If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, you may be responsible for keeping it tidy, under the terms of your tenancy agreement.
However, this doesn't need to mean hours of hard work (unless you enjoy gardening!), there are simple steps you can take to ensure your landlord’s garden stays looking reasonably neat and saves your deposit.
Winter is generally an easier season when it comes to gardening, with minimal work needed, but there are some simple steps to take if you want it to continue to look its best in the springtime.
1. Have a tidy-up
Removing weeds at this time of year is a good idea, as it will prevent them coming back with a vengeance in the spring. How long this takes will depend on how much care you gave the garden in summer and how big your garden is.
All you should need, for a small garden, is a hand trowel and a pair of gloves, plus a little elbow grease! Pull out the weeds by their roots and put them in a bag, ready to go straight in the bin. The last thing you want is seeds escaping and making their way back into your garden. If there are any dead flowers, pull off the dead heads and discard.
If you have any particularly vicious weeds, weed killer might help - but this should be a last resort if you’re new to gardening, you don’t want to kill off your landlord’s established plants in the process. Make sure you do your research first and read the label properly.
Once you’re done, spread a layer of mulch, compost or manure over the soil. This’ll insulate it and keep the bulbs underneath cosy during the coldest months.
2. Look after the lawn
If you've got a lawn, you’ll hopefully have been keeping it well trimmed throughout the year. If not, get cutting that grass!
Once it’s tidy, start aerating it – some areas of the lawn will have become compacted and solid after a lot of use in the summer months – aeration will help it breathe and prevent weeds. If you've got a garden fork, make holes in the lawn as deep as you can (give it a wiggle too), every 10cm.
If not, improvise with an old pair of stilettos, golf shoes or football boots, the results might not be the same but it’s better than nothing!
3. Feed the birds (and other critters!)
Last but not least, don’t forget about the wildlife – this doesn't necessarily help with your obligations as a tenant, but it’s nice to pop some bird-feeders out in the garden. If you’re feeling creative, why not make your own? The RSPB has loads of ideas and a free guide on simple ways you can introduce more wildlife to your garden.
Many animals and birds can find it really difficult to source food in winter – especially if it snows or the ground is frozen. What’s more, not only are they lovely to watch, but they’ll eat any winter insects that are feasting on your landlord’s plants.