Autumn’s cooler temperatures make this season ideal for spending time in your outdoor space reflecting on what worked—and what didn’t. Meghan Himschoot, landscape designer at Luxescapes, and Ebi Kondo, curator of the Japanese Garden for Denver Botanic Gardens, give us tips on how to enhance our yards next year, plus ideas for adding visual interest right now.


Trimming – Deadhead spent blossoms and cut off anything diseased (be sure to sanitize your pruners afterward). Leave some of the sturdier plants—coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, ornamental grasses—to dry out and add structure and height to your landscape through the winter.

Planting – Plant bulbs such as tulips, crocus, daffodils, and allium in preparation for spring color.

Instant gratification – Himschoot likes to replace containers of summer annuals with cold-weather beauties such as mums, asters, pansies, or even small decorative pumpkins.

Trees & Shrubs

Protection – Be sure to wrap any recently planted (within the last two to three years) trunks with tree wrap to protect them from sun scald.

Hydration – Don’t forget watering, which is necessary during Colorado’s sunny, dry stretches year-round. During times of above-freezing temps and little moisture, give your lawn, trees, and shrubs a weekly shower.

Instant gratification – Many garden stores have sales in September and October to get rid of inventory. As long as the soil is still workable, you can plant perennials and trees scored at big discounts.

Veggies & Herbs

Planting – Like all bulbs, garlic must be planted now if you want to harvest it next spring.

Preservation – You can bring your herbs indoors to keep the fresh flavors through the winter; just be sure to clean your plants and re-pot them so you don’t let in any unwelcome houseguests.

Instant gratification – Get a second harvest from veggies that can thrive in cool weather by planting lettuce, radishes, spinach, and baby kale in early fall. Enjoy them before the first big snowfall-—and relish the taste of summer just one more time.

How to divide plants: Fall is the perfect time to identify any pernnials—flowers or veggies— that have gotten too large. “People get so nervous: What if I cut the wrong place?” says Kondo. “But plants are very forgiving—they’re much tougher than people.”