Back to School: Prepping Your Home for Fall

Back to School: Prepping Your Home for Fall

Kids heading back to school is the number one sign that it is time to prepare your outdoor spaces for Fall and Winter. As you prep your yard and outdoor living areas for cooler weather, this is the perfect time to do a little cleaning, and also a great time to extend the use of a beautiful brick patio or tiled outdoor kitchen.

Four Fall Yard Maintenance Tips
Fall is the time to prepare your yard for the next year. These five tips will allow your yard to have a running start next spring.

  • Lawn Care. – The more you nurture your lawn in the fall, the more lush and green it will be in the spring.
    1. Keep mowing until late fall, this allows more light to shine on the delicate roots, and you will have less dead grass during the winter. Use an herbicide to get rid of unwanted vegetation and lawn moss.
    2. As the leaves fall, rake them up. Raking improves the health of your lawn by removing the thatch that will smother your yard during the winter. Thatch is the dead material that has accumulated over the summer and fall.
    3. Aerate the soil. This opens up air channels in the compacted lawn.
    4. Feed your lawn. The most important thing to give your soil is nitrogen. You can find it in pellet form at any garden center.
    5. Once the lawn is prepared, use the spreader again to apply a thin coating of seed, making sure to add extra seed in bald areas

  • Plant Shrubs – Planting shrubs in the early fall allows the roots to establish themselves before the extremes of weather set in.
    1. Make the hole twice as large as the container, and about an inch deeper that the height of the container. Before putting the loose dirt back into the hole, mix it with gypsum. Then top with about two inches of mulch.
    2. Watering is the most important thing during the first year of a new planting. Make sure to set the hose at the base of the shrub and let it drip on it for a good 10 minutes. New plantings need deep drinks instead of small sips every day. You will need to be diligent about this for at least the first three to four days. Fall is the main growing season for evergreens.
  • Power Wash – Power washing is an excellent way to get your home and yard prepared for fall. With a good machine with multiple power levels, everything outside that has received a bashing from summer’s grime or perhaps a combination of aging and the elements can be cleaned. Most people think of using power washers on fences and decks, but with an adjustable power setting and some specialized cleaners, the uses of a power washer are only limited by your imagination. Now is the time to use the power washer to get rid of the dirt clinging to your house from summer rains to the spider webs that seems to have grown over night.
  • Repair Cracks and Apply Sealant – Now is the perfect time to repair cracks in cement, replace broken patio tiles, and to apply sealant to insure that everything is prepared for the coming cold weather. Sealing the grout in outdoor kitchens and tile patios will keep out the water and soil. Whether your sealant is commercial grade or found in a home supply store, the coating will last for several years, but not forever. It will need to be reapplied every 2-3 years.

Four Ideas for Extending Outdoor Living this Fall
Extending the use of outdoor living areas allows enjoyment of the beauty of the yard you have worked on so hard during the summer months. Here are a few tricks to keep the area relevant, as the days grow shorter and cooler.

  • Replace Stressed Plants with Fall Plants – Make sure to deadhead plants that have had their run, cut back dead growth, and replace bushes and plants that have not made it through the summer with fall annuals and new fare.

  • Hang Decorative Lights – Put outdoor strings of lights like Edison bulbs or twinkling lights all around your outdoor spaces to make up for the early sunsets.

  • Bring Out Pretty Blankets – Plaids are a hot item for fall. Use soft plaid blankets as décor during fall entertaining, so you can bring them out to warm your family and guests as temperatures plunge in the evenings.

  • Center Entertainment Around a Bonfire – Bonfires and fire pits are the perfect focal point to fall evenings. Bring out S’more makings for the kids and warmed spiced-apple cocktails for the adults to make the evenings fun and everyone warm and cozy.

Just remember that as summer fades, fall is the time to prep your yard for spring, but also to extend your outdoor living and enjoy your yard all through the season.