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Fall Maintenance For Your Home

fall maintenance for your home

fall maintenance for your homeWhen you own a home, you also “own” the seasonal maintenance that comes with it. Every autumn there are a number of maintenance items which should be addressed. This list is by no means comprehensive but will get you thinking about a variety of tasks which should be done, and may inspire a few more annual cleanup or maintenance projects. Some of these jobs really should be left to professionals, especially when there are height and/or safety concerns. But there are a number of simple things that you can take care of yourself.

Wash Exterior of House

Dirt that has accumulated on the outside of your home not only looks, well, dirty…but will cause your exterior to deteriorate faster. There are those that recommend pressure washing but this must be done with extreme care so you do not cause damage. A hose and/or soapy brush plus hose may be all that you need for a once per year cleaning. Choose a warmer and not windy fall day for this job.

Clean and Inspect Gutters

Check that your gutters and downspouts are in good repair and firmly in place. If you have tall trees near your home, the first heavy rain will let you know if your gutters are clogged already. This is one of the less enjoyable tasks but whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, you will appreciate your gutters not overflowing into your flower beds or entrance-way.

Check Roof

If all of your neighbours have started to replace their roofs in the last couple years, it will be an indicator that your roof (assuming you’re in a neighbourhood where the houses were built around the same time) should be replaced soon. A roof bears the brunt of sun and precipitation, so it is a good idea to have it checked on an annual basis.

Deck and Outside Furniture

If you have stopped using your deck for the season, clean your outdoor furniture and cover or store it inside if possible. Clean and cover your BBQ. Remove soil (which may soon freeze) from your pots or place them in an area which is not likely to freeze. Give your deck a good gentle cleaning or careful pressure wash and inspect for damage, loose wood, nails, or vinyl.

Winterize Outdoor Plumbing

If you have an extensive sprinkler system and experience freezing temperatures in the winter, have an expert take care of the winterizing. Also drain and cover exterior faucets to prevent ice from causing messy and expensive damage.

Check and Repair Your Driveway and Walkways

Cracks in your driveway and walkways will expand in the colder weather. Cracks, holes, etc. are a hazard to vehicles and people, so have them sealed now before the weather is too cold.

Garage Door Weather-Strip

Check for tears or cracks in the weather-strip on the bottom of your garage door. Having a healthy seal will help keep your garage warmer in the winter cold.

Check Seals Around Doors and Windows

Keep the inside of your home warmer and save on heating costs by ensuring that the seals and caulking, around your doors and windows, are in good condition.

Fireplace Cleaning

Have your fireplace and chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Safety is the paramount reason to clean the buildup on the inside of your fireplace and have the masonry and dampers checked.

Fall Lawn Care

Keep your lawn in top shape with regular raking during the fall. Aeration will help your lawn to “breathe” and fertilizer will help prevent moss and give you a thicker, greener lawn in the spring.

Transplant Perennials

As your perennials become dormant, it is a good time to move them if necessary or desired. Cooler, damp or wet weather is good for this, after the flowers have lost their bloom.

Clean Lawn Equipment

Many people just put their lawnmowers and other yard care equipment directly in storage during fall and winter. Before you do this, give everything a good cleaning and inspection. Have blades sharpened, engines tuned up and everything ready to go for the spring.

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Inexpensive Summer Projects: Part 2

summer projects

Inexpensive Summer Projects: Part 1

In the first part of this series we looked at some practical summer projects/chores, things like cleaning, painting and pest control. Those tasks are not the most enjoyable things to do around your home but at some point they need to be done.

We continue our look at summer home projects by getting into some fun stuff. If the first article was the green beans, this one is the dessert (assuming you prefer dessert over green beans).

Make An Herb Planter

Find an old kids wagon, preferably the metal kind (not plastic) and convert it into an herb planter. You can paint it if necessary, fill it with soil and create a lovely looking herb garden that can be moved to different areas of your yard, depending on the season and your whims.

herb garden

Grow Fruits And Vegetables (anywhere)

In the same vein as the previous idea, plant food…anywhere it will grow. You don’t need to confine yourself to non-edible flowers and bushes in your yard, and you don’t need to have a garden plot. Plant some lettuce, cucumber, beans, tomatoes or whatever else grows well in your area. Don’t forget to be mindful of local critters that may want to partake of your homegrown food!

Create A BBQ Station

Even if you don’t want to (or feel confident to) build a permanent structure (bricks, concrete, etc) around your BBQ, you can still build or gather components to surround your BBQ and make it more like a mini-outdoor kitchen. You can find a couple of weather resistant wood or metal tables with storage underneath or if you are handy to build using wood, you can create some workspace and storage which will greatly enhance your summer BBQ workflow.bbq station

Outdoor Lighting

Adding some inexpensive lighting can make a dramatic impact along walkways and patios in particular. Simply stringing some outdoor lights around your deck can give your outdoor eating area a restaurant-like ambience. Adding some new lighting around your garage doors is also a wonderful update.

Create A Dreamboard Or Dreamspace

Do you dream of owning a condo in Hawaii or do you wake up in the morning wishing you were sailing on the high seas? Why not create a space that inspires you to take action towards bringing this dream to reality?dreamboard

Replace A Indoor Lighting Fixtures

Changing out some dated, boring lighting fixtures will make a space pop. Think outside the box a little. You are not limited to buying a new fixture from your local hardware store. Go to garage sales, flea markets and antique stores to find a vintage fixture that may be a great complement or contrast within your current decor.

Create Your Own Decor Accents

Beyond just lighting fixtures, you can create very creative accents such as frames, mirrors and candle holders for spaces both inside and outside. Re-purpose old items and renew them with paint. Even items such as rope, wood scraps, and old glass and metal items can be transformed into new decor accents.homemade lamp

Build Outdoor Furniture And Accessories

Let your creativity expand by visualizing old or rustic items transformed into something new. An old wooden barrel can be a table. Bricks and concrete blocks can turn into seating areas. Slices of branches and logs can be made into candle holders or food serving platters.

Have some fun being creative around your home this summer!

homemade table

Inexpensive Summer Projects: Part 1

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Inexpensive Summer Projects: Part 1

summer-projectsSummer is for having fun, right? Yes, but as much as we love to enjoy BBQ’s, camping, vacations and the beach during summer, it also is an ideal time to get some home and garden tasks done. The weather is (usually) fine, the days are long and there is certainly not much on TV.

Just as we learned to eat our vegetables before we get dessert, we will first look at some practical and important jobs, followed up by a number of optional tasks which will enhance outdoor decor, fun and frolicking in your outdoor space.


Summer is a great time to paint, especially in climates that have a lot more rain in the spring and fall. Exterior painting is often a job that is better left for professionals. They are well equipped to deal with the preparation, finicky detail and safety concerns that an exterior paint job requires. They will get the work done faster and cleaner, freeing you up for some of the other tasks below.

Refinish Your Deck

If you want to tackle some painting or refinishing, your deck is a good place to start. Do it early in the summer, so you still have lots of time to enjoy the fruit of your labour. Refinishing your decks now will save you considerable money by extending the life of your decks. It will also help prevent cracks and splinters which may end up in some unfortunate person’s feet.

refinish-deckWhether you will be using stain or paint take the time to research the best method and products to prep, strip and refinish your deck. Take care to protect surrounding plants, gardens and your house from sprays, cleaning products and paint/stain.

Here is an informative tutorial on deck re-finishing

Spruce Up Your Flower Beds

This task really starts in the spring but continues on during the summer. Take some time to first clean your flower beds, removing dead stems, leaves and branches. Next, step back and see if there are any plants that are not enhancing your beds. Remove them. Now you have some space which may best be left open or you can add new flowers or plants which enhance the area.

…and if you happen to have an old VW Beetle

Adding mulch, some pots or decorative accessories will give your beds an instant facelift.

Clean Your Gutters

Whether you are comfortable cleaning gutters yourself or pay someone to do it, this is one of those thankless jobs which doesn’t improve the appearance of your home but will maintain the proper functioning of your gutters. Please be safe and only attempt this maintenance task if your gutters are easily accessible.

Clean Your Furnace

Summer is a good time to clean your furnace simply because the furnace tends to get used less during the warmer months, depending on where you live.  Remove the dirty filter and replace it with a clean one. Take a vacuum and clean up any dirt and dust while you are there. Remember, this unit is moving air that you breathe, so keep it clean!

Here is an in-depth furnace maintenance articleclean-furnace

Pest Control

Depending on your climate, your property will be prone to any number of pesky pests and summer is a good time to clean up and remove their reasons for domiciling in your space. Cleanliness is key, so dispose of fruit, leaves and branches that fall from your trees. Ensure your waste containers have snug fitting lids. Eliminate standing water to prevent mosquitoes from hatching and visually (and carefully) inspect trees, bushes and your home itself for wasp nests.

Now that we have some important but not very exciting tasks out of the way, next time we will look at some fun summer projects to inspire you.