Garden protection and safety during winter

During winter, your garden may need extra care to ensure that certain areas, plants or features are not damaged by severe weather conditions such as snow and frost.
There are a number of steps that you can take to not only protect your garden but to transform your garden into a safe environment for yourself and others during winter.

Make sure that you provide your plants with plenty of protection.
Move your tender plants into a sheltered area such as a heated greenhouse or a set of cold frames.
Any tender plants that have been damaged by frost should also be moved into a sheltered area.

Gabriel Ash offers a selection of cold frames that are designed to keep plants at their best during winter and all year round.
In addition to caring for your plants, you will also need to protect certain garden features such as ponds or fountains from the cold weather. Leaving your pond unprotected could result in it freezing over, leaving any fish or pond plants without oxygen. Ice can also damage certain types of ponds, such as concrete base ponds.

If you own a koi pond, then consider installing a pond heater to maintain a warmer temperature. You can also monitor koi or fish pond temperatures by installing a thermometer.
There are a number of temperature devices available that are suitable for use in ponds.
If your garden pond does freeze over, then avoid breaking the ice, as this can not only be dangerous to your fish but will also cause damage to the pond.
Instead, place a saucepan full of boiling water on the ice to allow it to melt slowly. Boiling water will also help to remove ice from other water features, such as fountains.  
Frost or snow can also cause damage to other garden features and tools, so store these away during winter. Garden ornaments such as gnomes should be stored away in a shed, greenhouse or other storage area, as the frost can cause them to crack.

The winter period is an ideal time to replace or service your garden tools. Making sure that your tools are kept in good condition will make them ready for use as soon as the spring season arrives.
If your tools do not need replacing or servicing, keep them stored away for the winter to prevent them from becoming damaged by the frost or snow.

During winter, there are steps that you can take to encourage wildlife to your garden. Adding bird feeders or bird baths will help to attract wildlife and will keep your garden looking lively during winter.
Provide birds with plenty of food, water and shelter and be sure to keep your bird bath in good condition by breaking or melting any ice when it freezes over.
Consider adding nest boxes to your garden during the winter.

In weather conditions such as frost or snow, there is an increased risk of accidents in the garden. Create a safer environment in your garden by making sure any paths or steps in your front or back garden are kept clear to prevent them from becoming slippery. Clear any snow from other areas or objects, such as garden gates or greenhouse panes.

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