Taking advantage of fall makes great sense in preparing your home and yard for next year. There are several things you can do that are especially effective at this time, and others that are just plain necessary.
Especially effective. Fall is a great time to head to your local hardware or big box home improvement store and stock up on trees, bulbs and shrubs. Plant these items in the fall because the cooler temperatures are much less stressful on them and require far less watering than planting in the spring and taking them through the hot summer months. Fall planting also allows just enough time for the roots of a tree or shrub to become established which gets them accustomed to the soil and prepares them for fast growth the following spring. Fall is an ideal time to move plants (or remove plants) if you feel that they are not working in their current location, and for dividing perennials.
Just plain necessary. Remove plants from flowerbeds that are no longer in season. Drain excess water from your garden hoses and make sure they’re coiled up without any kinks. Clean garden tools, removing any dirt, grime or rust. Caulk or install weatherstripping around doors and windows and seal any cracks or openings that formed since last winter. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is in good condition and the chimney is clean.
A few more ideas. Even if you are of the group that prefers to bag your leaves and dispose of them, in the fall it’s a good idea to mulch leaves with your lawn mower in order to provide some nutrients and ground cover protection from the coming winter. Also, when choosing new trees and shrubs to plant, keep in mind that anything evergreen will provide landscaping interest even in the winter. One last thing-be sure to stock up on good snow shovels and ice melt before you actually need it.