For some people, fall is the perfect season. Cooler temperatures make it the perfect time of year to get outdoors and do the activities that the summer heat may have prevented. It’s also the perfect time of year to go apple picking or witness the beauty of the leaves changing colors.

But if you live in the northern part of the United States, fall also means that you’re one season closer to winter. And though you may enjoy the outdoors in the fall, part of your time is likely going to be spent preparing the outside of your house for winter. 

Whether your yard is big or small, winterizing is an important task if you want your trees, shrubs and perennials to survive the cold. Even places like Florida, where we think of the weather as only being warm and tropical, have seen temperatures drop to levels that can leave dangerous frost on crops. So no matter where you live preparation for cold is important – even if snow isn’t in the forecast.

What do you do to get ready for winter? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so share your ideas on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Clean Out Your Gutters

If you have trees that could drop leaves in your gutters, cleaning them out is vitally important. If gutters get clogged, it can prevent rainwater or melted snow from running clear of your house, which can lead to flooding or water damage in your home. If you live where snow and ice is an issue, the clogged gutters can cause ice dams, where water flows over the edge of your gutter and freezes. The weight can cause the gutters to be ripped from your home, leading to costly repairs.

Prepare Your Lawn

Leaf raking may seem like a tedious, unending chore, but if you like the way your lawn looks, it’s a pretty important one. Letting a pile of fallen leaves stay on your lawn can smother your grass and make it harder to bounce back in the spring. After you’ve raked your leaves, there are no shortage of options of where to take them. Many cities operate a municipal yard-waste dumping station that you can take them to, or your trash collector may offer a free or pay-per-use service that will haul away yard waste.

Alternatively, you can use your lawn mower to mulch up the leaves to help speed up decomposition. Some leaves on the lawn can be beneficial, offering nutrients that help the lawn over the winter, as well as insulate plants. When you give your lawn that last cut, keep it as short as possible.

Trim Your Perennials

Perennials are great plants because you plant them once, and if all goes well, they keep growing year after year. However, that doesn’t mean that a little maintenance isn’t required. It’s important at the end of the growing season to trim perennials back. You don’t have to, but certainly doing so will help your flower bed look much more put together in the spring, which means you’ll have less of a headache on your hands when it warms up.

Clear Out Unwanted Vehicles

Maybe you have a car in need of some fine-tuning that you realize you’ll never get to. Or maybe there’s a motorcycle in your garage, and you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re not a motorcycle person. If those sound familiar, consider donating it to Wheels For Wishes benefiting Make-A-Wish. The proceeds from your car being sold will help grant the wish of a child in your community.You Also get a tax deduction because Wheels For Wishes is an IRS-approved 501(c)3 organization, which allows you to get the most for your car, truck, SUV, RV boat or motorcycle donation.