Chillier weather is on the way with the arrival of fall and winter. Sadly, this means that our backyards won’t be getting as much traffic as they do in warmer months. With dusty, crunchy dead leaves and mountains of wet snow set to appear in the not-so-distant future, it’s time to set up your yards for its annual hibernation. Follow our tips to keep your yard in the best shape possible throughout the fall and winter and make it easy to set up your space again come spring.
Check up on the trees in your yard
If you have a yard with many large trees, have a tree service come give them a look, especially if there are trees near your house. Because most trees lose their leaves in the fall, it can be hard to tell if a tree is dying or beginning to look unhealthy. But why is this important? Well, snow is incredibly heavy (just think about how heavy a shovel-full is when you’re clearing the driveway!). An older or dying tree will snap in an instant because of the weight.
By having a ‘tree doctor’ take a look at your trees in the early fall, they will be able to tell you if your trees look healthy, will remove any dying trees, and can even cut off some overgrown limbs on trees that may sit a little too close to your house. So too, many tree limbs may be itching close to power wires. Do you want a snapped limb to take down your neighborhood power grid in the dead of winter? Probably not— you and your neighbors need heat!
While this might be an extra, unexpected cost, having a service swing by as a precaution is a lot cheaper than rebuilding a portion of your house or removing a fully downed tree come the first major snowfall. Plus, it is good to do this preventative maintenance every so often.
Clean & Protect Your Outdoor Furniture
After a long couple months of outdoor entertainment and relaxation, your outdoor furniture is probably ready for a good scrub. While most outdoor patio sets are advertised to withstand the wide spectrum of weather conditions, it’s still smart to pretend that they aren’t. Truth be told, your outdoor furniture would ware just fine with a snowfall here and there, but not a whole winter’s worth. It is best to stay extra cautious and protect your furniture from harsher weather to prolong its life and keep it looking as good as new.
If you have outdoor cushions, it’s best to remove them and give them a good cleaning before we lose what’s left of summer’s sunshine and warmth. Grab a hose, some dish soap and a scrubbing brush, and give the cushions a good cleaning. Not only will this remove ketchup stains from your summer BBQs, but it will also kill any small insects that may be living in the cushion and will also remove any pollen and dust. From there, let the cushions air dry on pavement (less likely to have bugs than grass!). Once that’s set, we recommend storing your clean outdoor cushions in large garbage bags to prevent them from attracting dust and small critters while they are put away for the season.
It’s also best to give your furniture a good rinsing, too. Then, either move your furniture somewhere indoors (a garage or a shed perhaps), or, invest in some heavy-duty furniture covers that you can slip on over them. When warmer weather rolls around again, all you need to do is put your furniture and cushions back in place, give them a 5-second hose-spray (just to freshen things up after being stale in storage) and you’re ready to enjoy again!
Prep Your Garden and Flower Beds
There are still some general must-dos that everyone should follow to keep their yard healthy in the colder months. One of those is to give your gardens and flower beds some major attention. The first thing to do in your garden beds is to begin wedding. Weeds were likely to grow rampant during growing season, and even if you are meticulous keeping track of your weeds, there will always be a few stragglers. Fully excavate weeds out of place, making sure not to leave a root behind. If you need a strong weed killer, we suggest using vinegar. Vinegar is non-toxic, eco-friendly, keeps pests and animals away from your garden, and best of all, won’t do as much harm to the plants you actually want to keep.
Once weeding is done, we suggest trimming all of your plants down. Remove any dead plants or parts, and also remove the parts that will also die once colder weather hits. Essentially, your garden (and yard!) should look quite short and bare once this step is over.
If you really want to ensure that your plants stay extra-healthy this season, we also suggest adding a thin layer of mulch to act as a “winter blanket”. This thin layer will help the soil better retain its temperature, meaning that the ground (and your plants!) be as likely to freeze quickly when temps suddenly drop. It will also help regulate how much water seeps into the ground when snow melts on top of it.
Fall and winter are equally great seasons. While we will miss the warm weather and ability to lounge out on our patios and yards, there are still other ways to enjoy the fall and winter outdoors. Different seasons call for different activities and we totally look forward to roasting marshmallows and snowball fights. By taking the steps to preserve your yard, not only can you enjoy fall and winter without a problem, but it’ll make it all the easier to get back into spring and summer groove, too!