Outdoor Fall Chore Checklist

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Before winter sets in, start prepping your home and yard with these essential autumn chores. Prepare lawns and landscaping for harsh weather, clean out gutters to handle winter rain, and get your fireplace ready for autumn nights spent around the hearth. Putting in the effort now will mean a winter proof home when you need it most.

Rake Leaves

Come autumn, your lawn is most likely covered in fallen leaves. While they may look pretty, leaving them where they lay can deprive your lawn of the necessary sunlight and water it needs. This is the perfect time to rake them up, and put those leaves to good use. Once you have gathered the leaves in a pile, decide which area of your lawn or garden needs mulch, and carry the leaves there. Chop up the leaves, or run them over with a lawn mower to help speed up the decomposition process, and make your mulch more effective, faster. Spread the mulch back onto your lawn, or around plants and flowers to promote healthier soil and plant growth.

Clean Gutters

Unfortunately, leaves don't just fall on your lawn. Many roofs, and specifically gutters, can be jam packed with autumn leaves, making them nearly incapable of properly funneling water during the rainy season. This can lead to some pretty serious damage to your roof, so gutters should always be cleaned each fall, and whenever necessary.

  • Standing on a ladder, use your hand, a trowel or a designated gutter scoop to scrape all the leaves and debris from your gutters.
  • For hardened dirt, use a hose to wet and soften.
  • Use leaves for mulch around the yard, but throw away any debris.
  • Once all leaves and debris have been removed, flush the gutters with water from a hose.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

Change Outdoor Furniture

The perfect outdoor furniture for summer is often well upholstered and detailed. While this makes it great to look at and fun to use during hot weather, heavy winter rain, snow and cold can seriously damage wood, metal and upholstered pieces. Rather than wasting money on a new set of patio or pool furniture each year, place it in storage for the winter. If you plan to use outdoor furniture during the winter, purchase weather resistant upholstery, which is designed to stand up to water and extreme temperatures. Treat wood furniture with sealants designed to repeal water, and keep the furniture in good condition despite the poor elements.

Inspect Windows And Doors

One of the easiest ways to boost your energy bill during the winter is to not replace broken seals around windows and doors. Every crack or split around entryways to your home allows freezing winter air into the house, making your heater work harder, and cost you more money. Inspect the caulk and seals around each door and window for leaks. Repair in the fall as soon as possible before winter sets in.

Drain Lawn Liquids

Unless you live in an extremely warm climate, chances are winter temperatures will dip below freezing during the harshest months. Anything containing liquid in your yard must be drained to prevent freezing and splitting. Drip irrigation systems should be thoroughly drained to ensure any water left inside cannot freeze, expand and spilt the system's piping during the winter. Gasoline inside lawn mowers and trimmers should also be drained each fall, as the gas left sitting can damage the engine, and make the machines unable to turn on the next spring.

Inspect Your Foundation

Fall is the perfect time to inspect your home's foundation. When cooler weather sets in, various animals will often seek warmth and shelter wherever they can, which includes beneath your home. Any gaps or holes in your foundation will allow pests large and small to crawl through. Unwanted vermin aside, cracks in your home's foundation can also be dangerous. Potential causes for compromised foundations include:

  • Tree Roots
  • Expanding and contracting soil
  • Water leaks
  • Settlement (the weight of your home)

Prepare Snow Tools

It may be hard to think about your snow shovel in September, but preparing for the change in seasons is a practical way to prevent future stress. If you live in an area that experiences snowfall, several tools are daily necessities simply to walk to your car, clear driveways and remove heavy snow buildup from around your home. In the fall, check your snow shovel, windshield scraper, ice pick and snow blower if you have them. Test each one and examine for damage before the day you actually need them. Replacing tools before they're in high demand around town can save you an expensive trip to the store, or the realization that the tool you need is no longer in stock.

Autumn is the perfect time to prep for the coming winter weather. Preparing your yard and garden will not only ensure grass, flowers and vegetables survive until spring, but prevent dangerous winter mishaps like clogged gutters and failing foundation as well.

Last Updated: August 4, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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