Fall Cleanup Checklist:
Preparing Your Yard for Fall

9/21/2023 • By Quinten O'Dea, owner of Q&A Landscaping

Guest contribution from MMC Land Management. MMC Land Management is a reputable and experienced family-owned business that has been maintaining properties for over 15 years.
Back to Blog Main

Overwhelmed about your upcoming fall chores? Here’s your guide on where to start when it comes to prioritizing fall cleanup & seasonal tidiness.

How to Prepare for Fall

As temperatures begin to cool down it is important to ask yourself how to prepare for fall. Fall is a critical season for yard maintenance, and proper preparation can make the process smoother.

Start by assessing your outdoor space. Take note of any dead or diseased trees, overgrown shrubs, or areas that need special attention.

 a leaf cleanup job

So, what does fall cleanup include?

Autumn-time chores include investing in the necessary tools and supplies, including leaf rakes, pruning shears, and yard waste bags. If you have a compost pile, ensure it's ready to receive organic debris from your fall cleanup.

Additionally, schedule any professional services you may need, like tree removal or gutter cleaning, well in advance to secure a convenient time slot before the colder months arrive. With preparation out of the way, here is your beloved (or dreaded) fall task list.

1. Leaf debris removal & cleanup

We always recommend to get all leaves out cleaned out from around your property, especially from the lawn.  Allowing a considerable amount of leaves to be stuck in the lawn or sitting around in piles over the winter will certainly thin out and kill some spots of the lawn.  

We clean up all of the leaves from the lawn, beds, and any surfaces by blowing them with our assortment of back-pack leaf blowers, and then suck them up with our leaf vacuum mulcher.

Leaves about to get swept up

2. Plant pruning & shrub trimming

It is time to start thinking about the plants and trees around your property.  This includes trimming the shrubs and small trees that may be overgrown, according to their preferred upkeep. Fall is a great time to really cut some wild-looking items back. All of the ornamental grasses and applicable dead perennials should be cut back and taken away as well during this time. This gives leaves and loose debris fewer places to collect in across the property.

Consider seeding your favorite late-summer flowers at this time too. Most seeds need to be dried out first, but some late summer buds can be planted right back into the ground in the fall. This is one way to fill out every corner of your flower beds with full and lush perennials for next year.

3. Clean your gutters

One of the main things on a good autumn checklist is to monitor & clean your gutters. Gutter cleaning is an essential element of fall cleanup. Removing debris from gutters and downspouts ensures that rainwater and melting snow can flow freely, preventing potential damage to your roof and foundation.

4. Consider overseeding your grass lawn

Fall is a crucial time for repairing or replacing your grass. Consider making lawn improvements through overseeding before the frost really starts setting in.  Fall seeding is usually best done in September and October, before frost risks.  September grass has the ability to develop deeper roots than October grass, before the growing season ends.

new grass sprouts

When does grass stop growing in the fall?

Once the temperatures begin to drop into the low 40s and 30s on a regular basis overnight, existing grass generally becomes dormant. This usually stops the growth of new seed as well, although there are a few varieties that germinate in cooler temperatures. It is important to give the lawn one last good mowing during the last week few weeks of the growing season.  Make sure never to cut the lawn if there is frost on the lawn.

5. Power washing your outdoor surfaces

Power washing your outdoor patios and walkways is commonly done throughout the year. It’s a great way to increase your curb appeal when all of the seasonal plants have gone dormant. A shiny and spotless paver patio will go a long way to tighten up the look of your yard and living areas in the colder months.

6. Lawn aeration

One valuable component of fall cleanup often overlooked is lawn aeration. This process involves perforating your soil with small holes to allow for better air, water, and nutrient penetration to grass roots. It helps relieve soil compaction, which can occur over time due to settling. By breaking up compacted soil, aeration encourages deeper root growth, resulting in a more robust and drought-resistant lawn.

Improved air circulation at the root level promotes microbial activity, contributing to healthier soil and grass. Furthermore, aeration enhances the effectiveness of fertilizers and reduces thatch buildup, allowing your lawn to healthily survive the winter months and emerge stronger in the spring.

7. Plant evergreens

Another way to up your game as the leaves begin to turn is to plant some evergreen groundcover or bushes. Blue tinted bushes and dark green shrubs add splashes of color to your yard when all perennial flowers and bushes have gone colorless. This is a great way to make your yard and mulch beds look lively & lush for the entire year, not just in the growing season.

That's it.

Don't neglect your yard in the months outside of the growing season. Fall is an absolutely crucial time to make sure all upkeep is taken care of around your property. Being disciplined with fall tasks ensures your yard's year-round beauty.

Instagram cartoon logofacebook logoLinkedin Logo
Q&A Landscaping completes quality landscaping & hardscaping projects in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA.
Q&A Blog
Mulch: The Ultimate Guide for Installation & Maintenance
Fresh mulch is a great way to prevent weeds, and a crisp edge along the beds will keep grass out.
The Best Native Landscaping Trees for Your Yard
Our guide to the top landscaping trees makes it easy to discover the best trees for your outdoor space.
Learn proper watering schedules, avoid common mistakes, and promote healthy establishment of your new grass.