PhotoIn addition to taking steps to prepare the inside of your home to handle cooler temperatures, it’s important to also take steps to prepare the outside of your home for the coming fall season.

As lush green lawns give way to blankets of crunchy leaves, lawn equipment and sprinklers will earn some much needed time off. But wheeling the lawn mower to the shed isn’t all you’ll need to do to prepare the outside of your home for the onslaught of leaves, debris, and colder temperatures to come.

Before putting the outside of your home to bed for the season, a few actions are necessary to help ensure your lawn and lawn equipment will be ready to return to business as usual when spring rolls around again.

Outdoor fall checklist

Here are a few fall home maintenance to-dos that will help to get your home ready for winter.

  • Winterize your lawn mower. After giving your lawn its final mow of the season (usually around mid-October), drain the gas from the tanks of your lawn equipment. Gas that is left to sit in a tank for months can slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. If you would prefer to save spare gas, add fuel stabilizer to prevent it from degrading over the winter.
  • Fertilize the lawn. Fall is a great time to fertilize your grass, according to lawn experts. Fertilizing now helps keep the grass strong during winter and imbues it with the reserves necessary for a spring growth spurt. For fertilizing lawns in late fall, look for a product with a low middle number for NPK (for example, 32-0-10).
  • Drain sprinkler systems. Freezing temperatures pose a major threat to irrigation systems. To prevent irrigation lines from freezing, take some time to drain them. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve, shut off the automatic controller, open drain valves to remove water from the system, and remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them.
  • Seal air leaks. Make sure the heat in your home will stay inside (and small rodents will stay outside) by sealing up any cracks in the foundation or near doors or windows with color-matched exterior caulk.
  • Clean gutters. After leaves have fallen, be sure to remove them -- as well as acorns, sticks, and other debris -- so that melting ice can flow freely. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are in good condition. Replace if they are worn, damaged, or trapping water.

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