Fall is the perfect season for fun home-improvement projects, from putting in fire pits to putting a fresh coat of paint on the front door, but it’s also the time to take on those must-do task to get your home ready for winter…and beyond.
“By doing these things now, your yard will look clean and be ready for winter, and you’re also preparing for next spring,” says Fidel Velasquez of FVV Landscaping. “It’s not just the plants and trees and lawn, you also want to look at your driveway, your front steps, around the foundation of you house, the gutters, the roof. There are many things you can do now, or even just choose a few that are most important—something is better than nothing.”
With that inspiration, here are 10 tasks he recommends taking on right now around the house.
Deal with Your Driveway
The asphalt on your driveway gets damaged over the years from the sun, heat and cold, water and snow and ice, roots growing underneath than push their way through. Filling in the cracks that have opened and grown over the years and then putting a coat of sealer on will help protect it from the snow and ice in winter, and when that coat is on, it can look almost new.
Prune Your Trees and Plants
In spring and summer you can let them grow, but now you want to get them under control, do some work, get them ready for next year. You don’t have to cut them all the way down, but if you prune and shape them now, they will be more manageable next year and ready to grow.
Go Out on a Limb
Dead trees, and even dead parts of trees, can be dangerous when storms come, especially when they get weighted down by heavy snow. Look around your yard now and identify trees and limbs that should be cut down or removed entirely, and you won’t have to worry about them when strong storms arrive.
Wood That You Could
The wood from the trees you’re cutting down now isn’t going to be so good for winter fires. You can get a large order of wood delivered that’s been dried and cut, but you want to quickly get it to a dry place so it’s ready when you need it. Don’t get so much delivered that you have nowhere to store it.
Stop Cutting, Start Feeding
Late October or first week or two of November is when you probably want to do your last cutting of the year, and it’s going to be shorter than usual. If you use fertilizer, you can put it down now, water it in and it will feed all winter, giving you stronger growth in the spring. This is probably the most important time of year to fertilize. If you mulch the leaves when you mow, that’s also a good way to feed the lawn.
Stoops and Stones
Have you been using salt to melt ice but that can damage bricks and concrete? Over the years, that can cause damage. You can fill in damaged and missing concrete now, replace damaged bricks and pavers, strengthen your entire stoop or walkway and make it look better at the same time.
Get to the Gutters
Leaves have already started falling and filling up the gutters, so you can do one cleaning now and then have an easier time when you clean them after all the leaves come down in a month or two.
Look for Leaks
Once there’s two feet of snow outside and it starts to melt, it’s going to be too late to fix the areas where water might leak into your living space or even your garage—either because you won’t be able to get to them, or it will just be too cold. Look for spots now where you might see water coming in after a rain storm and get them fixed.
The Light Stuff
Solar lights are a great choice for yards any time of year, but they are very nice in winter when there’s more darkness and you have more time to enjoy them. You want to get them staked into the ground where you want them now, before the ground freezes. Check the batteries and make sure they’re all working, because once the really cold weather comes, they’re stuck there until spring.
Make a List for Next Year
You can’t do everything now, but you can start planning for how you might want your yard and gardens to look next spring. Walk around and imagine what you might want to plant, where you might want flowers that you didn’t have before or where you’ll want more privacy from your neighbors with a large bush or trees, maybe. By getting ideas in your mind now and starting to plan things out, you’ll be ready in a few months and can start right away when the weather gets nice again.