Yard prep is often something deemed as a daunting task for most homeowners, but with fall here and while the weather is still nice enough, it’s a great time to begin preparing your outdoor space for winter.
Taking care of your space is a year-round effort, but pre-winter prep can help you maintain all the work you’ve put into your yard over the spring and summer so you can reap the benefits in the following season.
1..CLEAN IT AND COVER IT
Covering your outdoor patio furniture will protect it from harsh weather like snowfalls, rain, unnecessary time in the sun and preserve it for spring evenings spent outside. Give your furniture a quick clean to remove dirt and debris and prevent rust and you’ll also get the added bonus of having your furniture ready to go when the nice weather hits the following spring.
The cost of patio covers is well worth the investment. You’ll prolong the life of your patio furniture using them and they’re also great in the summer months when you want to keep your furniture dry during rainy weather.
2. CHECK YOUR LIGHTS
Inspect your lighting before the temperature drops too steeply and the first snowfall comes. Take down stringed lighting, solar lighting, and any similar lighting features you don’t need in the winter months and store them indoors or in a moisture-resistant container to prevent any rusting over the winter. If it isn’t a necessary part of your landscape, like lighting that illuminates doors or walkways, it’s best to extend their life and save the features for a season when you can truly enjoy them.
3. TEND TO YOUR GARDEN
Ok, let’s talk about preparing your garden for the winter. Start by removing your less-than-healthy plants and cutting branches down. Next, grab some of the dead leaves from around your lawn and place them next to your plants. Just make sure they don’t have black spots. These leaves will act as mulch for your garden during the winter.
It’s also important to remove any weeds that have popped up during the last weeks of fall and harvest any compost.
Next, we’ll make sure we’re protecting our roses and plants from the freezing and thawing cycle of winter. Pile leaves around the base of the plant to a height of around one or two feet. We’ll remove it in the early spring. Finally, take the time to clean and sharpen all of your gardening tools.
It can be difficult to keep them clean during the business of the gardening season, so a quick clean and sharpen at the season’s end will do wonders for extending your tool’s life.
For more info, check out this article.
4. TRIM THE TREES & MULCH
Now that we’ve sorted out tending to the garden, let’s talk trees. You can start by trimming the dead branches and adding more mulch. The continuous freezing and thawing we talked about earlier can cause expansion, which can damage the roots of your trees. Add 2-3 inches of mulch to help with that.
You should also water your trees regularly leading up to winter, especially newly planted ones, to insulate the tree and protect it from damage. As a last step we suggest wrapping them up. Use a light, paper wrap and go to just below the bottom branches. To learn more about prepping your trees for winter, you can check out this article.
5. PROPER LAWN PREP
Proper lawn care is one of the most important steps you can take to prepare your space for winter. Mow your grass to about two and a half inches and leave the trimmings. Taller grass is healthier for the root, while short grass is more easily damaged by winter frost, so we recommend leaving it a little longer. Check out this article to learn all you need to know about protecting your lawn from the winter elements.
6. PRESSURE WASH
Pressure wash your deck, garden pathways and other surfaces to remove built-up dirt from the past few months. This’ll leave you with a clean slate in the springtime and ensure you won’t have to deal with caked-up dirt to remove at the beginning of the season.
7. RAKE THE LEAVES
Although this seems like a simple step, timing is critical and you can’t leave it until the ground frosts. We know, it’s one of the most dreaded parts of preparing your lawn for the winter for those of you with a lot of trees in your yard. We suggest tackling it bit by bit as the leaves fall so it’s a bit more manageable.
Purchase recyclable paper bags for your town to collect them in. If you have a larger lawn, investing in a quality leaf blower will speed up the process and prove to be something you can benefit from season after season.
8. DON’T FORGET TO DRAIN
Any water features or birdbaths on your property should be drained before the first snowfall. Remove any debris or leaves from the fall months and rinse the features with your garden hose to give it a good final clean. If you have a pool, that’s another huge part of prepping your space for the winter. It’s a big job and your pool is a big investment. Have someone come out to make sure it’s done professionally and ensure your investment is protected. Just make sure it gets done sooner rather than later.
9. GET TO THE GUTTER
Once you’ve taken care of prepping your outdoor space for winter, you can move on to taking care of the house. To get started, check your drainage and clear your gutters. Over time, accumulated leaves and dirt will cause it to overflow and lead to a whole host of problems, including potential water damage. Do this soon to avoid amplifying blockage issues once the freezing temperatures and snow come.
Tackle this list over a weekend or even bit by bit as you still have time in the season to ensure sure that, come springtime, you won’t be wishing that you had gotten around to properly prepping your space for the winter.