How To Prepare Your Yard For Winter

Nov 05, 13 How To Prepare Your Yard For Winter

Although many of us don’t want to face it, winter is fast approaching. With the colder weather hitting you need to tend to some outdoor yard work so that your garden and lawn will be in great shape for next year.

I am so thankful that my son is of the age where he can start to help out with activities around the house (I am even more thrilled that he enjoys doing it). My ex-husband used to take care of the majority of the outdoor work around the house and this is my first year without him to contribute. Instead of letting that get in my way, I am excited and motivated to do take on this challenge with my son.

Step 1- Gather Your Tools.

When my son and I started out in the garden we did not gather all of the necessary tools beforehand. This was a major mistake seeing as we ended up having two go out to the local hardware store not once, but twice to get things that were missing or tools that were damaged. In hindsight having done a mental check beforehand we would have saved ourselves not only time, but frustration as well. That is why I strongly suggest that you get all of the necessary tools in place before you get started.

Here is my checklist for reference:

  • Gardening gloves
  • Rake
  • Leaf Bags
  • Compost Bags
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Bucket
  • Lawnmower
  • Hedge Trimmers
  • Rototiller
  • Outdoor Hose
  • Broom

It is also important to dress appropriate for the weather. It can be pretty cool out there so having the appropriate clothing and footwear on is important to keep yourself warm. I always make sure to wear layers so that I can easily take them off it gets warm.

Step 2- Rake.

I always start my yard work with raking order to get a better idea of what state my yard is actually. Towards the beginning of November I like to do my most thorough raking because shortly after I will cut my lawn for the last time of the year (with the cold weather the grass grows slower until becoming almost completely dormant). Once I have all (most) of the leaves in their designated leaf bags I do a quick once over in the garden with the rake in case any leaves have blown into it.

Step 3- Cut The Grass.

If you hate cutting the lawn you can breathe a sigh of relief to know that this is the last time you will have to do it until spring hits. I actually enjoy cutting the lawn so it isn’t a big deal for me. I quickly rake up any grass when I am finished and add it to my leaf and compost bags.

Step 4- Remove Dead Plants.

I tend to have a garden that does not require very much maintenance, which is good if you are pressed for time. Before I completely stop tending my garden for the winter I go through and remove any weeds and dead plantation. This allows the soil to be in its best condition for the living plants. You can also add the dead plants and weeds to your compost bag.

Step 5- Get The Soil Ready.

Many people overlook this step, but it is an easy way to make your plants look their best longer and return next year sooner. By simply using a spade and a tiller the soil you allow the soil to get air and get rid of pesky stones which may obstruct root growth. Some people choose to wrap their plants and shrubs with burlap as a protective measure. My plants don’t require such care, but check with your local gardening center or online for your plants specific care needs.

Step 6- Put Away The Garden Hose.

It is important to make put the garden hose away before freezing temperatures take hold. Subjecting your garden hose to extreme cold temperatures because it can cause the rubber to crack and break. By disconnecting your garden hose and putting it into a temperature controlled environment such as a shed or garage you will be able to extend its use for many years. Also make sure that you have completely shut off the water supply to prevent wasting water or potentially freezing pipes.

Step 6- Put Away Outdoor Ornaments And Furniture.

I start by doing the bigger items first because it will require the most space in the shed (the smaller stuff I can simply add on top in a more strategic manner). I suggest getting a garbage bag in which you can put your fabric cushions and pillows. This will keep them dry and clean until next year. I also take a wet rag and clean off all of the fiberglass table tops and metal and rubber components (which will prevent you from additional work in the spring). If there are any pieces of furniture that are easy to dissemble or fold go ahead and do that. Once all of your large items are in the shed you can move on to the smaller decorative items. Some of the smaller items I have to package up for the winter include decorative ornaments, bird houses, decorative painted stones and a few candle holders. By having a large box ready you can easily stack your items with newspaper in-between to prevent any damage from occurring. If you have any potted plants that can come inside for the winter now is the time to do it. It is best to transition the plants gradually to warmer temperatures. This involves putting the plants in the garage for a few nights and then moving them indoors.

Step 7-  Sweep Up.

This is the last tool you will need to use is the broom. I do a thorough sweep of the porch, walkway and back deck. I make sure to get into cracks so that there is nothing left over that will brush up when the wind flies. This thorough sweeping can prevent you from having stones, dirt and more from getting into the grass before the snow falls. This also makes your walkway ready for salt to provide grip on slippery days (this is also a good time to buy salt and antifreeze because those icy mornings will be here before you know it).

You will see that I neglected to talk about cleaning out the eaves trough. That doesn’t mean that you get to skip out on doing it, rather  I have never cleaned out an eaves trough before and am hiring someone else to do it this year (I am terrified of heights so I think it is worth it!). Your rain gutters should be cleaned at the beginning of November or before the first real snow flies.

Now that your garden and yard are all ready you can cozy up for winter! Is there any tricks that you use in order to prep your yard for the colder months?

 

 

 

 

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