Late Summer Gardening Tips (Projects It’s Not Too Late To Start)

Last Updated: February 23, 2024

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See our disclosure policy for more info.

As the dog days of summer are waning, it can be tempting to give up on gardening for the year. But there are still plenty of things you can do to keep your yard looking great. We’ll give you some late summer gardening tips that will help you get the most out of your garden.

late summer gardening tips

Gardening is a great hobby and a wonderful way to make your yard look beautiful.

But most of the work is done in the spring, when you’re moving plants around, putting new ones in the ground, planting containers and doing all the other initial set up jobs.

As the summer tolls on, you may be wondering what you can do for your garden besides water, pull weeds and chase bugs away.

These late summer gardening tips will help you continue to make the most of it all season long.

1 | Compost

woman dumping compost into a compost tumbler

Compost is one of the best ways to feed your garden vital nutrition to grow and thrive.

You can start your home compost pile at any time and use the compost when it is ready, making this a great project to start no matter how late in the growing season you are.

A compost tumbler is a great place to start. It’s easy to turn so the plant material usually turns into organic matter faster.

Open compost heap enclosed with a fence

Although a pile in a hidden corner of the yard works, too. This is pretty much what mine looks like.

It is also a great way to keep food, yard waste and grass clippings out of the landfills and reduce your carbon footprint while helping your garden.

2 | Welcome beneficial animals and insects

butterfly on a yellow flowers

There are many great beneficial animals and insects that you can invite to your garden even late in the season.

From installing a bug house or home for solitary bees to putting in a hummingbird feeder, there are easy things you can do now to help your garden no matter how late in the season.

Placing a watering dish for bees and butterflies is a kind way to provide for these insects, so they’re more willing to come to your garden and pollinate your blooms.

Find more ways to attract butterflies to your yard.

3 | Plan to do fall planting

3 pots of Chrysanthemums sitting on a deck

Fall is a great time to plant many garden plants (including perennials, shrubs and trees), as well as cool season fruits and vegetables.

So if you’re noticing areas in your garden that could use some sprucing up, make a plan to fix them.

You can put in some fall perennials such as Chrysanthemums or Japanese Anemones. Or plant something that will add to the garden next year.

If you buy those plants and get them in the ground in the fall, they’ll have a head start on next year’s growing season.

Not to mention, you won’t have to remember what needed to be changed in the spring. And you’ll have less work to do during the busy spring gardening season.

If you want to order your plants online, check out my favorite online nurseries.

4 | Order some bulbs

a bin full of tulip bulbs

While you’re looking for those plants, consider getting some bulbs as well.

Most of the spring blooming bulbs need a cold spell before they’ll bloom, so they should be planted in the fall.

And there are tons of options available this time of year. Find out my favorite spring-flowering bulbs. (I’ll give you a hint…tulips aren’t on the list).

5 | Start new plants

Hostas being divided

As the season wears on, you can make use of your summer gardening time to make cuttings of trees, bushes, and perennials and get them started to create all new plants.

Or if you have perennials that are forming big clumps, dig them up and divide them.

Dividing plants will make the existing one healthier and have more of it to plant elsewhere. (Don’t do this until it has started to get cooler, since dividing them during the summer heat will stress the plant and could kill it).

These plants can be used to add more flowers and plants to your garden.

Or even sell to other gardeners once established to make a little extra money from your garden.

6 | Get decorative

round stone water fountain bubbler in a rock garden

Even well into the gardening season, you can add decorative touches to your garden ranging from elegant bird baths to sculptures and water fountains.

It’s actually easier to see the best place to put them this time of year, since your plants are all up and growing.

And the extra bonus of buying them late in the season? They are often on sale, so you can save some money.

Of course, it is never too late to DIY some decorations for your garden beds (like our DIY fence fountain, river rock water feature or vertical herb garden).

7 | Remodel your garden

a flagstone and stone pathway through the grass in a side yard

If you want to take on a bigger garden project, make plans to remodel part (or all) of your yard.

Late summer garden projects are often easier since you’re working outdoors when the worst of the hot weather is over.

Installing a pathway, putting up an arbor or adding some garden edging are all great ways to add to your garden’s appeal.

Or take on an even larger project such as creating a zen Japanese garden or turning your backyard into a secret garden.

8 | Add landscape lighting

an arbor and pathway in a garden lit with landscape lights

Landscape lighting is an easy way to make your garden look magical at night.

And it’s really not that hard to do yourself.

Low voltage systems are relatively inexpensive, and don’t carry enough electricity to hurt anyone. So you can easily install it yourself.

Or go with solar lights that don’t require any wiring at all.

Learn all about the different landscaping lighting options and how to install them.

9 | Make the most of entertainment areas

Small patio with two chairs and a table surrounded by perennials

I think this might be the most important summer gardening tip on the list. After all, what’s the point of having a garden if you can’t enjoy it.

Make the most of your yard by allowing yourself to have a comfortable space to relax and unwind in your garden.

From cleaning up your deck to putting in a swing so you can relax and watch the butterflies, there are a lot of garden projects you can do to make your backyard work for you.

Well, that’s it for our late summer gardening tips. Hopefully, you’ve found some inspiration to do a few of these projects in your own yard.

Other gardening tips you might like

Do you have any other late summer gardening tips? Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on August 11, 2022 but was updated with new content on February 23, 2024.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Thank you for this timely post, Wanda! This is the time of year when I also get the gardening doldrums! And where I live in the PNW this is the middle of the prettiest time of year for gardeners.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Pat…It’s a nice time of year to be out in the garden here, too. So I’m trying to get myself motivated to go out there and do some work 🙂