fall clean up

Fall Clean-Up Checklist: 13 Steps to Prep Your Yard

You deep cleaned the inside of your home during the spring clean, and now it’s time for your outdoor fall clean-up. Your lawn and garden need a little TLC right now if you want them to look their best next year. So, what steps do you need to take to ensure that your yard clean up is complete? Use this checklist to make sure you’ve done everything you need to do. 

Why Does Your Yard Need a Fall Clean-Up Service?

Not everyone is a stickler about their lawn and garden. But, if you neglect your fall clean up, you can get yourself into a sticky situation. Here’s the damage that prolonged neglect can do to your yard: 

  • Your soil can begin to lack nutrients.
  • Your beloved lawn and plants can develop disease.
  • Weeds and undesired seedlings can take over your landscape. 
  • Mold and mildew can damage your fencing, decks, and property. 

So, get to the root of these problems before they begin. Here’s how to do a full-service clean-up on your yard this autumn. 

Steps to Take for a Complete Yard Clean-Up in the Fall:

It’s time to start thinking about indoor fun. Fall is the perfect time to start locking down your outdoor space until next year. Make sure you’re done by checking everything off this list:

1. Pet Solid Waste Removal

Do you have pets? If so, they’ve probably left you with at least a few unwelcome gifts on the lawn. Yard waste removal should be the first step. So, get out there and scoop the poop or hire a removal service to do it for you. 

2. Leaf Removal

Do you have a leaf blower or rake? It’s time to clean up the fallen leaves. Either blow them from your lawn with a blower or rake them into a pile and bag them up. Don’t dispose of them just yet. Leaves, and other green waste, can make valuable compostable material which your garden will need come spring. If you don’t choose to compost, make sure you use biodegradable leaf bags instead of plastic bags.

3. Weed Elimination

If your lawn and garden have any weeds, now is the time to get rid of them. Either spray or pull any remaining weeds before winter so they’re not waiting to pop up next spring. It will also save you from spraying as much pre-emergent, helping to preserve an organic lawn and making weed control next season much easier.

4. Lawn Mowing

Lawn mower getting in a final mow in the fall season.

Next, it’s time for one last mow. The final mow of the season should be cut a bit shorter than usual. There’s a chance your lawn is still growing, and you want to give it a little room for this, but it also helps with the next step. 

5. Aeration

Proper aeration will keep your lawn healthy by giving your grass “room to breathe.” If you notice your ground has a spongy feel, and it’s a cool-season species, now is the time to aerate. However, if your groundcover is a warm-season species, the right time to aerate is in the late spring. 

6. Overseeding

If your lawn was even a little sparse this year, and you’re working with a warm-season species, you need to seed it now. Your final mow was just done. So, now you can add some seeds (and water). This ensures a fuller lawn next spring. 

7. Fertilization

A crucial part of lawn care is fertilization. And, this time of year, right before or right after your overseeding is complete, is the right time to feed. Read and follow the instructions on your fertilizer packaging for the best results. Or, ask your landscaping service provider for their recommendation.  

8. Mulching

Some of your perennials will require mulch to keep the roots from freezing in cold weather. Here are a few options:

  • Use some of the leaves you collected from your yard
  • Mulch clean yard debris/ branches
  • Purchase pre-made mulch at your local garden store or nursery 

After you’ve chosen a mulching material, cover the topsoil with a layer that serves as a blanket from the frost. But, take care that some air can still move through the mulch to prevent mold. 

9. Seed Storage

If you have any seeds in your garden that you would like to save for next year, now is the time to collect them. Make sure to let them dry completely before you place them in any type of airtight container. Label everything, and put it in a safe place, ready to plant next spring. 

10. Gutter Cleaning

Removing leaves from a gutter during fall clean up to prepare for snow.

Do NOT forget to clean out your gutters. If they’re still full of leaves in the winter, the weight of any snowfall can tear them from the side of your house. Not only will the gutters need replacing, but this can damage your roof and siding as well. 

11. Clutter Removal

It’s time to clean up your messes. If you have any of the following laying around, now’s the time to pick it up and put it into storage. 

  • Toys
  • Birdhouses, baths, feeders, etc.
  • Lawn ornaments
  • Planters
  • Patio & deck furniture
  • Gazebo covers
  • Trash and debris piles

Once you’ve cleaned up your junk and have it in a safe place, it’s time to move on. 

12. Power Washing

Now that everything has been cleaned up from the yard, it’s time to power wash your decks, fences, and your home, if needed. If you don’t have a power washer, use a sprayer nozzle on your garden hose and get to work. 

13. Tool Winterization

Some of your lawn and garden tools might have been put away when you were removing clutter from the yard. Now, you’re almost done and the final step is to winterize your lawn equipment.

  • Lawn mower
  • Weed Eater
  • Rototiller 
  • Anything else with an engine that won’t be running for awhile

And, when you’ve got it all winterized and stored away, you’re finally ready to sit back and relax. 

Final Thoughts

Not everything on this list applies to every yard. For example, you may not have trees to prune or seeds to store. Still, you can use this as a guide to make sure you nurture a beautiful and healthy yard. If you need help with any of the above, check out our lawn care services and give us a call today!