer. My standards are very high and I couldn’t fault them.

All in all, a very professional team of people. And it showed that they all care. I’m over the moon with the finished result. I will send you a before and after photo. Thank you so much.

A delighted customer.

G. Gray. May 2022

My front garden has been transformed by Andy and Bradley who both worked incredibly hard and I am delighted with the result. Andy had the vision and skill to turn my idea into reality and I can't thank him enough.

C. Haig Sept 2021

We recently had our garden landscaped by Hambrooks and I just wanted to pass on my thanks, not just for the outcome - which is superb - but for the professionalism of all the staff involved on the job who are all a credit to you company. Mike, Dave, Les and Adam.

H. Sharp Sept 2021

I just wanted to let you know how delighted I am with my new garden. Melanie was a delight to work with and the ideas she had have worked perfectly. Also Sheldon laid the patio beautifully and him and Dave were a pleaseure to have at my house. Quiet workers and polite.

B. Rendell April 2021

I would like to say how delighted we are with the work carried out. Mel, Paul and Tony all worked very hard, they totally took on board the specific need relating to safety as well as the general garden issues. Paul and Tony were excellent at consulting and discussing with me what I felt best in terms of the brief and adjusting if and as necessary, constantly pleasant and polite to deal with. Mel had picked up on particular issues from the first consultation and offered valuable advice. The outcome means a great deal less worry for me going forward.
Altogether a very positive experience and outcome which I would not hesitate to recommend to others.

Stephen March 2021

Dom and Adam's work (garden maintenance) is greatly appreciated. Dom really listened to everything we discussed very carefully and went out of his way to understand and then act upon that discussion. We are extremely pleased with the work done - both to the pond and pyracantha.


We have been coming to Hambrooks for years and it's our favourite garden centre because of its friendly helpful staff and a great selection of plants and trees and the garden design ideas.

“We wanted to write and say how pleased we are with our low maintenance garden makeover. We are very impressed with the attitude of your staff who were prepared to listen to our requirements. Your team John and Rick brushed up and left everything tidy at the end of the day. We now have a garden we can manage and it looks great. THANK YOU HAMBROOKS.”

Mr & Mrs Venables, Southampton. April 2019

“Dear Josh & Mike We just want to say you both did a brilliant job of designing our garden along with the guys who did the work who were amazing. A few weeks on its looks even better now some of the plants are blooming. Thank you!!”

Mr & Mrs Gazzard, Winchester July 2019

“To James, John & Rikki. Thank you so much, we are delighted with our new garden. We really appreciate the attention to detail, the high quality workmanship and the standard of the finished project. We are amazed at how John & Rikki resolved the difficulties of the site and by the quality of their craftmanship. It was a pleasure to work with them and thank you for making our ideas into something we will enjoy for years to come.”