In general I would say yards are divided into two categories: wild and tame. Some of us like them overflowing with abundance, occasionally trimming here and there; others are very careful about making sure growth is in its subjectively proper place.
Whichever version you associate with, your yard may still be too over-grown for your taste but waiting till next spring to clean it up will make matters worse.
However, don’t get overwhelmed. Yes, the days are already cooler and shorter but with a little simple planning you can still make a difference. Here are a few considerations that divide up your outdoor tasks into smaller individual projects. Not everyone will have the same issues so use them as a guide. You may not even complete them in one day but little steps often get you farther faster.
- The sidewalk: Yes, I’m starting here. This isn’t even your property but sometimes overgrown brush spills into the public domain and creates a hindrance for neighbors and others passing by. Uproot any growth between the cement and coming out of a retaining wall. There may even be growth that needs removing at the base of the sidewalk where it meets the street.
- Your walkways: Pick up fallen twigs, leaves, and other dried plants and clip back branches leaning in the passage. Remove growth in cement or flagstone and if possible seal cracks. Sweep well.
- The fence: Start from the top of the fence moving downward cleaning off dry remains of weeds and other plants. Then clear the area along the base of the fence. If you walk across the street and look back there should be an apparent distinction between the ground and the bottom of the fence.
- The lawn: Uproot any weeds so they don’t seed in early spring before you get a chance to cut them. Then, if you haven’t already, mow the lawn one last time before the first frost.
- Trees, bushes, and shrubbery: Clean up around them removing any trash that may have collected by the roots. Cut back growth that may be touching property, as it can ruin or discolor siding and paint jobs.
- The deck: Remove vines or branches curled around the wood. Clean out underneath as best as possible.
- Flower patches: Clear borders and remove annuals if they have already died. Cut back perennials. This is also a great time to plant bulbs as they will secure themselves in the ground in preparation for spring.
- Vegetables beds: Clean out long-gone plants. Turn over ground and if possible cover with plastic sheeting so they are ready for the spring. If the beds are raised check all sides to see if they need reinforcement.
- Potted plants: Clean out dead growth and remove from open areas so the pots don’t fill with water, freeze, and crack. If they don’t contain growth clean them out and bring them inside so they are ready for use in the spring.
- Rose bushes: Pruning is generally left until after the last frost or from mid February to mid March. However, you can still remove any fallen leaves with disease or fungus that may be resting on the rose bed. Eliminating it now will prevent the bad stuff from “overwintering” (waiting out the winter) and menacing the roses in spring. Just be careful not to touch old buds on the bush itself.
Extras: Try and recycle whatever organic material you can and take care of your garden tools, including your lawn mower. Clean them of excess dirt or moisture, oil them if needed, and store them in a dry place for the winter.
Finally, when viewing your home, be proud of how your yard looks. You may begin to notice other exterior needs like painting or cementing. Write these down and investigate over the next few months the best ways to proceed once warmer weather arrives.
Jakob Barry writes for Networx.com where you can find more yard enhancement tips from professional gardeners. He also covers topics including how to choose the best exterior paint and green efficiency.
Photo by darkpatator