While we enjoy a mild fall climate in San Diego, that doesn’t mean you should ignore those seasonal home improvement projects to get your indoor and outdoor spaces ready for the colder months ahead.
Check out our complete Fall Home Improvement Guide below, starting with a home maintenance checklist.
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
After the dog days of summer have passed and before winter begins to bring chilly weather, it’s a great time to pull out the toolbox and take a look around the home to ensure everything is in proper order and ready for the next season. Here’s simple fall maintenance checklist to prepare your home for cooler days ahead.
Clean Out Those Gutters
Gutters can become filled with the falling leaves of autumn. Take some time to don your gloves and grab a hose and sprayer. Clogged gutters can damage roofs and lead to leaks and standing water, which can cause corrosion and rust. It’s a good idea to invest in quality gutter guards to keep fall leaves and other types of debris from clogging up your gutters and triggering water damage. While you’re at it, be sure to give your downspouts some TLC and inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles.
Get into the Garden
Fall is a great time to remove dead annuals or dig up bulbs to bring inside for the winter. Perennials and trees can be trimmed back to help them better hold up under winter snow. Store garden tools inside for the winter, and clean up leaves that can become slippery when wet.
See the Fall Yard & Landscaping Ideas section below for more fall outdoor home improvement ideas.
Winterize Your Home
Look for cracks and gaps around windows and doors, and re-caulk or add weather stripping where necessary. Drafts and gaps can account for up to 10% of winter heating bills. Weather stripping can help lower the costs of heating and reduce drafts during winter, and is an easy and cost-effective way to get the most out of your efforts.
Inspect Your Attic Insulation
Keep your property nice and warm and your energy bills low by insulating your attic as part of your fall home improvement projects list. That insulation will help to keep warm and cool air pumped out from your HVAC unit from escaping. Leaks cause your air conditioner and furnace to work harder than necessary to sustain your desired temperature, which leads to overspending.
Check the Condition of Your Roof
You depend on your roof to protect everything that’s underneath it, making it essential that your roof is always in the best shape possible. While checking your gutters, inspect your roof to see if there are any missing or damaged shingles or other issues that may require professional help. Additionally, the flashing around your gutters, skylights, pipes and chimneys should receive a once-over as well.
Take a Peek at Your Windows and Doors
Have you been feeling a draft in your house? If so, it could be that you have outside air trickling in from your windows and doors. Just like poor attic insulation, gaps around your windows and doors can lead to HVAC leaks and overspending. Quality weather-stripping and caulking can take care of those drafts, and you may be able to take care of the job on your own.
That being said, it’s possible that you may be better off replacing your windows and doors if they’re too old to function properly. Newer doors and windows are designed to be more energy efficient, and they can provide you with better peace of mind knowing they do a better job of keeping you and your family secure.
Tidy Up the Garage
Because you may be storing your lawn mower, water hose and other yard equipment commonly used during the summer, see that you have enough room in your garage. The fall season is the perfect time to go through everything in your garage to see what you want to keep, throw away or sell for a bit of holiday cash. Implementing a storage system is also a great idea to make it easy for you to find whatever you need whenever you need it. While you’re in the garage, gather up winter equipment and ensure everything is in good working order for the winter.
Clear Your Exterior Water Pipes
The last thing you want to deal with during the winter is a burst pipe. Once you’ve watered your lawn and washed your car for the last time this season, detach, drain and store your hoses, and drain your exterior water pipes as well. Simply run the water until the pipes run dry before shutting off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. That way, you don’t have to worry about water freezing in the pipes. To help prevent burst pipes inside and outside your home, wrap them all in heating tape.
Check Up on Your Furnace
The best time to take care of your furnace is before you need to use it. Have an HVAC professional take a look at your furnace to see that it’s ready for the winter, and be sure that your furnace filters are clean as can be. Dirty, clogged filters don’t perform as well, and they can blow allergens and irritants through your vents.
Check Your Filters
With more time spent indoors, air filters are an important item to check before the cooler months begin. Clogged filters can make it hard to adequately heat your home, and can cause respiratory issues.
Do a Safety Check
Fall is also a great time to run a routine home safety check. Check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors, fire extinguishers, hot water heaters, furnaces, pilot lights, fireplaces, and chimneys, and any other items that can use a yearly review.
If you haven’t taken the time to ensure you have adequate fresh water, batteries, flashlights, and non-perishable food items in case of a storm or power outage, take inventory now, before an emergency strikes.
Fall Yard & Landscaping Ideas
Fall is in full swing in San Diego. The leaves are falling and the air is crisp and cool. It’s the perfect time for fall landscaping! You can transform an OK yard into a stunning work of art, even as the weather continues to drop. Dressing up your lawn boosts your home’s value and physical appeal. We have a few ideas you can implement that will turn your neighbors green with envy.
Make the Door a Focal Point
When you think landscaping, your front door may not come to mind. There are two simple ways to help you stand out this autumn. The first is placing a wreath on the door that has a fall mix of flowers and foliage. The second is changing the door color with a fresh, new paint job. A vivid red is sure to add a spark to your outdoor décor.
Let Your Light Shine
Fall landscaping isn’t always about plants, trees, flowers and mulch. Add some drama and flare by placing decorative lights near your front door. Outdoor lighting is practical and attractive. It can light up your walkway while illuminating your landscape.
Amaze With Accessories
Think of your landscaping like a little black dress. You know it doesn’t take much to turn heads when you add the right accessory, such as a string of pearls. Well, accessorizing works wonders with landscape design as well. It only takes a few elements to add a bit of personality to your lawn, such as an iron medallion that waves in the wind. Here are a few more options:
- Pots of seasonal flowers
- Flower-bed borders and lawn edging
- Ponds and fountains
Keep Greenery in the Mix
Do you need a bit of privacy? How about a gorgeous backdrop for your flowers, shrubs and trees? If you’re looking for functionality and beauty, consider greening up your outdoor space with evergreens. Just place them around the edges of your yard. Keep in mind that size does matter, so you want to make sure they fit into your space. You can go with a cypress that’s 4 x 10 feet or a compact Austrian pine that’s 8 x 15 feet. In either case, the evergreens can give you the right amount of solitude you desire without consuming too much of your yard.
Focus on a Theme
One fun way to add interest is to repeat a specific theme. In design, the repetition of patterns creates a clean, uniform look. For instance, consider incorporating different plants that have similar shapes. Examples include plants such as a blue spruce and a tall columnar white. You can also bring evergreens into the mix. Although these trees are called evergreens, they’re available in multiple colors that include the following:
- Dark-green arborvitae
- Silvery-blue spruce
- Blue-green pine
Cover the Ground
Ground coverings reduce weeds and function like a carpet for any ground-hugging plants. Since water-use efficiency is an important part of the San Diego lifestyle, you can choose plants that work best for this climate. These include trailing lantana, Carmel creeper, rosemary and Silver Carpet.
Build a Structural Element
The structure is another design principle that can take your outdoor space to the next level. A few options include a stone retaining wall, fence, pergola or arbor. Stone is a popular landscape element because it works with any landscape. Plus, it’s maintenance free.
Make Multi-Season Plants a Staple
Do you want a great-looking yard with minimal physical upkeep? Go with multi-season plants. For example, there’s the Pagoda dogwood, which gives blueberries in the summer, white flowers in the spring and stunning fall colors in the autumn. Shrubs that work well throughout the year also include:
- Reblooming hydrangeas
Contrast the Color Scheme
Nothing says, “I know how to landscape like a boss,” like contrasting light and dark colors. Try combining some purple-leaf grape foliage with silver-colored ornamental grass plumes. Other alluring dark plants include Black Lace Elderberry, Velvet Cloak Smoke Bush, and Diabolo Ninebark. When it comes to landscape, opposites do attract.
There are so many options for creating fall landscaping that reflects your taste, style and personality. You have your choice of trees, shrubs, plants, flowers and ornaments.
Perfect Fall Porch and Patio Remodeling Projects
If you are considering any porch or patio remodeling projects, now is the time to get started! Winter will arrive soon and if you do not begin a project, you will most likely be waiting yet another year to add to your home. Below are a few examples of projects you can complete to your home’s exterior, including porch and patio remodeling projects. Start small and work your way up to larger projects so you can upgrade your home before winter arrives!
Wood vs Composite Decking
One of the most popular projects to add to the home is a deck. Whether you want to add a small or massive space, a deck can provide outdoor living for your family. Two popular material types are wood and composite decking. Both have their pros and cons, with composite providing more durability while wood offers a rustic visual appeal.
Whichever material you choose, it is recommended that before you get started, a Decking calculator is used to calculate the materials needed. There is nothing worse than starting a big project only to find out you don’t have everything you need! Once you have weighed the pros and cons of each material and made your choice, be sure to calculate your material needs before you begin!
Beaded Porch Ceilings
The ceiling of your front and/or back porch is often neglected. With beaded materials, the porch ceiling can have new visual appeal as well as providing protection for decking or your porch area.
With fiber cement beadboard materials, you have a porch ceiling that will be able to withstand the elements. No matter what the winter brings, your porch will remain intact. Other ceiling materials, such as wood, can warp and rot due to moisture and humidity. With quality beadboard options, the patio ceiling will not be subject to weather issues, bugs or other problems, plus it looks great!
Permeable Pavement Solutions
When it comes to the exterior of the home, many homeowners want to provide a pavement solution for driveways or walkways. During the fall, this is a perfect time for such projects. One option for an installation is Pervious paving. With this paving system, the option is more affordable than concrete and has the same features as asphalt.
Interlocking pavers are used to install a large paved area, easily helping you to upgrade your driveway or other areas where paving is needed. With permeable pavement solutions, you have a quality material that can be used for the exterior of your home, providing essential paved areas that will stand the test of time.
If you have old fencing that is in need of a little TLC, then now is the time to get to work. You can easily install a new fence, paint or restain an existing one to bring back the visual appeal of the installation.
Wood fencing can be a beautiful option for the home, with the look of cedar being a popular choice among homeowners. To save money and have the look of cedar without the downside, many homeowners are choosing to complete the process of staining pressure treated wood to look like cedar. With this process, pressure treated wood is installed in the yard and easily stained to have the beautiful appearance of cedar.
With a little elbow grease, you can upgrade the fencing of your property, which will add value as well as a design element to your home.
Hidden Deck Fasteners
Hidden fasteners are used on decking to create a clean looking surface. Whether you are installing a new deck, or you are upgrading your existing one, this option should be considered. Hidden fasteners can easily be used with all materials including composite and cedar, vinyl and other hardwoods.
With hidden fasteners, you have a cleaner look with your decking, which allows you to better enjoy the space. Easily add new hidden fasteners to your existing decking to upgrade your home.
Consider any of these projects when upgrading your porch or patio this fall. Get started now will help you complete the work before winter arrives!