Autumn is falling, and in more ways than one. Just open your eyes and nose, and you’re sure to be delighted with all that the post-summer season has to offer from pumpkin-spiced everything and apples galore to awe-inspiring foliage and brightly colored chrysanthemums. Not to mention those crisp autumn breezes, backyard bonfires, and wagon rides around the pumpkin patch.
After the sweltering summer heat, fall is often the cool change of pace that many of us need. But let us not forget that it’s also the transition to those frigid temps and frozen precipitation of wintertime. In this sense, we’d be wise to utilize autumn’s pleasantries to ease ourselves and our homes into the imminent winter months. Especially if you often play host during the holiday season, early autumn is an ideal time to get your home (and your psyche) in tip-top shape before the chaos and merriment commence.
Read on for some valuable fall prep tips to give your home and outdoor space the ultimate autumnal feel. Before you know it, the hard work will be done and you can relax, watching the leaves fall while sipping on some warm apple cider!
5 Simple Ways to Capture the Essence of Fall
Summer is over and it’s time to regain some sense of routine and structure. A great place to start is with a fall clean-up. Attack all possible landing spots for clutter and summer remnants – closets, the basement, patio, porch, and garage. Swap pool supplies and tiki torches for heat lamps and a fire pit. Stow away summer gardening supplies in the shed. Keep cold-weather supplies handy including batteries, bottled water, flashlights, candles, and a lighter.
Create a small, organized indoor nook with storage spaces and hooks for shoes, outerwear, school/office supplies, and small toys and tools.
Backyard Autumn Oasis
Take advantage of the near perfect temperatures that late September through early November offers to get your outdoor living space looking its autumn best while also prepping for the following spring. Below are a few solid tips for the fall landscaper to live by:
Feed grass with a high-phosphorus mix
Mow for the last time this season to 1 ¼ inches
Rake leaves and use them to start a compost pile for next season’s fertilizer
Trim existing trees and shrubs, plant new shrubs, cut back perennials, and plant spring bulbs. The best time to plant anything new is 6 weeks before the first frost.
If you have any new plants, add mulch to the beds for protection
Plant some fall perennials like pansies, or cool-season vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and broccoli.
Pumpkins and Mums and Gourds, oh my!
Now that the backyard is buttoned up for fall, it’s time to move out front. You can apply the same landscaping guidelines to the front lawn and foliage as discussed for the backyard. In addition, let’s focus on some cool weather curb appeal. From leaf motifs and squash of all shapes and sizes to farm-inspired swag, Halloween hullabaloo, and Thanksgiving trinkets, Autumn certainly does not fall short when it comes to decorating options and ideas.
From practical to decorative, some relatively simple changes and additions will keep your family and friends feeling warm, welcome and festive in your home.
Give your front door and shutters a new look with a fresh coat of paint, or perhaps new locks, trim, window treatments, and a welcome mat.
Spruce up the fall motif to your liking. Whether it’s pumpkins and mums that scream autumn to you, a hay bale and some scarecrows that tickle your fall fancy, or you’re inspired by styles of the spooky sort, the idea here is to be creative and festive. Get the whole family, including the little ones, involved – from container planting and Halloween decorations to homemade crafts and leaf-raking, everyone will have a ball with fall!
Outdoor Safety and Storage
No outdoor autumn makeover would be complete without considering safety and storage issues and solutions. Keep the exterior of your home well-lit, tidy, and free of debris so it’s safe for your friends, family, and guests.
Shorter days are ahead so you may require extra low-voltage landscape lighting to brighten the driveway, walkway, backyard, and garden. This adds ambiance while also allowing for evening entertaining and offering heightened security.
If your current walkway is more of a dirt pathway, or the driveway and pavement are laden with cracks, you may want to consider laying a new brick footpath or investing in some sealcoating and/or concrete repair.
Finally, the last thing you want visitors greeted with are your trash receptacles! Keep them out of sight with a simple build-it-yourself storage unit. Make it large enough to house two standard 32-gallon cans along with a few recycling bins, create lids that flip open easily, and handy bi-fold front doors.
Warming Things Up
We all want to create that warm and fuzzy feel in our homes come the fall. In addition to lovely autumnal decorating, ensuring that your home is temperate as the cooler weather sets in is a great way to do this. Plus, the harsh winter weather is just around the corner and no one wants to be left out in the cold.
Now is a great time to make sure your heating system is in good, working order. Do a furnace check-up. Your furnace shouldn’t produce any long-lasting or strong odors – this is the first sign that it needs a professional tune-up. Once deemed usable, replace the old filter with an electrostatic or genuine HEPA filter, and be sure to stock up for the upcoming winter.
Early fall is also the perfect time to service or repair your existing fireplace, or consider installing a new fireplace if you don’t have one. Adding a new fireplace or refurbishing an existing one can add value, interest, and warmth to your home. A well-crafted fireplace and mantel can transform your house into a home, creating a special place for loved ones to gather and make memories. It also provides significant warmth in the late fall and winter, helping to slash those pesky utility bills.
Additionally, reinforce the seals and insulation on your front door and windows to keep the warmth in and the cold out.
Don’t forget to check with your credit union for seminars on Fall home improvement projects as well as seasonal offers on low-rate personal or home equity loans. Get prepped and capture that Autumn essence!