The summer season is quickly simmering away and fall will be here before you know it. Before you head out to grab the first pumpkin spiced latte of the season, take a few moments to prepare your home’s landscape. Fall is a season of vivid colors and is a perfect time to spend mornings and evenings out in your yard sipping on something warm while bundled up in a light jacket. With a few great landscape ideas, your yard can become an autumn oasis.
The very first thing that you should know about landscaping in the fall is to focus on colors, accessories and textures. Even the smallest of spaces can look quite large with a few well-placed large shrubs and small trees. Focus on layering trees and shrubs to give the impression that your yard stretches on for miles. Japanese maples are great for just this occasion.
It’s also a good idea to plant a few evergreens around the edges of your yard. They’re great for privacy and for giving the rest of your landscape a lush backdrop. One word of advice with evergreens is that it’s best that you select those that will grow to the right height for your lawn, and garden space.
Continue to mow your lawn until it stops growing. If your grass continues to grow year around, then keep grass around three inches tall, so there is enough surface area for the sun to hit.
This is a good time to apply grass seed, but first soil should be tested to determine pH and nutrient availability. Sending a soil sample to a professional for testing will cost about $15, but it’s well worth it since it plays such a crucial role in landscape. Once any deficiencies are corrected, it’s time to aerate and seed the parts that are stressed from the summer’s sun.
Officially, it’s called turning the mulch. Fluffing it up gives flowerbeds a fresh look and cuts down on (or even eliminates) the need for more, fresh mulch. If you end up adding new stuff, keep the pile around two to three inches thick. Anything more, could become a hiding place for insects.
It’s easy to only focus on your yard when it comes to landscaping. But the fall time is a great time to give the exterior of your home a fresh coat of paint, usually cost anywhere between $1500 - $3600. If the paint on your home is fine, consider taking care of any areas of chipped paint that you might have and repairing your siding, cost anywhere between $250 - $950. It would be a shame to have a spectacular fall landscape only to have a home that’s in desperate need of a new coat of paint.
While you’re at it, you can also add a few plant or window boxes to your home. Some of the advantages of including such boxes with your landscaping design are:
Giving texture to the exterior of your home
Bringing color to your brick, siding, or colored exterior
Adding greenery to homes that don’t have much in the way of open grounds
While you’re picking out your plant selection for fall landscaping, pay special attention to plant habits. What this means is focus on the shapes that plants have as they grow. Some have a narrow, upstanding shape while others develop a gentle downward curve. Consider mixing and matching plant habits to give your yard a hint of intrigue and exclusive appeal.
If you want to add a pattern to your fall paradise, repeating plant shapes is the way to go. If there are taller trees in the background around your yard, you can copy those shapes to blend the background and foreground together better. To break up the pattern a bit and add some interest, use repeated plant shapes but change up the colors here and there. Great options for color include blue-silver spruce, blue-green pine, and deep green arborvitae.
Even if you truly enjoy the sight of leaves falling, that’s no excuse for you not to rake up the fallen leaves in your yard. When you go out into your yard, those fallen leaves can become slippery and pose as a safety risk to you, your family, and your guests. Try to find some time on a weekly basis to rake up your lawn.
You’ll also want to make sure that you keep up with pool maintenance during the cooler months of the year. Even if you don’t plan on swimming, it’s still important to keep the chemicals balanced and the water free of bugs, leaves, and debris.
To save yourself some time and money on landscaping, include plants that look good in your yard year around. Great examples include:
Make sure that you leave some room for hardscaping this fall season. Sidewalks, rock formations, pavers, fountains, and stone retainer walls are all great options. If you do decide to balance your soft landscaping with hard landscaping, go for something that is functional, offers safety or security, and adds to the overall beauty of your property. Two great things about adding a water foundation to your landscaping is that 1) makes you feel more secluded, and 2) blocks out noise coming from nearby streets. Adding a foundation can cost anywhere between $950 - $4000 to install, depending on design and size.
If you find yourself hard-pressed to make a decision regarding the type of hardscaping to include, stone is a popular choice because it doesn’t take too much work to take care of and fits in well with nearly every style of landscape. Should you be able to find a type of stone that is native to your particular area, all the better. Don’t be afraid to include more than one type of stone to add variety.
10. Plan Ahead
Before you throw away all of those leaves and debris that you’re raking up, consider creating a compost pile. Compost piles don’t take up much space and make great fuel for your plants and soil for next year. Besides ground leaves, you can also add grass clippings, vegetable trimmings, small branches and sticks, and loose flower petals.
Before you trade your shorts and flip-flops for jackets and boots, spend some time out in your yard developing your fall landscape.