Matt Leacy’s top tips for autumn and winter landscaping success

Cost-effective design ideas and tips for creating a beautiful garden

Matt Leacy, founder and creative director of Landart Landscapes and president of the LNA Master Landscapes Association shares his expertise for getting your outdoor space ready for the cooler weather. Whether it’s a simple plant update or bigger construction features, here’s what you need to know.


Enclosed outdoor spaces

Autumn and winter often means more rain and wind. To get more out of your outdoor entertaining space, build enclosed walls to keep the elements out. Walls and ceilings can create privacy and control the amount of sun, wind and shade.



“A backyard pavilion can provide the perfect space for outdoor gatherings and entertaining. Not only do they protect tables, chairs, pots and plants, but they also mean less ongoing maintenance as the walls offer protection from dirt and dust.” Matt Leacy, Landart Landscapes

(Credit: Simon Whitbread)

Fire pit

A roaring fire not only provides much-needer warmth when outdoors in winter, but also lights up a space really well, which enables you to make full use of furniture and keep the party going longer. Consider the size and style as you want it to fit your space and garden aesthetic. Matt Leacy recommends looking at a built-in that can also double as a coffee table in the warmer months or just a basic iron or steel bowl.

Gardening tips

While the need for ongoing maintenance, such as mowing, might reduce it doesn’t come to a complete stop. If your grass is looking a little dull in winter, supplement their natural loss of air, water and light. For large areas a motorised aerator will do the job, while for smaller spaces a garden fork or spiked aerator shoes will suffice. Poke the garden fork halfway into the lawn and give it a wobble every 200mm.

Fertilise your plants with an organic slow-release compost but be careful not to over do it as fertiliser makes the soil more acidic. Test your soil with a pH test kit every other season. If it is too acidic, try adding some dolomite lime.

Next, pull out all the weeds and thatch, which is a buildup of dead grass leaves. Simply rake over your grass to remove it. Adding mulch will help keep your plants warm and reduce the need for nutrients, water and stop weeds growing.

Plants need lots of natural lights so trim back any large trees that create shade and leave the grass a little longer when mowing to encourage more photosynthesis.

Finally, prune your garden vista. Pruning helps remove dead or diseased wood that stifles growth and helps maintain the architecture of the tree. Start by pruning no more than a third and see how it goes.

(Credit: natale hunfalvay)

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