Prepping Lawns & Outdoor Spaces for Fall

A lawn mower cutting down the grass to prepare the outdoors for fall.

The summer months are coming to a close, meaning fall is soon upon us. Some may be disappointed over the end of fun in the sun, while others celebrate cooler temperatures and seasonal delights such as Halloween and pumpkin spice lattes. No matter your stance, your lawn and outdoor spaces need some maintenance. Here are some tasks to check off to prep the outdoors for fall.

Mow Until Your Grass Stops Growing

Don’t put your mower in the shed yet. Continue regular mowing until your grass stops growing past its standard height. Once it has stopped growing, perform a maintenance check before putting your mower away.

Maintenance can depend on your mower, so consult your manual. However, you might need to consider sharpening your blades, changing plugs, and changing the air filter. If you have an electric mower, you might not need to do as much maintenance, but check your manual for instructions. You will want your mower in good working order when it’s time to use it!

Aerate and Fertilize

A person stepping on a garden tool to aerate the lawn for fall.

If you don’t know what aeration is, it involves removing soil plugs from your yard to let air and water access grassroots. During the summer, the soil compacts, causing the grass to be thin or brown. When you aerate, you let valuable nutrients return to the grass where it belongs. We recommend using machinery designed for aeration or calling a professional.

Additionally, we recommend that you fertilize your lawn. During the winter, your grass might not get the proper nutrition it needs. Purchasing fertilizer high in nitrogen and applying it after you aerate can help your lawn last.

Seed Your Lawn

A person's hand holding grass seed over a bare patch in the yard.

Summer could have killed your grass, so seeding your lawn during fall is smart. With seeding, it would be best if you overseeded your yard to fill in any bare or thin spots. Overseeding works well for fall because the ground is warm and the nights are cool.

Look for seeds resistant to droughts or other challenges that could come during the fall. In addition, you might want to rent a power seeder to get the seeds on the lawn properly. One route you can take is contacting a professional who can take care of the seeding and other lawn maintenance.

Keep Watering

While fall brings forth less evaporation and your lawn will require less watering, you will still need to do so. Give your yard an inch weekly and run any sprinklers you have until the freezing temperatures hit. If you have irrigation systems, flush them so your pipes do not freeze.

Prepare for Leaf Removal

A woman raking up leaves to prepare her lawn for the fall.

You love the fall because playing in the leaves reminds you of great times in childhood. However, as an adult, you’ll soon realize the trouble that comes if you don’t remove leaves as quickly as possible. Leaves can trap moisture and prevent your grass from getting sunlight. As you probably have guessed, both are disadvantageous to a lawn and could possibly damage it.

Rake leaves as soon as possible or use a leaf blower. The sooner you can rake all leaves and remove them from your lawn, the better. With that said, there is an alternative to removal that you might want to consider.

Try Mulching Your Leaves

A lawn mower mulching leaves on the lawn.

One thing you might want to do with your leaves is to mulch. Mulching leaves involves mowing or shredding them into many pieces. When you mulch, you turn your leaves into compost, which significantly benefits your lawn. It can be less hassle than raking them, particularly if you have a more expansive yard or physical issues. Consider mulching to save time and energy.

Clean Your Gutters

While looking at your lawn, look to your gutters nearby. Gutters can become clogged with leaves and other debris that could have gathered during the summertime. If left unattended, the gutters may overflow, or the debris could rot inside.

Therefore, cleaning your gutters should be a regular occurrence with your other lawn maintenance activities.

Don’t Forget Pest Control

One mistake you may make approaching the fall is assuming that the pests will disappear due to the cooler weather. While you’re not going to encounter as many mosquitoes and flies, many pests that live in the ground will damage your lawn. Grubs, ticks, and chinch bugs are three examples of this. Of course, the pests you’ll experience will depend on where you live. Do your research, treat your lawn accordingly, or contact a pest control company.

Put Away Lawn Furniture

If you have outdoor furniture or other lawn essentials, you will need to take steps to prevent damage from the elements.  For smaller pieces that don’t do well in cold or wet weather, start moving it into storage. For larger items, consider waterproof furniture covers.

Get the Decorations Out

Where did you stash your holiday décor? As fall approaches, it is a great time to bring out your Halloween and fall decorations.  If you need updated décor, look for early bird discounts for fall decorations, particularly at hobby stores. This tip isn’t a requirement, but what better way to get in the fall spirit than decorating?

It’s All About Timing

While you don’t need to complete all these tasks in a time crunch, be mindful of timing when checking maintenance items off your list. For example, if you wait too long in the season, it becomes too cold for fertilizer to work. On the other hand, if you aerate too early, you can develop weeds.

The answer to the right time to do something can depend on where you live. In general, you should start doing everything in this article once summer temperatures begin cooling down. However, you may want to consult your local lawn care professionals to determine the right time for your location. 

In Conclusion

Fall is a fantastic time of year, but it does require you to do some maintenance for your home to survive what lies ahead. Plan a list of chores you need to do, and then get on them. If you don’t have the time or desire to tackle it on your own, there are always professionals available to help get your lawn and outdoor spaces into tip-top shape for fall.

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