Don’t let a late summer/early fall warm-up fool you. Cooler temperatures are on the way, and you cannot wait to prepare your home and yard for the changing seasons. Cleaning and maintenance tasks both inside and outside your home should top your to-do list before the first hard freeze.
1. Take Care of the Basics in Your Garden, Landscaped Areas, and Yard
As your trees and bushes become bare and your annuals die, your garden and yard become devoid of lush foliage. Take advantage of the open areas and walk through your yard to assess your landscaping, garden, and grass to see what you need to do.
Determine whether any plants have overgrown their space; divide those that have and plant them in bare areas. Check for diseased or damaged plants and bushes and cut off those areas or dig them out entirely.
Once you take care of your plants, look for areas that need more soil. Add compost and peat moss to your garden and landscaped areas to provide nutrients during the cooler months and to prepare the soil for spring planting. Add mulch to your landscaped areas and be sure to brush excess off leaves and needles to prevent them from turning yellow.
As for your lawn, continue mowing throughout fall. When you cut your grass shorter in cooler weather, it prevents it from getting crushed under leaves and snow. Return your mowing deck to the normal height, at about two inches tall, to avoid mowing too short. Leave your grass tall enough for it to establish better roots during the colder months. To give those roots a boost, fertilize your lawn in late October or early November; this will help it become green earlier in spring.
2. Prevent Leaking Heated Air and Losing Money on Energy Bills
Washing windows is not high on anyone’s list of favorite things to do. But inspecting windows while washing them gives you a chance to see whether they require maintenance for cooler weather. For example, you may need to add or replace the caulk around your windows to prevent air leakage. Caulk seals air leaks through cracks, gaps, and joints less than one-quarter-inch wide around windows and doors.
Clean all areas that need to be caulked by removing the old caulk and paint with a putty knife or stiff brush. Caulk the joints in a window frame and the joint between the frame and the wall after making sure the area is completely dry. Carefully caulk in a straight, continuous stream and avoid stops and starts. Remember, caulk shrinks, so be sure to apply enough. If it does shrink, reapply it to seal the crack completely. Caulking takes some time, but it saves you a great deal on energy bills in the winter because it keeps your heated air inside your home.
3. Prevent Water Damage
Don’t forget to prevent water damage as the weather turns colder by turning off your exterior faucets and storing garden hoses. After your fall watering tasks end, drain your garden hoses and disconnect them from exterior spigots. Shut off all exterior faucets; homeowners of older homes should turn off the valve inside the home. Store your garden hoses in a dry place in your garage or basement so any remaining water will not freeze and ruin them.
Another way to prevent water damage is to clean your gutters and downspouts and check your roof. Ice, snow, and sleet can do a number on your home if you do not properly maintain them. Unclog, clean, and repair your gutters and downspouts to allow water to flow properly. Also, check your roof for missing, damaged, or loose shingles. If your roof leaked during the warmer months, assess the damage, repair it, and contact a contractor to determine whether you need to replace a section of your roof before heavy snow causes even more damage.
To prepare your property for cooler weather, take care of the interior and exterior of your home. Tend to your garden, landscaped areas, and lawn before the ground freezes. Also, wash windows and replace caulk to prevent air leakage. Finally, prevent water damage by turning off exterior spigots, storing garden hoses, and cleaning and repairing gutters, downspouts, and your roof.
About the Author
Mr. Denikin is passionate about sharing his experiences working on DIY projects to benefit people with special needs children. He does so at DadKnowsDIY.com