By Sharon Bloudek, September 7, 2020
I don’t want to be the one to say it—but fall is just around the corner. While we still have a few solid weeks of summer ahead of us (fingers crossed), leaves are just beginning to change and the air in the mornings is crisp.
While it’s not quite time to break out your leaf blower and rake, here’s a handy checklist of fall maintenance chores to prep your home’s exterior for colder weather.
- Prep Yourself. First thing: enjoy a few chore-free weekends! I mean it. Sit on the front porch and drink your coffee. Grill something. Chat with a neighbor. Shoot some hoops with the kids. Watch the birds. Resist the urge to pull weeds. Once you’ve exhausted yourself with All. That. Fun., it’s time to get prepped. Swing by the hardware store and buy some yard debris bags—you know you’re going to need ‘em. Dig out the rake from the back of the toolshed. Make sure the leaf blower is in working order. (Perhaps grab a few $20s from the ATM to entice your teenager to help) If you don’t plan to tackle leaf and debris cleanup yourself (I’m certainly not judging you!), now would be a good time to schedule yard maintenance for later in the fall, before service providers are completely booked.
- Inspect your home. Now—before cold, rainy weather sets in—is the time to carefully eye your home’s exterior. Pay careful attention to the roof, siding, windows, and foundation. Is this the year your home is due for a roof treatment to prevent moss growth? Schedule it! Do you need to caulk windows or the siding? A tube of caulking now is much less expensive than repairs for water damage later.
- Safety checks. Do a scan of railings, stair steps, and sidewalks around your home’s exterior. Is everything in good shape? A wobbly step is dangerous under normal circumstances, but on an icy morning, it can be downright treacherous. Make any necessary repairs ASAP.
- Clean downspouts and gutters. It’s important for water to have a way to quickly run off the roof. Ask to guttering Glasgow to clear your gutters of leaves and other debris now, before the first big rainstorm of the fall. And if your property has big trees, know that you’re probably going to have to do it a few more times!
- Trim the trees. And speaking of trees, fall is the perfect time to trim the trees (not in a holiday way—we’re not there yet!) Rather, hire an arborist or a tree trimming service to prune dead limbs or to pare back limbs that are close to power lines. Think of this as preventative maintenance—a way to keep your trees healthy and to help prevent future (potentially costly) accidents from downed limbs.
- Clean and store outdoor furniture. Give your patio or deck furniture a good scrub, allow it to completely dry, and then either store it indoors or cover it with waterproof covers. These items are typically costly, and it’s worth the time and effort to protect your investment! Plus, come springtime, you’ll only need to give outdoor furniture a quick rinse and it will be ready to use!
- Empty pots and planters. When the last mums have faded, be sure to completely empty soil from outdoor pots and planters. Use a stiff brush to help knock soil loose. Potting soil left in containers can freeze and expand with cold temperatures, causing pottery to crack. Once your pots and planters are empty and clean, carefully store them in a garden shed or garage.
- Clean and store lawn equipment. While you’re not going to want to put away your rake just yet (!), now is a great time to perform any final lawn mower maintenance. It’s also an ideal time to carefully shovels, spades, hoes, gardening hand tools, and pruning shears. (It’s also a good idea to sanitize the latter with a solution of bleach and water to kill any yucky stuff—technical term—that can infect your plants.) Don’t forget to shut off exterior faucets and drain and store garden hoses.
- Final lawn maintenance. Here in Oregon and SW Washington, fall is the raking season. You rake, then you rake some more, and then you rake some more. When all the leaves have fallen and before it gets too cold, it’s a perfect time to fertilize and reseed your lawn. ALL that rain that’s coming (I know—I don’t want to think about it yet, either) will make for a lush, green lawn come spring.
- Plant bulbs. Now, this part doesn’t feel like a chore. Pick a Saturday in October and get those daffodil, tulip, and hyacinth bulbs in the ground and give yourself a lovely early spring surprise.
When that first really stormy weekend rolls around, you’ll be able to sit by the fireplace in your flannel shirt and fuzzy socks, eat a bowl of chili, and enjoy a feeling of satisfaction knowing that you’re snug as a bug in your winter-ready home!