Calling all home owners!! The weather is turning here in Michigan as we are heading into the fall season. What does that mean? Fall clean up! I honestly love spring clean up to prepare for summer way more, but fall clean up is equally as important.
The work you do in the fall will definitely save you time in the spring, so let’s get to work!
1. Grimy, Green Mildew
The combination of rain, shade, and extreme heat can encourage mildew to grow on the siding of your house. If you keep on top of it, a simple power washing can easily handle the job. When it sits on your siding and festers year after year, then you will likely need a cleaner of some sort. There are so many chemical cleaners out there, but how do you know what will work? Well, thanks to my neighbor’s tried and failed efforts, I have the answer for you! ‘Awesome’. That’s it! ‘Awesome’.
‘Awesome’ is a cleaner that is sold at our local dollar store and can be used on a wide range of things. It literally costs $1 and can handle almost anything. My neighbor had mildew across the entire back of their house and it was THICK. ‘Awesome’ cut right through it. So bottom line, you don’t need to spend $20 on a bottle of name brand chemical, hit up the dollar store and see what you can find!
2. Painting and Staining
Fall clean up is the time for paint/stain touch ups. Before it gets too cold, spruce up that deck, porch, and siding. Ideally, it should be at least 50 degrees to paint, otherwise it isn’t going to stick well or dry. The benefit of doing it in the fall is that your siding, shutters, and deck are still ‘warm’ from the summer months and paint up easily. That being said, don’t just slap a fresh coat of paint or stain on all your surfaces. It will look TERRIBLE if you do not do your prep work.
Be sure your surface is clean and smooth. A clean surface will take paint MUCH better and will not look like a kindergartner painted your house. If you want to take baby steps on painting the exterior, paint just the foundation and shutters first. This might be all your house needs to be spruced up. Our last 2 flips all we did was paint these two things and then power wash the whole house….and like magic….it has a fresh new look for maybe $60 worth of paint.
If you want to go all out and paint your entire house, the results can be amazing! We painted the entire exterior of our very first flip and it is still a stand out on the street today. It took less than $200 in paint, but LOTS and LOTS of manual labor, but it was worth every minute!
Perennials and Leaves
I have quite a few perennials in my yard and come fall when the weather changes, it is time to pull all of the dead leaves from the irises and day lilies, clean up the peaches that fell from the trees, and cut down all the beach grasses. Pulling off dead leaves will allow for early and healthy growth come spring.
The trick to beach grass is to cut it down in the fall all the way to the ground. By doing this, your grasses will come back bigger and thicker every year. After a couple years you might even be able to split them to plant in other areas of your landscape.
Personally, I love to put grasses on either side of porch steps to give some height as well as symmetry. Large grasses look great on corners of houses to again give some height and dimension anchoring two sides of landscape or providing a great endpoint.
Here in Michigan, raking leaves can be an endless task. Trees change colors at different times depending what kind they are. Some trees in my neighborhood can be completely bare while others are still green. I would love trees that turn right away and drop all of their leaves before the snow flies. That way, my kids could enjoy them and I could have them cleaned up before winter and then not have the mess in the spring! However…..my trees turn later….*sigh*. As much as you might not like getting bundled up to rake day after day, wouldn’t you rather rake up dry leaves as part of fall clean up than deal with a muddy mess of leaves and mashed down grass in the spring??
Who doesn’t love to grow their own food?? It can be so rewarding to be able to walk out to the garden to pick some fresh ingredients for your dinner, but let’s face it, gardening is a lot of work! Here at ‘VH Farms’, we try to plan our garden in the fall for the next year. How often during the summer don’t you say, ‘Man, I wish we would have planted _____ and not so many ______!’. Well by the time winter is over and it is finally spring, all of those great ideas have been forgotten. BUMMER!
So as part of fall clean up in the garden, as you are pulling out the last of your carrots, tomatoes, and pumpkins, grab your legal pad and sketch out what hopes you have for next year’s garden. This will save you time come spring from standing in the seed section aimlessly or planting things randomly.
Get all the weeds and plants out and claw up your soil. We tend to also spread mulched leaves and grass over our garden area to compost over the winter. It provides richness to the soil and helps cut down on weeds.
What is on your fall clean up list this year??