Backyard

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES

Autumn is a great time of year to do an audit of your backyard and get stuck into all those chores you’ve been putting off — things like recoating the deck or cleaning paths, painting the fence or giving well-worn metal outdoor furniture a fresh new look. And it’s the perfect time to tidy garden beds, trim hedges, replenish mulch and check the health of your soil and plants.

IN THE GARDEN

If you have plants in your garden, be they trees, shrubs, flowering species or edible varieties, they need year-round attention, which includes checking for pests and disease, fertilising, watering, mulching and composting. Then there’s weeding and dead-heading, pruning and trimming. Some of these tasks, such as pruning and trimming, are best done when the plants aren’t flowering or in a new growth period, which is why now is a handy time to tackle some of these maintenance jobs.

Another thing you can do now is check your mulch levels. Mulch helps reduce the amount of weed growth, insulates the soil and helps to maintain a good level of moisture around the root zones of plants. Before doing this, though, replenish soil in garden beds by digging through some compost. Compost improves the level of organic matter in

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