front elevation of a home and landscape

Landscape design and construction by Father Nature Landscapes

September 22 marked the first day of fall 2020. This most enjoyable season is an important one for your garden, so follow this simple checklist to make the most of it.

1 | Fertilize shrubs to boost their roots before they go dormant for winter.

2 | Perennials should be deadheaded (old blooms removed) and clipped of spent leaves and weak stalks.

3 | Plant veggies for cool/cold weather. Arugula, kale, broccoli, beets, radishes, and Brussels sprouts are all excellent. Herbs include parsley, thyme, rosemary, and sage.

close of up garden gate and a fall container planted with rosemary and thyme

If you don’t have a kitchen garden, plant herbs such as rosemary and thyme in containers.

4 | Plan for seasonal color.

Fall is also when seasonal color plantings are done, but wait until the average daytime temperatures are below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool-weather bloomers such as pansies and violas can brighten a gray day, but will not perform well in warm temperatures. Spring-blooming snapdragons often put on a fall show as well. Planting popular spring and summer bloomers such as poppies and foxglove in autumn gives these plants time to establish themselves before bloom time, and their foliage adds off-season interest.

a raised stone bed planted with a variety of low and medium height plants, some in bloom

Establish plants in autumn when temperatures are cool and reap the benefits of seasonal color year round.

5 | Add mulch. I suggest using mini nuggets and/or pine straw to snuggle around your plants as a way to keep tender roots warm throughout the winter.

6 | Most of all, enjoy being outside in cooler temperatures on those beautiful sunny fall days!

A pea gravel patio fo the side of a home offers outdoor seating and a fire pit.

A fire pit extends the season of your outdoor living spaces. S’mores, anyone?

By Daniel McCurry | Photography by Reed Brown | Landscape design and construction by Father Nature Landscapes, located in Birmingham and Mobile Bay, Alabama, and Tacoma, Washington. Learn more at

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