Gardening entails more than just planting new flowers, shrubs or veggies. If you are anxious to get outside and get started as soon as the weather gets warmer, there are plenty of things you can do during autumn and winter to prepare your garden for spring.

1. Prepare the ground for new beds

First lay five or six newspaper sheets on the bottom of the beds and then put compost on top. Several centimetres of compost will help suffocate any growth underneath the newspaper. Do this during the winter months.

2. Shop for seeds in winter

Plant seeds indoors, according to package directions, in early spring, then transplant them outdoors when any threat of frost or snow is over.

3. Cut back ornamental grasses

Do this in late winter.

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4. Prune vines and weeds away from plants, bushes and trees

Do this, too, in late winter. Completely remove any vines which threaten to choke your other plants.

5. Clean your gardening tools and supplies

Check whether you have all tools necessary for spring and summer gardening. Plan your garden and determine whether you need any new garden accessories. Service your lawn mower and sharpen any tools so that they are ready to go when spring arrives.

6. Clean all the gutters on your house

Clean gutters and drains will protect any plants that may be underneath from an overflow of water. This job is essential after autumn leaves have fallen.

7. Fix stone or rock walls or walkways not sealed with concrete or cement

If your stone or rock walls are dry stacked, the winter weather and small animals can move and shift the walls or walkways. Rake uneven ground and fill in holes where necessary.

8. Rake up the leaves left over from autumn

This will help you to get ready for grass maintenance and new planting. It is important to clean up the leaves as soon as you can, and turn them into compost for future garden use.

9. Check to see if you will need fresh mulch

Fluff up the mulch and spread it out evenly in early spring, to check whether you need more mulch around your bushes, shrubs and trees.

10. Prune or transplant perennials in early spring

Cut perennials back to the shape you want, transplant and/or divide them to be moved to another spot.

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