Fall Gardening Ideas

As the season turns to autumn, it’s time to spruce up your garden. Add vegetables like kale and frost-tolerant coralbells to beds and containers. In this easy fall container idea, yellow flowers and foliage with similar hues make a vivid statement.

It’s also time to plant spring bulbs (except tulips) and other perennials and shrubs in the landscape. Plus, rake leaves to mulch and protect vegetables and lawns from winter freeze.

Succulent Garden

A succulent garden is an easy way to add color and texture to the landscape. These drought-tolerant plants have thick leaves that store moisture. They need to be in well-draining soil, so they can avoid root rot and other fungal issues.

Some succulents like cactus can’t handle full sun exposure and will get sunburned. Others, like Sempervivums, Sedums and Kalanchoes, thrive in bright sunlight. Make sure the plants are properly spaced to avoid overcrowding, which may lead to leggy succulents.

Tree Garden

While many homeowners focus on spring planting, fall offers a great opportunity to add trees to your garden. Planting new trees in the fall gives the roots time to grow before winter.

Consistent rainfall often arrives with autumn’s cool temperatures, making it easier to keep newly planted trees watered than in soggy spring. This helps plants avoid stress and promotes root growth.

Choose slow-growing tree varieties, like the Washington hawthorn (Carya dactylifera) that offers spring flowers and bright red fruit for wildlife, or the paperbark maple (Acer griseum), which provides blazing autumn color.

Color-Changing Garden

Fall is an ideal time to plant new trees and shrubs. The combination of warm soil and cool air encourages root growth, giving the plant a good start before winter sets in.

Native species like the flame sumac (Rhus glabra) and blackgums (Nyssa sylvatica) display spectacular, sometimes blinding, color. Planting them with other deciduous plants that display contrasting fall colors adds visual interest to your garden.

Putting the vegetable garden to bed in fall allows you to focus on planning next year’s crop. Evaluate the garden, taking into account what worked well and where improvements could be made.

Fall Flower Garden

The cool temperatures of fall are ideal for planting warm-colored annual flowers, such as pansies and chrysanthemums. These plants will be ready to bloom again when spring arrives.

Fall is a great time to plant a vegetable garden, too. Try vegetables like kale, arugula and spinach that thrive in nippier temperatures. Add a layer of compost in early September to help enrich the soil and reduce erosion. Make sure to use a mix that contains native plants, which are better adapted to your climate.

Fall Porch Garden

The cool temperatures of fall make it an ideal time to plant a porch garden. Fill containers with colorful foliage plants like croton, or add flowers in bright autumn colors.

Replace tired-looking summer annuals with perennials and other hardy fall flowering plants like ornamental cabbage, kale, and grasses. Add a pop of color with purple asters. Tuck a few golden pumpkins among the plantings for a fall-ready display.

Chrysanthemum Garden

The chrysanthemum plant adds a pop of color to the autumn garden. Look for “garden mums” rather than the more expensive florist varieties when buying your fall plants. Garden chrysanthemums are cold hardy and grow quickly.

This is a great time to finish up gardening chores like pruning roses, moving slightly tender perennials into the ground, and planting shrubs, trees, flowers and fruit bushes. Clean sprayers and store them in a dry area.

Window Garden

A garden window is an excellent place to plant herbs, flowers and vegetables. Depending on the size of your windowsill, you may be able to create a herb garden that matches your kitchen’s décor.

Fall is an ideal time to lay down mulch around the base of plants and perennials. Mulching helps to keep soil warm while seeds, spring bulbs and root systems are growing. It also protects them during winter weather.

Pumpkin Garden

There are many different types of pumpkins and squash that can be grown in the garden. Planting them in the fall lets you enjoy their colors, textures and flavors throughout the winter.

To help them grow, mix aged manure or compost into your soil. Test your soil and amend it where necessary for ideal conditions.

Like other vegetable crops, pumpkins require pollination to form fruit. To encourage this, hand pollinate the flowers by transferring the stamen to female blossoms while they are open.

Stair Garden

Fall’s cool air temperatures help ease the garden’s summer heat stress. Colder nighttime temperatures alert the plants that winter is coming and they begin focusing energy on underground development like roots, while limiting tender new top growth that would be damaged by cold weather.

Consistent rainfall also arrives with fall’s cool temperatures, making gardening much easier than during soggy springs when soil is packed tightly and unable to absorb water easily. Soil amendments also become available, which can improve the physical nature of your soil by reducing compaction and aerating it so that water and nutrients can move freely throughout the ground.