It has happened. The air is cooler, the nights are longer and days are shorter. Fall has arrived! Now is the time to prep your yard and get it ready for the winter that is nearly upon us. A little bit of hard work now will pay back immensely in the spring. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your fall clean-up!
Taking Care of Your Deck/Patio
If you have a deck, it probably could use a few touch ups after a summer full of fun. Touch up the paint on railings, trim and the floor boards and your space will be looking brand new and ready for the next season of fun!
Memorialize Your Hard Work
Now that you have worked so hard making your deck look like new, take a picture (or two!). Having recent summer photos of your home and yard is important. Not only is it fun to see the changes throughout the seasons and years, if you were to list your home for sale during the winter potential buyers would love to see what a gem your yard is in the height of summer.
Prepare Your Lawn
Once the cooler fall weather arrives, the growth rate of grass tends to slow down. Now is the perfect time to prep your lawn for the upcoming spring. When you are ready to cut your lawn for the last time of the season be sure to mow the grass to as short a point as possible. This will prevent the grass from compacting and causing mold in the spring. Aerate your lawn and apply a fall fertilizer of your choice. This will improve soil conditions for when the first spring growth appears.
Clean your Gutters
A gutter’s main task is to control the water around your home. Throughout the seasons they can become clogged with leaves and other debris. When clogged gutters overflow, they can cause ice dams on the roof that force water inside your house. Gutter cleaning is fairly straight forward but time consuming. Obviously, climbing onto your roof can be dangerous so be sure to use all of the proper safety equipment.
Clean your BBQ and Other Outdoor Furniture
Your BBQ has worked hard for you all summer. Now is the time for you to give back. Scrub all of the exterior surfaces with a non-abrasive cleaner. You can be more aggressive with the grill area, using a steel wool scrubber will erase any mess made over the summer. Also, don’t forget to clean out the grease trap. Store the BBQ either under a good-quality cover or inside a shed. Most BBQ’s are quite an investment so you will want to keep it protected. The same goes for any outdoor furniture that you may have. Since these are usually investment pieces, you should keep them as protected as you can for the winter.
Prep Your Plants for Winter
After you have pulled all of your annuals from the ground you can focus your attention on the perennials. Many people cut their perennials back in the fall and some leave this job for the spring. After doing some research I feel that this is more of a personal choice. You can choose to cut back some and then leave others for visual interest in the garden during the winter. Plants such as ornamental grasses actually look very pretty partially covered in snow and can remind us of the warmer weather ahead. Keep in mind that any plants that you have cut back can be composted either in your own compost pile or in a community landfill.
Planting in the Fall
Once you have decided which perennials to keep standing and which to cut back you can start planning your fall bulb planting. Planting fall bulbs ensures that your garden will be full of colour early in the spring. Look for hardy varieties and be sure to follow the planting directions on the package.