How to freshen up your garden for fall

With fall fast approaching, there couldn’t be a better time to enjoy the changing seasons.

Maybe you’ve taken your foot off the gardening pedal – spending more hours lounging among your flowerbeds than weeding them out, and their floral charm might start to fade.

However, a few clever moves now will brighten things up and reward your garden tenfold in the spring. Here’s what Marcus Eyles, Horticultural Manager at Dobbies (, recommends you do to freshen up your containers and borders this fall…


Whether you have a large garden, a compact patio or an urban balcony, Eyles says it’s easy to give your outdoor space an instant seasonal refresh with colorful containers.

“Upgrade your garden for the new season by refreshing pots and hanging baskets with plants like pansies, violas and wallflowers,” he says. “These beautiful blooms will last all winter and brighten your garden with color in the colder months – then burst into full bloom in spring.”

He says the fall-flowering saffron crocus is a fantastic choice for those looking to add color and interest to their containers, and this striking flower should be planted with a good quality peat-free compost.

“Spring-flowering bulbs such as snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and tulips should also be planted now for a colorful display that will begin blooming in early spring next year,” suggests Eyles.

To protect your potted plants from the elements as we enter colder, windier months, he recommends placing the pots near your doorstep – and that will allow you to enjoy the plants up close too.

Beds and borders

One of the most important seasons in the gardening world, the start of autumn is the perfect time to refresh your flower beds and borders – perhaps by introducing warm colors.

“Bring iconic fall colors, such as ocher and orange, to your outdoor space by planting chrysanthemums, crocosmia and rudbeckia,” encourages Eyles.

“Seasonal plants like echinacea, anemone, and hebe will bring shades of purple, pink, and white to really grab attention — and create a stunning display that will last you all fall.”

Meanwhile, he says ornamental grasses and hydrangea flowers should be left on the plants to protect them through the winter – plus they look great against the frost on a winter morning.

“Leaving your borders with foliage and flower stems will also encourage wildlife to thrive and give them space to shelter in the colder months,” he says.

When working on your flower beds and borders in the fall, he suggests mulching well with peat-free compost or Bloomin Amazing — a peat-free organic mulch — to ensure good soil health and help keep weeds at bay.

Ornamental trees and shrubs

Fall is also the perfect time to take stock of your garden and examine its overall appearance. If you’re not sure where to start or need some inspiration, Eyles says ornamental trees are the perfect way to add height and interest.

“Evergreen shrubs like viburnum tinus and skimmia will add lovely blooms and wonderful fragrance and structure to your garden,” suggests Eyles. “They work well planted in both borders and containers.”

He continues, “These trees will complement shrubs like acers, cotinus and climbing parthenocissus, which bring the fiery shades of fall foliage at this time of year.”