Fall Home Preparations Start Outside

More often than not, landscaping goes hand-in-hand with the long, warm days of the spring and summer. But don't put your garden tools away just yet — there's still plenty of work to be done outside before winter comes.

Unkempt landscapes can be more than unsightly. They can become a safe-haven for wintering pests and rodents, and make things much more difficult (and expensive) to revive next spring. Taking simple steps to prepare your outdoor spaces for the cold season now will go a long way in maintaining a healthy home all winter long — and make for a good excuse to enjoy some more time outside while you till can!

Put the gardens to bed

There's nothing like relaxing in a lush outdoor living space in the spring and summer months, but getting that picturesque landscape in your own backyard starts in the offseason. Get your pruning done and remove any fallen leaves, dead grass and other common yard waste thoroughly — crop the tops of ornamental grasses, remove spent annuals, and keep perennials and rose bushes trimmed, too. Add a good layer of mulch to perennial flower beds to protect them from freezing temperatures and to deter rodents and pests. recommends a 2-4 inch layer of shredded wood, wood chips, shredded leaves, or straw applied mid-late fall before the first freeze. Make sure to get enough material to cover your shrubs, trees, and rosebushes, too. If you're looking to add a little something to the landscape next year, fall is a great time to spread wildflower seeds, trees, and bulbs. With your flower beds tucked in, harvest one last bounty from your vegetable garden and