10 Fall Landscaping Tips for a Beautiful Spring Lawn

There will be enough to do once the season starts heating up, so tackling these tasks now means you’ll have less to do in the spring.

1. Weed control

Sure, you’ve probably been pulling weeds all summer long and you’re ready to call it quits. But if you pull those weeds now, you’ll have fewer weeds to deal with next year.

2. Rake debris

Reduce damage to your grass and make your lawn healthier by raking up and removing fallen leaves.

Rake up the leaves onto a tarp, then put them into a compost pile that you can turn every week until snowfall hits. Then, in the spring, keep turning the compost to create lovely mulch for healthier plants and flowers.

In the winter, the freezing and thawing of water on plants, leaves and grass can release soluble forms of nitrates and phosphate into surface water.

Raking debris can protect your water from these harmful chemicals.

Another reason to rake fallen leaves is safety.

Leaves that fall on sidewalks or walkways can hide broken, missing or uneven steps, potentially causing an accident. Leaves also get slippery when they get wet, compounding the problem.

3. Seed and fertilize

Generally speaking, the months of September through November should be when you fertilize cool-season grasses.

If you have any bare or thin spots, add seeds for a rich, plush grass in the spring.

4. Final mow

For the last mow of the season, cut your grass until it’s anywhere from two to two and a half inches tall.

Avoid keeping it over three inches as it will mat, potentially causing problems with disease over the winter. (e.g. snow mold)

Don’t cut it shorter than two inches to avoid limiting its ability to grow in the spring; it uses the top part of the blade for the majority of its food production.

5. Water

Soak the shrubs and trees well with water after the leaves have dropped, right before you turn your outside water off for the winter season.

If you have an automatic irrigation system you want to be sure that it survives the winter.

Once you’re done watering for the season, use an air compressor to blow out any water in the pipes to prevent it from freezing and breaking the lines as it expands.

6. Plant clean-up

Cut back most perennials close to the ground.

Trim any dead or broken branches on your trees and shrubs, cutting them close to (but not flush with) the trunk.

Doing it now will give your plants time to heal over the winter.

Discard potted plants that aren’t perennials and set the pots aside for next year.

To help your perennials survive the winter you have several options, depending on the plant and your growing zone:

  • ⬥ Store the tubers or bulbs until next spring
  • ⬥ Bury the pot entirely underground
  • ⬥ Cover the plant with insulating materials
  • ⬥ Move the entire pot inside a sheltered location

7. Paint your home

While painting your home is often thought of as a spring or summer chore, there are benefits to doing it now.

  • ⬥ The weather is cooler, which is good news if you’re planning to DIY the project.
  • ⬥ If you’re hiring a professional, you could get it done faster because fewer people paint at this time of year.

Keep in mind, however, there is a limit to when it can be done as paint usually needs to be applied – and have time to cure – when the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Decorate

Plant perennial shrubs and flowers to enjoy years of beautiful springs. 

But to add vibrant color now to a landscape that can become dreary consider using plants and of course gourds and other fall decorations to brighten walkways and entryways.

Window boxes are also a great way to add visual interest to your home for the fall and winter.

9. Yard tools

Once you’ve finished your fall landscaping yard maintenance, clean your gardening and lawn tools before putting them away.

Not only will this save you time in the spring, it keeps any dirt, moisture or debris from making them unusable when you pull them out next year.

10. Be neighborly

Between school, activities and of course the holidays, fall is a busy time of year.

Be a good neighbor and sweep off any shared sidewalks while you’re doing yours. Keep overlying branches clear of any power lines and/or your neighbors’ property line.

All of these fall landscaping tips will get your lawn ready for spring.