Get Your Home Ready for Falling Leaves

A yellow and orange maple with a rake leaning against it.

A yellow and orange maple with a rake leaning against it.

Summer whizzes by, and fall arrives fast. Ready your home for changes autumn brings, particularly where falling leaves and rainwater are concerned.

Rake away.

That doesn’t mean put the rake away. Rather, it’s an action to take when fall leaves cover your landscape. Remove the yearly leaf drop from your lawn so that this blanket of vegetation doesn’t stifle next year’s grass.

Rake and dispose of the leaves, or mulch and compost. Either way, the lawn will be healthy, and neighbors will love your neatness.

While selection of a rake is not rocket science, there are important considerations. Pick the best rake you can afford. Typically, rakes are wide, with a long wooden handle. Tines are made of vinyl, wood or steel.

Also, if you rake leaves on to a tarp, purchase a large enough one to accommodate one or two trips per lawn section. Bag or pile leaves per the regulations in your municipality. Many municipalities provide eco-friendly bags and have drop off points as the maintenance department uses the leaves for compost and mulch.

Composting and mulching leaves are a homeowner option, too. Leaves stored in a compost bin will be ready to add their natural nutrients to a garden within one year with biweekly turning and aerating. Homeowners can mulch their  leaves (into 2- to 3-inch pieces) by running the lawnmower over them, adding an attachment to the mower or by running them through a chipper.

A final word on raking: don’t wait until all the leaves have dropped. Otherwise, raking becomes a daily routine. Use your time for other fall chores.

Gutter and downspout inspection is important.

With leaves under control, inspect your home’s exterior from the foundation to the roof. Look for cracks that allow moisture seepage into basement or crawl space. Get those addressed by a pro right away. Also, make sure downspouts are diverting all rainwater away from the foundation. Consider downspout extensions to move the water further away from your flower beds and into your yard.

Fall Cleanup - Leaves in GutterLooking up at the gutters (and binoculars work great for people shy about, or should not be on, ladders), inspect for leaks and seams that are becoming compromised. Some metal gutters can rust. Sprouting vegetation indicates dirt, bird droppings and tree debris. Clean gutters to avoid water backing up under roof shingles. Install mesh or other gutter protection to prevent build up.

The solutions needed to prepare your home for the fall’s leaves and rainwater are at your neighborhood home center. Start those chores now.

Visit your neighborhood store to pick up tools and buy replacement gutters and downspouts, and accessories.  Ask for Amerimax.


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