Homes - Gardens

Post-patio: 5 tips to bring life back to your yard

Enjoy the outdoors long after patio season has passed.

Check out these beautiful autumn bulbs to add to your garden

Stow your bins General tidying tops many fall to-do lists, and a great place to start is with recycling boxes, compost bins and garbage cans. Keep them handy but hidden in a specially designed wooden shed. Build your own or check out Bin Solutions (Toronto, 416-849-2467; binsolutions.ca) for an entire line of raccoon-proof waste and recycling storage systems in handcrafted red western cedar.

Turn up the heat Strategically placed patio heaters or an outdoor fireplace can make your yard the perfect spot to spend a crisp autumn evening. If you're tight on space, cosy up with tabletop patio heaters that are lightweight and portable.

Defy the dark As the days get shorter, light up the night with solar-powered patio lanterns or accent lights. They're eco-friendly and easy to install, with no wiring to worry about. Look for lights with energy-efficient LED bulbs and built-in photo sensors so your garden will glow automatically at dusk. You'll find many solar garden lighting options at RONA Home & Garden (rona.ca for stores).

Add copper highlights Give your garden a fresh look for fall with an element of copper. Be it a bird bath, obelisk or trellis, multitasking copper pieces acquire a wonderful patina over time and add interest to your garden year-round. Lee Valley Tools (800-267-8767 for stores, catalogue and to order; leevalley.com) has a wide selection, including a graceful pyramid and a storage pot designed to hide that unruly garden hose.

Grow a winter garden A few frost-proof pots and some hardy cold-weather plants will ensure your garden is more than just a sad reminder of summer. Cedar, juniper and fall-blooming heather make a colourful combo that will thrive well into the winter months. For potted plants, look for pots that are guaranteed frost proof, like terra-cotta that has been hand-formed to force out air pockets and prevent shattering. For more winter-garden ideas, check out Fernlea Flowers' website, fernlea.com.

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