The recent breath of cool air along the east coast reminds us that the fall is just around the corner. And with the change of seasons comes a slew of outdoor projects that need to be tackled before the winter sets in. Here's a list of a few of the common around-the-house projects that are best done in the fall. Ok, if we're honest, pretty much all outdoor projects are best when the weather is clear and in the mid-70's, but these actually have other compelling reasons for being done in the fall as well.
It's lawn season
It's pretty likely that by this time of year, your lawn is likely struggling a bit. Cool season grasses that are common in the mid-Atlantic region look beautiful in the spring and fall, but can struggle a bit in the prolonged heat and humidity of the summer. In addition to keeping your lawn watered throughout the summer (a thorough watering once a week is usually sufficient if the weather is dry), there are several things you need to do in the fall to keep your lawn looking it's best year round.
Reseed - Late summer, early fall is the best time to reseed those bare patches or dead patches. The warmth of the soil this time of year will prompt the seeds to germinate very quickly and the new grass will have 2 growing seasons (fall and spring) to fully mature before the stress of the summer heat sets in. If you've got some weedy patches, use a weed killer to knock those out and then wait 10 days or so to replant grass.
Aerate - Over time, the soil in your yard will tend to become compacted, making it hard for water and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass and stifling the growth of your lawn. Fall is the best time to aerate your lawn to encourage a great fall growing season. You can either rent an aerator from a service like brentabl, or hire someone to come knock it out for you. Either way you choose, be sure to do this at least every other year, and more frequently for high-traffic areas that are prone to compaction.
Fertilize - Fall is also a the ideal season to feed your lawn. A lot of the marketing experts that work for the big lawn care product companies will try to sell you on the idea of "weed and feed", but if you ask actual lawn care professional they'll tell you that there's no such animal. You're either weeding or your feeding - and fall is the time for feeding. Do this in conjunction with aerating to ensure your fertilizer gets down into the soil instead of being washed away to local streams and watersheds. For the health of your lawn and the environment, use the amount prescribed on the fertilizer bag and no more.
Edging - If you use a standard string trimmer to do basic edging around your driveway and sidewalks, you might be surprised at just how much ground you're losing to the grass every week. A lot of people don't want to own a dedicated edger and tend to rely on string trimmers for this chore (some of which will flip over to "edger mode" or you can simply hold them sideways). Now is the time to reclaim the concrete and establish a nice sharp edge
Deck getting a bit...splintery?
If you have wooden deck or porch on your home, chances are it needs refinishing every couple of years depending upon the amount of sun exposure. Fall is the ideal time to do this since the application of stains and sealants has to be done in some pretty specific conditions, namely: temperatures between about 50 and 80 degrees with no rain for at least 48 hours. In the mid-Atlantic region, fall is about the only time these conditions are evenly remotely feasible.
If your deck is in pretty good shape and just looking a bit dirty or weather, it's probably easiest to do a quick pressure wash and then apply stain or sealant once the wood is dry (be sure to sweep or blow dust and dirt off the deck again before applying the sealant). For decks that are showing signs of age and starting to splinter, there's no reason to go and start replacing deck boards. A few hours of sanding with either an orbital sanders (for light splintering) or belt sander (for really rough boards or removal of old paint and finishes) will have your deck looking like new in no time. You can follow that up with a coat of stain or sealant that you can either apply the old fashioned way or, rent a stain sprayer if you want to stain the deck and watch football in the same day!
Time for pressure washing
So, in addition to your deck and other wooden surfaces, there's a good chance your patio, driveway, and siding are ready for their annual bath as well. Siding that is mostly shaded or facing north is particularly problematic and in need of regular cleaning. Let's face it, no matter how skilled you are with a pressure washer, you're going to get wet (unless of course you rock our magical driveway and surface washer). And getting wet in the cold is no fun at all. Getting wet when it's 80 degrees, however, really isn't so bad. So stop staring at the ugly mold and mildew taking up residence on your concrete and give it a quick once over with a pressure washer. Best of all, if you rent the pressure washer from brentabl, you won't have to put it back in the shed to take up space the other 364 days of the year. And unlike those other guys, we'll save you from having to pack up that wet heavy monster in your own car by coming to pick it up!
Just rent the tools
While we aren't trying to make more work to occupy your valuable weekends, we do hope this post was helpful in highlighting a few common home maintenance activities that are more easily done in the fall. To our minds, it doesn't make much sense to keep most of these tools sitting around in your garage or shed if you only use them seasonally. In the case of pressure washers, in particular, most of them have engines and engines need maintaining. You don't need more work to do! Instead, why not download the brentabl app and let one of our helpful rental associates bring the tool to you. Until next time...Happy Doing!