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Do you like lists and processes as much as I do?
I’m much more likely to complete a project if I can write it down in actionable steps. Even though home maintenance has been the bane of my existence since my husband died, I still complete the list of fall outdoor home maintenance tasks that need to get done.
I don’t want to complete the list, but I know I need to.
If you’re a list-lover like me, read on for the top 7 fall outdoor maintenance tasks that you should do around your house. I’ll be out pruning my plants very soon. I like to cut everything back in my landscaping beds before I put up my Halloween decorations.
Keep in mind, I hire out some of these tasks, so don’t feel like you need to do everything by yourself.
I mean, please don’t try to climb up on the roof, OK?
PUT AWAY YOUR LAWN MOWER
If you live in a cold climate and won’t be cutting your grass past fall, you need to either add a fuel stabilizer to the gas or drain the gas from your mower completely. If you leave old gas in your mower it could break down and eventually ruin the internal parts. I personally prefer to drain the gas completely. But you could add a fuel stabilizer (sold at any auto store) that prevents the gas from degrading or breaking down.
I didn’t know how to prune plants before my husband died. As a result, new buds sprouted every spring in between my dead buds and branches that I never pruned in the fall. My poor plants looked schizophrenic. And sad. The landscaping travesty wasn’t pretty. Now that I know better, I put a note on my calendar to deadhead my Princess Spirea and other plants every October.
I didn’t know what to deadhead and what to leave alone, so I did some research based on my specific plants. Turns out, I need to cut down most of what exists in my landscaping beds for the winter to encourage new growth in the spring. I get to chopping and cleaning up the plants while my kids rake the leaves.
I’m officially done with leaf-raking.
My teenagers can do that grunt work.
TURN OFF WATER AND WINTERIZE SPRINKLER SYSTEM
Again, if you live in a cold climate, one of the most important fall outdoor home maintenance tasks is to turn off the water supply to exterior faucets. This prevents the pipes from freezing and bursting.
I also have an irrigation system in my yard. The irrigation system must be turned off and blow the water out of the pipes, valves and sprinkler heads before the cold temperatures arrive. I haven’t had any pipes freeze and burst yet and I don’t ever want to go through that hell.
Here’s what I have to do to turn off water and prepare my irrigation system for winter:
- Turn off the water supply to the exterior faucets and the irrigation system from the main valve
You need to turn off the water supply leading to outside faucets before the winterization process starts. If you don’t know where your main valve is, ask a neighbor for help. It’s typically the main valve that is the closest to the wall of the pipe that goes through to your outside water faucet.
Once the water is turned off inside, you should open up the exterior faucets to drain remaining water to also prevent those pipes from freezing and bursting. Now is a good time to remove any attached hoses and store those for the winter.
Here is a really simple YouTube video explaining how to protect your outside water faucets in the winter:
- Turn off the irrigation system timer or automatic controller
I use the Rachio smart wi-fi sprinkler controller system. Turning off the timer from my smartphone app is super easy. If you don’t have a smartphone app like Rachio, you can manually turn off the timer from the main controller.
- Schedule an appointment for a sprinkler line blowout
This is where a company comes out with an air compressor and blows the water out of each sprinkler head in each zone. Lots of people I know do this job themselves. They simply blow out the sprinkler system with their own air compressors. But I choose to hire this job out instead. It takes the professional company about 10 minutes to complete what would take me all day.
Your gutters need to be cleaned and free from any leaves or other debris before the cold weather sets in and freezes whatever is left in there.
Clogged gutters prevent water from draining away from your home’s foundation. If the water gets into your basement or crawl space, the resulting foundation repairs can be costly. Clogged gutters can also put a strain on your roof and damage shingles. You can obviously do this job yourself, or hire it out and not only get your gutters cleaned but inspected. A gutter cleaner can ensure no water is running behind the gutters and the support brackets are all secure.
It’s a good idea to get your roof inspected. An inspector checks for any loose or broken tiles or other potential roofing problems before little problems become big problems.
You can use binoculars and do this yourself and look for broken or missing shingles. Or you can have a proper roof inspection to make sure that nothing is amiss in places you can’t really see all that well. A roof inspection can also give you a professional estimate of how much useful life your roof might have left. You could combine the roof inspection with the gutter cleaning by finding a company that will do both.
A chimney inspection checks for things like animal nests or other obstructions that could block necessary venting of smoke and gas. A basic chimney inspection also looks for normal wear and tear items that need to be addressed. Different levels of chimney inspections check simple things like obstructions. If more damage is suspected, a higher level inspection could reveal structural problems in concealed areas.
STOW OUTSIDE FURNITURE
I love to sit outside on my patio in the warmer months. One of the saddest parts of the fall season for me is putting away my patio furniture. But every October I drag my outdoor furniture into my garage for safekeeping in the winter. If you can’t store your outdoor furniture inside for the winter, make sure to use good quality, waterproof covers or outdoor storage bags.
WIDOW WRAP UP
All the fall outdoor home maintenance tasks we don’t really want to do are made only slightly better by the beautiful fall weather. The bright, brisk days are the perfect time to get your roof and chimney inspections done. Prune those plants and stow away your mower.
Turning off the water to exterior faucets and winterizing your sprinkler system helps prevent freezing pipes. No one wants freezing and bursting pipes, right?
Once I had a list in hand and started with a little focus, my outdoor maintenance tasks weren’t so overwhelming. I hope the same holds true for you.