Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall landscaping

Ah Autumn! The crisp fall air, the comforting scent of apple cider and pumpkin pie, the warmth of family and the glorious colors of changing leaves. If you are lucky enough to live in our area: Maryland, the mid-Atlantic region, you get to see all of the seasons in a distinct progression, and for many of us fall is a favorite. Fall offers mild temperatures with the warm energy of food and family to keep the incoming winter chills at bey.

Fall is also a great time to prepare your house and yard for the harsh frost, snow and ice of winter. Before you nestle into your cozy sofa to enjoy your spiced cider by the fire, there are a few keys to protecting your house and yard and prevent the banes of winter weather.

Ice and leaves can put a burden on gutters. That's why fall is an optimal time to get the gutters cleaned and ensure that they are sturdy and in good working condition. Leaves and Ice can clog and weigh down gutters, not only causing over flow and water damage, but also putting them in danger of collapsing. A good gutter cleaning is relatively inexpensive and can save you money in the long run by preventing future damage.

Ice and snow can also pose a problem for roofing. Any leaks or weak spots will be exacerbated by the heavy snow and ice. Nobody wants to deal with a collapse roof, or a leaky ceiling in the middle of winter, especially when snow and ice can make roof access dangerous and difficult. Replacing your roof or repairing any damage in the fall is ideal. Also, the government is offering tax rebates until January 2011 for certain roofing material with a high SRI. If you are thinking about going solar, now is an ideal time too. Using the suns energy will help you save on heating, and most systems pay for themselves in about 5 years with the rebates the government is offering for installation.

Few people enjoy raking, but it really is necessary to maintain the health of your lawn. Like us, grass needs to "breathe," and it can be smothered if a thick layer of  leaves is left on top of them over the winter, causing problems such as snow mold. Also, some grasses are cool season grasses, which revitalize themselves in the fall. The fallen leaves can inhibit this process, which can harm your lawn. Leaves are also a safety hazard, and can be slippery if left wet on walkways and sidewalks. Thus, leaf removal is an important fall task for both lawn care and safety. To make leaf removal more eco-friendly, shred the leaves and use them for mulch, and avoid using plastic bags to haul them away.

Finally, a nice yard clean-up with mulch and annual flowers like mums can add a fresh look to your home, as the deciduous and seasonal plants start dying. Since fall is a season of family and festivals, giving your yard a makeover will help your home stand out and look more welcoming. Mulch and flowers will also help absorb storm water run-off making them a nice sustainable option.

As fall turns to winter make sure you are prepared by implementing a few environmentally friendly preparation options.