With Fall right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about getting your home and property prepped for colder weather. Of course, how much prepping you need to do depends on where you live and what kind of winter weather is typical for your area. It’s good to start thinking about prepping your house and yard for fall and winter, so you can start planning for what needs to be done and when.
Here are steps for prepping your house and yard for Fall and Winter weather.
Close and block crawl space/basement vents.
You can buy styrofoam square vent plugs that will fit into most standard size house vents. Or you can cut your own if you have pieces of styrofoam you aren’t using. Closing and blocking these vents helps stop the outside cold air from getting into your crawl space. This helps reduce the chances of having freezing pipes in your basement or crawl space.
Trim back plants and prep them for colder weather.
Some plants do better over the winter if they are pruned back before the cold weather starts. Cut back perennials until they around 4 to 6 inches tall. You can use pine needles, leaves, bark, or mulch to cover up the roots for extra insulation from freezing temperatures and snows.
If you have questions about specific types of plants and how to best prepare them for winter, contact your local garden center or a gardening club. They are usually happy to share their wealth of knowledge. Also, consider bringing any plants contained in plants or pots into your garage or house for the winter.
Winterize lawn mowers.
If possible, store lawn mowers and other yard tools like leafblowers and weed whackers in a garage or shop over the winter. If that isn’t possible, make sure they are covered well with a heavy tarp to keep snow away from them. Try to empty the gas tanks before the end of the mowing season. This helps prevent the gas from going bad over the winter.
Have snowblowers/shovels ready to go.
The first snow can hit without much warning. It’s a good idea to service your snowblower and make sure it is running properly before a big storm hits. Make sure it has a full tank of fuel and will start properly. If you shovel by hand, be sure you have a snow shovel (or 2) in an easily accessible spot.
Clean the leaves/pine needles out of your gutter.
Extra leaves in your gutter can cause major issues with your roof and gutters if you get a lot of melting and freezing. Wet leaves can turn into frozen leaves which will expand as they freeze. This can cause your gutters to warp.
Frozen wet leaves also act as a dam causing new rainwater or melting snow from your roof to back up in your gutters. If you don’t feel comfortable climbing on the roof and cleaning gutters yourself, you can call a local lawn care company. If they aren’t able to do it, they should be able to pass on recommendations for someone who can.
Get sprinklers blown out before the first freeze.
If you experience freezing temps in your area, it’s always a good idea to get your sprinklers blown out before the first freeze. If any water is left in the line, it can freeze up, causing lines to break and leaving you with a big mess come springtime.
Most lawn companies offer this service, or if you have an air compressor and feel comfortable tackling this on your own, you can do it yourself to save a little money. (Though the cost of hiring someone might be worth it!) It’s also important to unhook any hoses from spouts and drain the hoses. You can purchase foam covers to keep waterspouts insulated over the winter.
Check windows and doors for any leaks.
Sometimes your electrical company will do a home energy audit for you. This can be a great way to save money on your electric or natural gas bill in the long term. But even if you aren’t able to do an official audit, it’s always a good idea to check around your windows and doors for any leaking air.
Sometimes you can feel the draft coming in under doors. A purchase of a door draft stopper can help alleviate cold air coming in from outside. It’s a good idea to check around your windows for signs of cracked or missing caulking which can also lead to cold air getting inside your house.
Check to see when clean green pick-up stops in your neighborhood.
Many cities in colder climates quit picking up clean green receptacles at a certain part of Fall. Make sure to check with your local city utilities department to see when they plan to stop this service so you can plan accordingly. Your city might also have a clean green area in their recycling center that is open farther on into the Fall.
Raking leaves or pine needles can be a good activity for kids to help with. It’s great exercise for the whole family!
Prepare garden beds for winter.
Some people choose to leave their plants in their garden beds over the winter and dig them up in the spring when they are ready to start the planting season over. Where I live, we have a somewhat short planting season. I have found in the past, the weeds start growing long before I am ready to plant.
So instead of leaving the old plants in the beds, I usually get rid of them in the fall and then cover my garden beds with weed cover material. This doesn’t prevent all weeds from growing, but it does help a lot. Then I’m not faced with a bunch of weeding to do in the spring.
Check insulation in attic.
Since warm air rises, it’s also a good idea to check the amount of insulation in your attic, especially if you recently moved into your home. Adding some more insulation can help hold in the heat in the cooler Fall and Winter months. Same goes for your garage.
Get your house and yard prepped for fall and winter and you will have a great season!