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Yard and Home Tips for Autumn

raking autumn leavesWe’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed summer-like weather into October but it’s finally beginning to feel like autumn. Between cooler temperatures, dusk falling earlier, and a vivid tapestry of trees dressed in fiery reds, sienna and gold, the shift to fall is here.

Displays of plump orange pumpkins and colorful mums grace front porches; Octoberfests and Fairs are in full swing, and apple/pumpkin flavored desserts and beverages abound. It won’t be long before the smell of wood-smoke permeates the air, and little ghosts and goblins venture forth in search of goodies for trick-or-treat.

Autumn brings many things, including a time to prepare for the coming cold weather. Is your yard ready? Is your home ready?

Below are a few tips and suggestions for preparation. You can find many more online through various home improvement and DIY sites.

In the Yard
Fall is a great time to plant shrubs. The soil is cool and moist allowing roots a head start at anchoring in the soil.

It’s also an ideal time to trim dead growth from trees. On small ornamental varieties, cut dead limbs close to the trunk (not flush) leaving the wounds exposed to heal. Consider hiring a professional to remove dead branches from larger trees to prevent potential damage during winter storms.

Trim your perennials close to the ground and remove annuals. 

Mulch perennials to protect from winter frost leaving the crown or center of the plant exposed. Covering it can lead to rot.

Clean garden tools before storing for the winter.

Around the House
Clean gutters and downspouts; make sure drainage areas are free of debris. Gutter guards will make this job a lot easier!

Shut off valves to exterior hose bibs to prevent pipes from bursting during winter. Run water until the pipes are empty and make sure all water is drained thoroughly.

Replace batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and test operation. A great time to do this is in conjunction with the switch to Standard Time on November 3rd.

Have your wood-burning fireplace inspected and cleaned to prevent chimney fires.

Clean and replace filters in your furnace. Contact a licensed heating contractor to inspect and service your gas heater or furnace.

Check windows and doors for leaks and drafts, caulking or installing weather stripping as necessary. Don’t forget your garage door!

Replace screens with storm windows.

When all is said and done, you’ll be snug inside, able to appreciate the splendor of fall without the worries of neglected maintenance. There’s no better time than autumn to curl up with a steaming cup of spiced apple cider or hot soup before a cozy fireplace. Better yet, venture outside and take in the sights and fragrant scents of the season. Autumn in Central Pennsylvania is gorgeous!

Candy Ortenzio
Executive Administrator
Brownstone Real Estate Co.