For a majority of the country, the summer is unfortunately over. The good news is we are heading into everyone’s second favorite season, fall. According to a Gallop poll, 36% of Americans name spring as their favorite season of the year, while 27% prefer fall, with summer (25%) and winter (11%) slightly trailing. In the same survey, October ranks as the second most popular month behind May.
Now is the time to look forward to all the fun fall things to do like going to fairs, playing in the leaves and enjoying the cooling temperatures. However, the change in season brings about a long list of household chores that need to be done to prepare for winter. So before you fill up on too much lollipop fried bacon wrapped quail breast on a stick or edible cola (Bless the Texas State Fair), check out these ways to win at fall home ownership this year.
Have the Right Tools
Having the right tools handy can make any task easier, and trim the time it takes to do the job. Let’s face it, no one likes raking. A leaf blower is an amazing tool to have in your garage. It has many uses, but is not really good for gathering leaves, especially if you have back problems.
Another great yard tool is a lawn and leaf vacuum such as the Cyclone Rake.
These tools, which hitch to a standard tractor or ZTR mower, allow you to clear large lawns of heavy debris and overgrown grass with ease. They reduce the work of an entire landscape crew down to something you can do yourself on a Saturday afternoon.
Upgrade Your Gutters
No one likes to clean gutters – it’s a dangerous and messy job, and often requires you to hire a professional. Gutter guards are a must have on your roof’s perimeter. The guards let water flow into the gutters while keeping debris out. They can be expensive if you have a large home and have them professionally installed, but they are worth the expense because you’ll never have to worry about them getting clogged, frozen, or breaking in the winter, and you will save on having them cleaned once (or more) each year.
There are three main types of gutter guards, depending on where you live, and what type of material you are trying to keep out of your gutters.
- Screens — the most common type of gutter guard, screens work well in situations where leaves are the main enemy. However, the openings in screens are large enough to let in seeds and pine needles, so they will require some maintenance over the years.
- Surface tension — with surface-tension gutter guards, water clings to the rounded nose of the guard and flows into the gutter, while leaves and other debris fall off over the edge. Surface-tension guards work very well with leaves and other large debris. Small debris sometimes gets in but usually washes out the downspouts without a problem.
- Fine mesh — fine-mesh guards function like screens, but they block all but the smallest debris. The tiny spaces in the mesh won’t clog with seeds and needles, but they can fill with small particles like shingle grit. Fine-mesh gutter guards still need an occasional cleaning, but unlike screens, fine mesh is easy to blow or brush clean.
Be sure to consult with a professional to see which type of gutter guard is best for your home and area of the country.
Prep Your Soil
Aerating or loosening the soil is best for your garden when done in the fall. During this time, you should clear away any of those pesky weeds that you’ve been battling all summer long. You can finally win and show those weeds who boss (at least until next year). Add mulched leaves or compost to add nutrients to your soil.
Plant Your Spring Flowers
Once you have prepped your soil, fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs such as lilies, daffodils and tulips. Be sure to do four to six weeks before the ground freezes.
To help keep squirrels and other pesky varmint away, put a mesh down and then cover with dirt. This will keep those hungry little critters from eating your flowers as their food sources start to run scarce. You can always offer them an alternative as well.
Fertilize Your Lawn
After you have cleared away all the leaves and other debris from your yard, fertilize your lawn before the ground freezes. Fertilizing in the early fall can help enrich your lawn’s valuable nutrients before the winter. Make sure to pick a fertilizer rich with nitrogen, as it helps the grass to grow thick and green.
Windows and Doors
Check the weather stripping and seals on all of your windows and doors. Be sure to check the seal on your garage door as well.
Check Your Snow Blower
If you live in a portion of the country where it snows, now is the time to prep. Once the snow starts to fall, everyone who did not prepare will be rushing to buy a new one or get theirs fixed. Stores know this as well. You can even get some pretty good sales before the weather gets too cold.
Check Your Heating Units in Your Home
Inspect your heating unit before the weather gets too cold. No one likes to think about turning on the heat in shorts weather, but you don’t want to be without it when you need it most.
Change filters and make sure there is no debris blocking any of the vents. If you have a fireplace, be sure to have that inspected so it’s ready for a snowy night.
Whether we like to admit it or not, fall is here. If you want to win at fall this year, don’t procrastinate on your to-do list.
Leaving decomposing leaves on your lawn for too long can kill your grass. Piles of leaves in your flowerbeds can encourage bugs to live in the soil, which could be harmful to your future plants. Make sure to vacuum or remove those throughout the season.
Doing these few things now will make spring time a lot more enjoyable. Maybe that is why it is ranked the top season. Starting early on your fall checklist list will give you more time to focus on eating those deep-fried Oreo burgers and drinking a s’mores beer, and let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot anyone is going to be able to do after that!