Your landscape recovers quicker in the spring if you help it through the winter.
That means taking care of a few simple fall landscape chores before the first frost sets in.
While you’re at it, you may as well do a few things to get your house ready too.
Follow this guide and you’ll be done in no time.
In no particular order, your fall landscape chores are:
Leaving stuff on the ground slows your grass’ recovery in the spring.
Keep your lawn clean going into the winter and you’ll be the first to see it green up when the show melts.
- Trim trees, bushes and shrubs.
- Prune your perennials.
- Rake up any dead leaves.
- Cut your grass (and collect the clippings if you have a bag attachment).
- Clean out your garden and flower beds.
Collect this all in compostable bags and leave it all at the curb.
Give your lawn an even better recovery
Fall is a great time to give your lawn some TLC.
When your grass comes back next spring, it’ll be thicker and healthier, with a deeper and more resilient root system.
Insulate your gardens
Now is a good time to insulate your gardens with some fresh mulch.
The mulch will slow the freezing of your plant roots (less damage to the roots and a faster recovery during the thaw), and insulate against the worst of the winter cold.
Mulch will also help manage the melt water in the spring, so none of your plants drown.
In fact, insulate your small trees and plants like rose bushes against the cold by wrapping them in a burlap or similar hardy fabric.
You can achieve a similar protective effect by piling new topsoil thick around the base of your sensitive plants.
Avoid all that freezing damage
If you have a small pond in your yard, you can drain it or install a de-icer (a little motor that keeps the water moving – some even have a heating element to keep the water above freezing).
If yours is a koi pond, the de-icer is your only option.
Shut off your irrigation system and blow the system out to make sure no reservoirs of water stick at low points and ruin your system over the winter.
Drain your water hoses and hang them in the garage, and shut off your outside water access. A burst pipe is a nightmare.
Get things ready to use next year
If your gutters are clogged now, they’ll be really clogged come spring.
Clear them out by hand now. It’s a job nobody wants to do, but it’s a smart one. Make sure your downspouts are connected and direct water away from the foundation of your house.
Clean up your lawn mower, weed whacker or other lawn equipment and store it all, so it’s ready to fire up in the spring without any trouble.
And a couple things for your house
Unless your patio furniture is wicker (particularly willow wicker), wipe it down and get it in storage. Most patio furniture suffers if left out in the wet and cold winter.
Walk around the house and check the caulking on your windows and doors.
If you notice any cracks or gaps, you’re not as likely to fill them in the winter as you are right now.
The air sealing around your front and back doors might need replacing too, if it’s a few years old. This is a cheap upgrade that can save you a lot of money in wasted heating over the winter.
You spent a lot of time and effort getting your home and landscape the way you like it, just in time for winter to come and throw a wrench in things.
Make it a small wrench by preparing your property for what you know is coming.