Preparing Your Yard for Winter
Fall is the ideal time to start preparing your outdoor living space and yard for the colder weather. Here are a few items that you can do to get ready for the winter:
Around the House
- Clean out gutters. Keep gutters clear of fall leaves, twigs, and other debris. Clogged gutters can lead to costly problems, including water damage to your home and termites or other pests nesting.
- Turn off outside faucets. Drain outside faucets, turning off water from inside your home. Consider covering exterior faucets with an insulating cover, especially if you do not have a turn-off valve inside.
- Power wash outside surfaces. Take time to scrub down patios, decks, and walkways to remove accumulated dirt from summer.
Outdoor Living Areas
- Drain outside water features. This includes hot tubs, fountains, swimming pools and waterfalls.
- Cover outdoor furniture. Clean and cover outdoor furniture, making sure it is snug and secure for winter. If possible, store your furniture away in a shed.
- Check outdoor lighting. Inspect outdoor lighting, replacing bulbs as needed. This is especially important with lights that require stepladders for bulb changes.
Lawn and Landscape
- Cut grass. Professional landscapers recommend mowing lawns in snow-prone areas to at least four inches to protect grass from snow. Cut it too short, and winter snow and cold may damage roots and cause sections to die out. Leave it too long, and blades may mat under snow and develop snow mold disease, which might cause bare spots next spring.
- Fertilize the lawn. Apply a winterized fertilizer to cool season lawns to encourage thicker root growth. Warm-season lawns turn to amber shades after frost. If you want green all winter, overseed with ryegrass.
- Drain irrigation systems. Properly drain and blow out automated irrigation systems to avoid damage from freezing and thawing. Drain and coil hoses for winter storage. Remove hose nozzles, sprayers, and wands. Store these items in a non-freezing spot, like a garage or basement.
- Protect shrubs. Install burlap barriers around cold-sensitive shrubs, especially those near roads. Burlap can help protect plants from salt damage.
- Recycle leaves. Mow over leaves and let them decompose in place. Or bag chopped leaves with your mower and use them as mulch or add to your compost pile.
- Consider the birds. Drain and store unheated birdbaths. Consider adding a heater to your bath or swapping it for a heated model to provide birds with fresh water all winter. Fill and hang birdfeeders to invite living color to your winter landscape.