Steps to Prepare Your Yard for Winter

Winter is coming. It can’t be avoided. With the cold and snow on it’s way, it seemed like a good time to share some tips for outdoor winter prep.

Around the Log Cabin

Clean the gutters

Fall leaves build up in the gutters and cause drainage problems all winter long. The best time to clean them out is while they are fresh and before the debris compresses and clogs the downspouts. Clogged gutters can freeze and damage the gutters and your home. Clear out all the twigs, pinecones and leaves from the gutters before the snow flies.

Remove Hoses from Spigots

Drain outdoor spigots. Make sure hoses are disconnected and drained. A frozen spigot can result in a broken pipe in the spring and possible water damage inside your log home.

Wash Windows

Fall is a great time to clean and inspect windows. Look for seals that need caulking or damage to the windows.

Buy Ice Melt and a new Scraper for the car

Don’t wait until the first big storm or really cold week to go look for ice melt, a snow shovel or an ice scraper. These items fly off the shelves once bad weather hits. Be prepared by getting a pet friendly ice melt before you need it so you can keep those sidewalks clear and safe.

Winterize the Yard

Trim Perennials

Depending on the type of perennials in the yard and location, they may need some extra care. Most cold weather perennials won’t need more than some mulch for insulation and to cut the dead stems back to keep the garden area neat and clean. In milder climates, some perennials will stay active all winter and need to be watered regularly, in colder areas watering should be stopped so the plant can harden for winter. Evergreens shouldn’t be trimmed in the fall, and trimming should wait until after they bloom.

Drain Water Features and sprinklers

Fountains and waterfalls may need to be drained to avoid freezing. A frozen water feature can lead to leaks and repairs to pumps and pipes come spring. Any sprinkler system that isn’t set up for self-draining will need a blow out. A homeowner can do this with a home air compressor, but a commercial compressor by a landscape company is typically much faster.

Cover Patio furniture

Bring cushions inside, cover patio furniture, and put umbrellas away. Leaving items out on the patio can cause them to blow away in winter storms.

Wrap and trim trees

Wrapping tree trunks helps prevent frost cracking in thin-barked tree species. Sap that is warm during the day in the sunlight can freeze at night. This will cause the bark to crack. Wrapping the tree trunk will prevent this and the wrap can be removed in the spring to allow the tree to grow.

Late fall is a great time to trim trees. Wait until the leaves have fallen and the tree goes dormant, typically late October or November, before doing any major pruning. Pruning too early can promote new growth late in the year and without leaves it’s easier to see the structure of the tree and decide where to remove branches.

Fall is also a good time to remove dead tree branches before snowfall causes them to crack and break. Dead tree limbs dry out and are brittle, this makes the more likely to break under a wet winter or spring snow while healthy live trees will flex more before they break. Removing the dead material before the snow allows a homeowner to control where these branches come down without damaging structures or other things in the yard. It may be best to hire a professional tree trimmer for big limbs and high branches.

Mow and Fertilize the lawn

Give the grass one last mowing. It will continue growing until late in the season, so a last mow will keep it looking good all winter. A winter fertilizer is great to strengthen the turf and have it ready for spring.

Fall is a good time to reseed bare spots, just loosen some sole with a rake and add some seed. Cover with some straw or much to keep the birds away.

Clean up the weeds, especially dandelions, thistle and other perennial weeds.

Aerate the turf, this is often done in the spring, but fall is a great time to do this. The messy soil plugs will be buried under the snow instead of underfoot while you are in the hard in the spring.

Prepare and relax all winter long

A little winter prep will put a log home and yard in great shape for spring. Just a weekend or two in the fall for a yard will setup for great success next year. Another great addition to a log home is TruLog steel siding. Available in both log and board and batten styles, TruLog can make your home and yard look fantastic all year long.

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