It’s no secret winter can leave you feeling dreary and cheerless, but keeping your home looking its very best should help keep those feelings at bay and minimize the work you must do in early Spring. With just a few easy steps, you can continue to enjoy the look of your yard during those cold months.
Prepare the Lawn
One of the best things to add to your honey-do list this fall is to prepare the lawn for its winter slumber. Starting with having the lawn aerated on moist soil in early to mid-fall will help with the circulation of air, water, and nutrients to the roots of your grass. This task helps your lawn grow roots deeply which will in turn produce a stronger, vigorous lawn. Using a great fertilizer and over-seeding after aeration is a no-brainer. Don’t miss this step!
Throughout the season you will want to continually rake up leaves lying on the lawn to prevent the grass from dying below. Raising the height of your mower deck will reduce stress on your lawn, and be sure to give it one last cutting before the first frost of the season. Both steps will aid in keeping pesky critters such as mice and snakes out of your yard as well!
Focus on Hardscapes
With winter leaving many yards feeling barren, you tend to notice the hardscaping at your home more than when your flower beds are luscious and full. These structures looking dingy and moldy will be easily noticed throughout the winter months. Right after the last few leaves have fallen (but before the air temps get too low), you should give your concrete, decks, siding, and pavers a good pressure washing. ***Side Note: Don’t forget to disconnect your hoses! *** Pergolas, arches, arbors, firepits, etc. are great to add during this time of the year if your home is lacking in the hardscape department.
Protect Your Sensitive Perennials
Depending on your Hardiness Zone, certain perennials may be sensitive and struggle throughout the winter months. You want to protect these plants to keep them full and lush come spring. As contradictory as it may seem, watering them deeply before the first below-freezing night will help them stand strong against Jack Frost. Also, protect your plants by moving potted greenery inside or under a deck, and for those planted in the ground use an insulation barrier on those cold winter nights. Making sure all plants have 2-4” of mulch is crucial, but you can also use buckets on smaller plants and shrubs, burlap on larger trees, or even bubble wrap if you are in a pinch! Prepare now and grab your supplies next time you are out shopping. You may still have a casualty or two but your hard work should definitely pay off.
Clean the Gutters
Aside from the terrible aesthetics of piles of leaves and twigs on your roofline, not cleaning out your gutters could cause major issues throughout the winter. If you are in a climate that gets occasional to heavy snowfall, those stopped-up gutters can cause ice damming; this occurs when you have a warm attic with poor ventilation. Clogged gutters can exacerbate the issue when water doesn’t drain properly. This can result in some serious damage to your roof, attic, and even interior spaces! Save yourself the headache and clean them out now.
Remove the Dead or Dying
During winter, dead limbs and plants can make an already dull streetscape look worse. Make everything look its very best by cutting away dead limbs, lightly pruning on trees and shrubs, deadheading your flowering plants such as hydrangeas (making sure not to cut them to the ground as some species set their blooms in July and August for the following year), and pulling out dead annuals. I have window boxes at my home in Nashville that I never like empty; however, lifeless flowers on the front façade just looks dreadful.
Pops of Color
Winter doesn’t always have to be brown and boring. In fact, there are many ways to add some color to your yard to keep it interesting and rich. Add a splash of color by planting groundcover such as the Cranberry Cotoneaster. This plant has small, pink flowers in spring and are followed by large, beautiful red berries that brighten the winter landscape. Accenting with a colorful wreath on your door is also a great way to liven the look of your home, or let Mother Nature do the work and add a bird feeder to attract colorful birds such as Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Yellow Finches to your yard.
With these tricks, your home is sure to look its very best throughout the cold months. If you plan to sell your home during this time of year, this level of care will communicate to a potential buyer that you went above and beyond to prepare for winter and they will be so excited to see their new streetscape come springtime. Just 6 easy steps is all it takes to be the best-looking yard in the neighborhood!