Periodic home maintenance is essential, both to keep your house looking its best and to prevent problems that could worsen over time. One of the best times to clean up and maintain your home is during the fall, when temperatures start to drop but winter freezes are still a little way off. Fall cleaning can be a big job, so here are a few tips on how to tackle it in ways that you might not have considered.
Watch Your Flower Beds
A lot of people let leaves and other plant material build up over flower beds in the fall, working under the assumption that doing so will get the beds off to a good start in the spring. After all, won’t the leaves break down over the winter and give the soil a natural boost of fertilizer? The problem with this is that the piled leaves can also give insects and other pests a place to bed down in the winter and possibly gain access to your home. If you have rose beds, diseases and fungal infections may also stick around on those leaves, only to resurface in the spring.
Start Garden Prep Early
What can you do with those unwanted leaves, then? Drag them over to your garden! Spread fallen leaves, compost and any other material that will break down over the winter and cover your garden soil with it. Run a tiller over the whole area, breaking up the soil and driving that compostable material into the soil. This will take care of your leaves and other material AND make starting your garden easier in the spring!
Wash, Then Dry
It’s fairly common practice to unhook and stow your hoses in the fall before cold temperatures set in. Before you do that, though, give them a workout! Give your house a good wash before you unhook the hoses, removing as much dirt and other debris from the siding or bricks as possible. Once you’re done, unhook the hoses and allow them to dry thoroughly before storing them for winter.
Make Leaf Cleanup a Breeze
If you have a lot of leaves to deal with, get a few tarps and spread them out under your trees before the leaves start to fall. Let them get a good coverage of leaves, then drag the tarps over to your leaf pile or other area that you’ve set aside for them. You’ll probably still have a few leaves to rake, but this will take care of the lion’s share of the work!
Aerate for Winter
If you have drainage problems in the winter, fall is a good time to aerate your yard. While you can do this using hand tools, a lot of outdoor and hardware stores have machine aerators that you can rent at a decent price. The aerator will break through the packed-down topsoil, giving water an easier route to drain in the event of a wet autumn or winter season. Best of all, grass will grow better in the spring so you can easily cover up any thin or bald patches in the yard.
Break Out the Mower
Even though the grass stops growing in the fall, there’s still a good case for giving your yard one final mow. Wait until a lot of your yard tasks are finished, then run over the yard with the blade set low. Use a mulching guard and/or mulching blade for even better effect. This will not only nab any stray leaves that might have fallen after your clean-up but it will also ensure that your grass has a nice even cut before it starts growing again in the spring.