September 21, 2015 by Jeff Lowen
Autumn is the perfect time to kick back, relax and let nature put on an outdoor show on your home. Leaves changing colors, the cooler temps, fall is the perfect season to capitalize on all that the season offers with lots of family enjoyment. However, don’t think all the work is done! Autumn still requires lawn, landscaping and curb appeal maintenance to keep your home in Autumn awesome shape through the winter and into spring. Here’s 10 great ideas to make your home stand out.
- Wash Up The Neighborhood. Well, just your own corner of it! What better way to find out what’s really cooking underneath all that summer fun than giving your home a bath. Pressure washing is a great method, yet a good ol’ fashion garden hose and spray tip work well too. By now, there’s spider webs, overgrowth and dust and dirt to be washed away and uncover our next idea. Don’t forget to wash the hard surfaces, too. Driveways and walkways need love, don’t they?
- Paint By Numbers. Now’s the time to do a walk-around your home and check out the paint job. Look for cracks, caulking that’s separated, peeling or chipping paint and bare wood that’s now exposed to the elements. Bring a pair of binoculars, too. This way, you can look way up under the eaves and even on the roof for missing or cracked shingles, rain gutter issues. Make a list of everything you find that’s suspect. Now you can decide if it’s something you want to tackle or get a licensed contractor involved.
- Prepare For The Fallout. If you haven’t looked in your garage or tool shed recently, now’s the time to make sure you have the tools you need to manage the fallout of leaves, pine needles and organic debris that’s coming. Does your leaf blower or vacuum still work? Is it time to get a new rake or two? Grab a snow shovel while you’re at it. No one wants to go to the store only to find out their sold out! Whether you bag it up or compost it, having the tools johnny-on-the-spot means making quick work of whatever you choose. Remember, a little rain, a few leaves makes a slippery surface. And didn’t we almost fall down enough over last winter? So, ready, set… Rake!
- Plant Now, Spring Later. Autumn is the best time to start thinking about the colorful flowers sprouting in the spring. Check with your local nursery to find what flowering bulbs are best to plant now while the soil is still soft. Fall planting now will lead to a gorgeous garden in the spring, and remember to plant them deep enough in the ground to prevent freezing of your bulbs. Want to do a little recon yourself? The Farmer’s Almanac site has a new site up for the 2016 Long Range Weather Forecast.
- Box-O-Plants And A Little Ground Cover. Nice window boxes or plant boxes are a great way to add a little charm to your home. They add color and contrast to the siding, brick, or exterior colored surface. Plant boxes are perfect if you don’t have a lot of grounds but still want the greenery. There’s also colored wood and rubber mulch varieties that provide a gorgeous backdrop for evergreens and coniferous plants. Ground hugging plants like the cranberry cotoneaster, or ground covers plants that control erosion, blanket a hillside, or thrive in dry conditions while still complementing an autumn show of color you and your home will love!
- To Lawn Or Not To Lawn. What Is The Question? I had a recent conversation with a pro landscaper and he said more people are looking for ways to replace the lawn with something a little easier to maintenance, such as the ground cover plants in #5. But, if you are king or queen of your lawn adorned castle, you’ll want to know a few tips so it bounces back lush-style in the spring. Fall is an ideal time to aerate your lawn. remove fallen leaves from your lawn as soon as possible. Don’t wait until all the leaves have fallen from the trees to start raking. If you do, the leaves will become wet from rain and morning dew, stick together, and form an impenetrable mat that if left unmoved will suffocate the grass and breed fungal diseases. Yum! Most lawn experts agree: If you fertilize your lawn only once a year, do it in the fall. Autumn is also a great time of year to fix any bare, bald spots in your lawn. If broadleaf weeds like dandelions have taken over your lawn, now’s the time to fight back. Weeds, like most plants, are in the energy-absorbing mode during the fall. They’re drinking in everything that comes their way, including weed killers.
- Don’t Fence Me In. If you have a fence, now is the time to give it a quick inspection to determine if it needs attention. Many wait until spring to do this, but after a cold winter, we seem to want to get outside and enjoy the weather, not work on fences! Look for popped nails, wood rot, missing or loose boards, and if it’s painted or sealed, read #2 again! Don’t forget the garage doors. The mechanism and operation. Just check to be sure everything is lined up and operating as expected. Not being able to get in during a monsoon with defrosting groceries in the car is no bueno!
- Does My Home Need Glasses? The outside of the windows are better left to clean during the spring cleaning season. Not that it wouldn’t be a good idea here, too. Yet we don’t want to take all the fun out of it! This time of year, we’re just going from window to window and checking that they open, close, and work like they should. If you’re felling frisky and want to clean the inside of them, rock on. but things have a tendency to stick in cooler weather, so make sure they act like a window should. This doesn’t really fall into the landscape bucket, but then, windows are transparent, aren’t they? 😉
- Where’s My Ladder? Nothing like falling leaves to clog up a rain gutter system. Even those expensive leaf prevention systems need a little reach around once in awhile. Cleaning out gutters can be messy, wet and a little tricky, so… Important: If you don’t feel comfortable in this high-wire balancing act, hire a professional. Now that it’s dry and there are very few leaves falling, it’s a good time to check to ensure that the gutters are clear of debris.
- Defend The Shrubbery! I learned a cool little trick to protect those delicate plants and shrubs that takes minutes to put together and if you’re dangerous with a hammer, they come pre-made, too. A simple “Shrub Shelter” works wonders and can even be aesthetically pleasing. Most deciduous flowering bushes, unlike evergreens, provide no visual interest in winter, so to ensure spring blooming, preventive shrub care will provide protection for your flowering bushes. Shrubs can be damaged by heavy snows or ice storms that snap their branches. You can build a simple pole-shelter to house your flowering bushes.
Ten ideas to help you get a handle on the changing seasons. Sometimes, we’re all so enamoured by the beauty of Autumn, that we overlook things that we need to prepare for winter. And I hear it’s supposed to be a good one!