Now that Starbucks has brought out their annual Pumpkin Spice Latte, you know that summer is commercially, if not officially, over and the fall season is on its way. That means unpacking your sweaters and scarves, thinking about your Halloween costume, and sending the kids off to school.
The end of summer and beginning of autumn also means that homeowners should start to prepare their exterior property for the harsh winter weather to ensure that come spring, you’re ready to enjoy your garden or yard. Not only will this make sure that your home’s curb appeal is at its best, but any necessary repairs that you discover in the spring will be a lot easier to take care of.
Here are five tips to prepare your home’s exterior for the fall and keep your property in tip-top shape.
Get Rid of Dead Foliage
Just as you would wash and mend your summer clothes before putting them in storage for the winter, you’ll want to get rid of any dead plants, leaves and branches before the winter. This will make your yard look cleaner and less like you’ve abandoned your property for the winter. Removing dead landscaping includes cutting back dead annuals, perennials, grass, shrub and tree branches, as well as raking leaves and fixing any dead or brown patches on your lawn.
Clean the Exterior of Your House
When preparing your yard and garden for the fall, don’t forget about the house. With an absence of leaves on the trees, the state of your siding, windows and roof (at least the gutters and eaves) are a lot more visible. Wash the windows, pressure wash the outside walls, clear out any leaves and debris from the gutters and downspouts and give the outside a fresh coat of paint. will do wonders to revive your home's appearance.
Mow the Lawn
In order to preserve your lawn, be sure to mow it one last time in the fall. “As the season progresses, mowing height should be adjusted upward so that by September you are mowing at 2 to 2 ½ inches. Raising your mower height throughout the growing season will result in a thick, vigorous turf.”
Mulch Your Trees and Plants
Nothing looks quite as good as a freshly mulched yard. Mulching in the autumn (as opposed to the spring) is a great way to make sure that your yard and garden stay healthy for the spring. Spreading 2-3 inches of fresh mulch (such as shredded leaves, bark, compost, sawdust, etc.) around the base of a tree or plant will enrich and insulate the soil, keep weeds down, protect roots from frost, and retain moisture. To avoid infecting your garden with mulch from diseased plants, be sure to buy organic mulch from home and garden stores.
Plant New Shrubs
Although many people think of planting new shrubs in the spring, autumn (September-December) can actually be better. “When adding trees and shrubs to your landscape, planting in the fall offers several benefits. It's an ideal time for you, as all the hard gardening work of spring and the upkeep of summer will be winding down – plus it's the best time for the tree. The combination of warm soil and cool air stimulates root growth to help your tree or shrub get established before the ground freezes. In the fall, trees and shrubs are either sold in containers or with root balls, where the root and soil is wrapped in burlap (often called "balled-and-burlapped"). Planting them is easy.”
You might also want to plant some colorful autumn flowers such as mums.
And to protect your more delicate shrubs from rain, snow and ice, wrap them in burlap or if they’re small enough, place an empty bucket over them.