Cooler weather, the start of school, football and the shades of autumn all signal the beginning of fall. For me I adore living where I get to enjoy all four seasons but fall is my all time favorite. It is also a very busy time preparing for the next season.

While the weather is still cooperating take this time to prepare your home.

Let’s start with the lawn. I once read that fall lawn care is a make it or break it season for grass. To have a lush, green lawn through the spring and summer months we need to be proactive. Here are a few steps to a better lawn next year:

Aeration: Aerification allows water, oxygen and nutrients to reach the roots and gives new seed room to grow. It is recommended to be done once a year and can be done twice if you have a lot of activity on your lawn. Seeding can also be done in the fall. I understand a kentucky bluegrass resists drought, disease and insects. Fertilize before the first frost. Weed Prevention for both annual and perennial weeds are best when treated in the fall. Since there will be weeds still growing and you want to prevent weeds like dandelions and crabgrass next year it is recommended to use a pre and post emergent herbicide. The post emergent will go directly towards the roots preventing spring weeds. The last item to consider when prepping your lawn for fall is to not rake but Mulch the leaves that have fallen. Running over the leaves with your mower will shred them leaving them to decompose into organic matter that will feed the grass.

While we have the mower out one last time let’s go over some tips for storing it. First clean the mower off, scrape any accumulated grass and gunk off the mower. Remove the blades to have them sharpened and ready for spring. For easier starting in the spring; remove the spark plug, pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole, replace the spark plug and pull the starter cord a couple times to lubricate the pistons. For more on winter storage view this article.

Other items to take care of outside would be your plants and trees. Depending on the plants it could be time to prune, cover with mulch or simply deadhead them. As far as trees it is better to not prune them in the fall.  I would however encourage you to make sure you do not have branches that are within three foot of the roof. Branches this close can make it hard for the roof to dry, enable critters to get on the roof and could rub holes through the shingles.  The Arbor Day Foundation has a great guide to tree pruning.

Moving onto the roof, check the shingles. Look for torn or missing shingles to replace and reseal. While you're up there it would be wise to check the seals around the chimney, any vents or any other additions you’ve attached to the roof. Inspect the chimney for blockage and don’t forget to make sure the damper is working. Depending on the pitch of your roof you could also check the gutters, though this might be easier from a ladder. Along the lines of your gutters, make sure all drainage is directed away from the house.

For your fall finale how about a bonfire, gather friends and family and enjoy the changing of the season. Just don’t forget to clean and store the outdoor furniture tomorrow.