Prepping our yard/House for Winter

I feel like winter is closing in on us fast. It’s already snowed and we have another couple inches forecasted for Halloween tomorrow. Crazy!

I had a long list of projects I was hoping to get a start on in the yard this fall, but it looks like they will need to wait for next year. In the meantime, we’re (quickly!) working our way through everything we have to do to prep the yard, pool, etc. for winter since it looks like it’s going to make an early appearance this year.

Pretty fall colors.

Our “list” is basically the same every year – but this year is feeling much more rushed than normal (we usually try to be done with everything by Thanksgiving). I actually wrote everything down this time so I wouldn’t forget something.

Here’s what’s on our “winter prep” list:

1. Close the pool.

This post has all the details about what we actually do for this. It was really hot here until the first week of October, so we just completed this step a couple weeks ago – right before we hit freezing temps at night. This has sure been a “weird” weather year.

Our in-ground swimming pool; covered with a safety cover and closed for the season.

2. Disconnect hoses & turn off water to outdoor faucets.

Also, put away any sprinklers, nozzles, etc. that were still out from summer. This is a pretty quick one and it’s done!

3. Put patio furniture away.

We store the patio furniture by the pool up next to the retaining wall over the winter. It keeps it from blowing & is out of sight from the house. We did this while we were prepping the pool for closing.

This year, we’re also moving the patio furniture off the deck. This is primarily because we installed a new AZEK deck in the spring and we want to make sure nothing discolors weird or gets scratched up by blowing furniture over the winter. Not sure yet where we’re going to put it all – probably some by the retaining wall with the pool furniture and the rest in the chicken house (an out building behind our garage) if there is room.

The patio furniture on our deck that needs to be put away for winter.

4. Clean up & plug in the cat’s heated bed.

We have an outdoor cat (Tucker) that we adopted from Chad’s family’s farm. He lives mostly outside (unless it’s crazy cold) and really doesn’t love to be “trapped” indoors. He has a pet door to get inside the chicken house and we plug in a heated bed for him there. Every fall, I clean his corner out well, order a new cover (the old one is always past the point of washing) and plug his bed in before it gets too cold. The new cover came today (we use this bed with this cover for him), so this is tomorrow’s project!

Our cat, Tucker.

5. Pull annuals & dump flower pots.

This is always a sad task because it means summer is finally over, but it’s way easier to do before the soil in the planter boxes starts to freeze. (Ask me how I know.)

Purple Queen flowers.
These were my favorite new annuals this year – Purple Queen.

6. Put away summer toys & tools.

We take down Haley’s tree swing and move her bike and other toys from the garage to the chicken house for storage. We also put away any gardening tools that got left in the garage over the summer. (They live in the chicken house over the winter, too.)

Haley's tree swing hanging from the maple tree out front.
If you look closely, you can see Haley’s tree swing.

At the same time, we also move our “winter items” from the chicken house to the garage so they’ll be ready when we need them. This includes a space heater (for when Chad needs to work in the garage over the winter) as well as snow shovels, salt, etc.

7. Pick up leaves.

We have a lot of leaves, so rather than rake, we typically mow over them a couple of times to chop them up and then pick them up with our bagger and dump them in the ravine. Typically we pick up leaves 2 or 3 times in the fall, but with this year’s combination of wind, rain, and snow, it’s looking like the trees are changing colors and then dropping immediately so we may get to do it all at once.

Lots of fall leaves.
Lots of leaves yet to fall.
John Deere X720 mower with Power Flow Bagger - we use this for picking up leaves every fall.
Our mower – a John Deere X720 w/ Power Flow Bagger.

8. Switch the mower over for snow blowing.

We usually do this over Thanksgiving weekend after all the leaves are picked up. We take the mower deck and bagger off the lawn mower and install the snow blower, wheel weights, and rubber tire chains to get ready for snow blowing over the winter. Not sure if we’ll make it to Thanksgiving this year, though!

John Deere Quick Hitch 47" Snow Blower
Our John Deere Quick Hitch 47″ Snow Blower – when it was shiny and new.

We still have quite a few things on the list, so hopefully Mother Nature is just teasing with all of the early snow we’re getting this year. Let’s hope there’s at least a couple warm & dry days left to get caught up on everything before winter is here to stay!

Filed Under: Our House

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