Fall is one of the best times of the year to work in the garden. Cooler temperatures, fewer bugs, and empty garden beds combine to make the perfect working environment. The gardening season doesn’t have to end after you harvest your last tomato – there are tons of fun DIY fall garden projects you can do that will keep you busy until the snow flies.
Fall is one of my favorite times of year to get the projects done that I’ve been putting off all summer long (this year it’s been too hot and buggy to do anything outside). Here are some of my favorite DIY fall garden projects to help you spice up your gardens, and keep you busy long after the growing season has come to an end…
12 DIY fall garden projects to keep you busy
1. Add a garden path – Paths are a great addition to any garden area, and really help to invite visitors into your garden. There are tons of materials that you can use to create a garden path. You can simply use mulch or crushed rock, or you can get a bit fancier with stepping stones. Use brick or landscaping block to create a more formal garden path, or to create a plantable path (like the one in the photo above).
2. Surround your garden with decorative edging – Adding edging around your garden makes it much easier to keep the grass from taking over, and the hard lines make a garden area look cleaner too. You can edge your garden with inexpensive plastic edging, concrete bullets, poured cement, bricks, wood, scrap metal, wine bottles… you name it! The options are really only limited to your imagination.
3. Add a tree ring – Fall is the perfect time for adding a decorative tree ring to your yard. You can use the same materials that you used to edge your gardens, or create something totally different. Tree rings can be simply decorative, purely functional, or anything in between. Just be careful when you’re digging around trees, and try not to cut any of the roots. Also, make sure your tree ring is wide enough so the tree has plenty of room to grow.
4. Extend the growing season – I don’t know about you, but I am never ready for the growing season to end. If you feel the same way, then one of your fall garden projects definitely needs to be adding some season extenders to your garden. Cold frames and poly tunnels can be pretty easy and inexpensive to build, and work great to extend the growing season by several weeks. Or you could go all out and build a hoop house or greenhouse. Heck, if you play your card right, you could be harvesting from your gardens through the entire winter. Want to try growing year round? Check out Niki’s book Year Round Vegetable Gardener.
5. Build a retaining wall – Adding a retaining wall to your landscape is one of those perfect fall garden projects. Like tree rings, retaining walls can be functional or just decorative. There are tons of different types of retaining wall block to choose from these days. You could go bold with a dark color, pick something that matches your house perfectly, or do something fun with rock or mixed colors. We built a plantable rock wall (below) a few years ago to level out our vegetable garden. It’s both functional and decorative. We used inexpensive concrete block as the base to hold back the soil (functional and inexpensive), and then covered it with decorative rock to make it look pretty.
6. Start a new garden area – Fall is the perfect time to add a new garden area to your yard with minimal effort using the no-till method! Start by mowing the area you want to plant, then add a thick layer of cardboard right over the grass (or weeds). Then you can layer several inches of organic material over the top. Use a combo of leaves, dirt, compost, pine needles, grass clippings, straw… whatever you have on hand. By spring, the grass underneath will be dead, and your new garden will be ready for planting. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
7. Build some new raised garden beds – These Savvy Gardeners love finding cool ways to add raised beds to our gardens. You can build raised beds out of wood, concrete blocks, retaining wall block or other fun materials. Again, the possibilities are only limited to your imagination. You could also jazz up your raised beds with some paint – what a fun way to add flair and pops of color to the vegetable garden! For more raised garden bed ideas, check out Tara’s book Raised Bed Revolution
8. Create height in your garden with trellises – You can build trellises for your garden at any time during the year (even in the dead of winter!). Fall is the perfect time to look around your yard and figure out where you need to add some height, or which plants could use some extra support. Find some cool materials to make a unique DIY trellis, or use upcycled materials to create free trellises made out of junk.
9. Construct a new compost bin – You can build a compost bin out of lots of different materials. I made my first compost bin out of some leftover chickenwire I had sitting in the garage. I used that for a few years, and finally got an upgrade when we built this fancy three bin system out of wood. You could come up with your own design, or you could simply buy a compost bin to add to your garden.
10. Build stuff for the birds – Fall means that cold weather is right around the corner. Lots of birds migrate to warmer climates during the winter (smart birds!), but there are many types of birds that stay through the winter. Let’s help them out by creating some fun food sources for them or add a cute bird feeder to help them get through the long winter months.
11. Create a quick patio/sitting area – Adding a quaint area where visitors can rest and take in the views, or you can relax with a cup of coffee is essential in every garden (like the one in the top photo). Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a huge project! At my house, we pulled out some overgrown landscaping in the front a few weeks ago. Our long-term plans include putting in a large front patio… but for the short term, I wanted something quick to fill the area. So, I simply laid down some stepping stones and mulch, and then added a bench and a small table. It only took about 20 minutes, and it turned out great.
12. Add some color – Your gardens are full of color throughout the growing season, so why don’t you keep the color trend going through the winter too! Paint is our friend, and there are tons of ways you can spice up your gardens with bright or bold colors that you can enjoy all year long.
Don’t let the transition into colder weather get you down. You don’t have to stop working in your garden after the growing season is officially over. Fall brings with it cooler temperatures, and that’s the perfect weather for working on all these fun fall garden projects.
More awesome fall garden projects and ideas
- The broken pot trend: steal this idea for your garden
- Add unexpected flair to the garden with a faux fireplace
- 10 upcycling ideas for the garden
- Repurposing junk into garden art
Share your favorite fall garden projects (past, present or future) in the comments section below.