Fall Garden Ideas – Checklist For Fall Gardening

As Rudyard Kipling once said, “Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.” A lot of gardeners see Fall as a time to start putting their gardens to rest. However, Autumn is the perfect time for assessing, designing, and improving your gardens. Consider your landscaping. Fall is also a great time to perform grounds and tool maintenance. Perform a soil test; sharpen your garden tools; clean your lawnmower for storage; improve soil, and mulch garden beds for next season. Those little efforts now will help your garden thrive come springtime.

Other Fall To-Do items?

– Stop fertilizing, and water plants less as temperatures start to dwindle.

– In general, to cut back or not to cut back certain plants seems to be a matter of region and preference. Ask a local gardening expert what he or she recommends for your plants.

– Meanwhile, dispose of any diseased or infested plant debris to avoid re-entry of the problem in the Spring.

– One last weeding will help to improve the appearance of your garden throughout the remaining months of autumn. Furthermore, each weed that you eliminate now will prevent possibly hundreds of weeds from sprouting in your garden next spring.

– In many areas, strawberries planted now will be able to yield fruit in October and November. Strawberries produce well for about three years. Other than eating them, your next Fall task will be to replace the old plants with new ones in that 3rd year.

– Take cuttings, if desired, to winter indoors.

– Plant trees and shrubs. Keep these well-watered after planting so they can get used to their new environment before colder weather hits.

– Burlap wrap any plants that would benefit before heavy frosts begin.

– Prune any diseased or stressed tree/shrub limbs, shoots now – while the healthy parts of the plant are more easily differentiated.

– Assess which plants and shrubs have done well in your gardens and which have not. Jot notes down for next season’s planning. Take photos of your successes and rough spots. Plan your spring bulb garden now.

– As needed, divide perennials and transplant newly divided bulbs. Try for a mild, overcast day to minimize stress to plants/bulbs.

– Once temps hit 60 degrees, prepare soil beds for and plant Spring-flowering bulbs.

– Cut back flowers that have stopped blooming and/or stop deadheading seed heads early Fall if you want plants to self-sow. Wildflower and ornamental perennial seeds can be harvested and sowed now or within the next couple of months.

– Consider leaving ornamental grasses as-they-are. They make for some lovely landscaping during the bleaker months.

– Rake and clear fallen leaves, fruit, and dried brush.

– Watch for frost warnings; protect/cover plants and vegetables as needed.

– If you have a compost bin or pile, turn it with a pitchfork or garden fork.

– Bring summer houseplants back indoors for the cooler months when nighttime lows drop into the 50’s. Outside, spray all plants gently with water to dislodge any unwanted pests; examine plants carefully before bringing them indoors.

– Once you have watered your last outdoor plant and cleaned your garden tools for the season, drain and coil your garden hoses. Put tools, hoses, and portable sprinkler systems in storage.

– Pick herbs to freeze and/or dry. Be sure to take any unripe tomatoes and cukes inside before frost. You can wrap them with newspaper and leave in a cool, dark place to ripen or use them in creative cooking pursuits.

– Reap the harvest of the vegetables and herbs still in your garden. Preserve, puree, can, or freeze, with a smile.

Now that your “chores” are done and the weather is cooler, walk around your yard. Look at the photos of your landscape. Assess what has worked well, what you might like to see. You might want to plan a gazebo, a koi pond, some additional flower beds, or a water garden for next season. Outdoor lighting, retaining walls, patios, decking, and other structures can also be considered on your Fall gardening checklist.

Indoor And Outdoor Furniture Installation – There Is A Huge Difference In Approach

Do not make the mistake of thinking that installing outdoor furniture in your garden or your patio is the same as installing furniture in your house. Once the furniture is installed, you can move it around whenever you want and where were you want.

There is no need to protect the furniture from the elements. There is no need to think of storage space or protective measures. Have you ever bothered to paint the furniture in your house except for aesthetic purposes? Obviously not.

This is because the environment inside your house is controlled. However, the environment outside your house is completely beyond your control. The only option available is to protect the furniture from the harsh elements outside.

You should be prepared to move the furniture inside when it becomes too cold or too hot. As long as you do not intend to use the outer area, there is no need to have the furniture lying idle. Secondly, you should be prepared to cover the furniture and protect it from the elements if you cannot remove it.

If you are gone in for a heavy concrete seat and if it is a permanent fixture in your garden, then you should consider going in for a plastic or waterproof cover. Of course, you will also have to make sure that it gels with the outer surroundings. You don’t want your furniture to look ugly, do you?

The placement of such permanent furniture is very important point. There are many disadvantages of opting for concrete or other such structures as your furniture. Not only will it spoils the aesthetics, it will also reduce the flexibility and maneuverability that you otherwise enjoy.

Going in for good quality plastic or cane furniture and placing it in the garden is a very smart move. The biggest advantage that this option offers is the rearrangement of the furniture outside anyway you want. If you are having a party and if you expect lots of guests, you cannot simply move the concrete bench, can you?

On the other hand, you can easily modify the seating arrangement if you have light weight and easy to move furniture. Another significant advantage of opting for modern furniture is that it helps you change the way your garden looks.

On the other hand, permanent furniture is very old fashioned and is obviously going to create a dull effect. If you have children, chances are high that they will get injured by falling off the permanent furniture again and again. Considering all these factors, it is advisable to use the internet and checkout alternatives.

What Type Of Wood Do I Want For My Home Flooring

With so many choices available in the market, it might be difficult to make a decision as to what type of flooring is best for your home. Read on for some useful suggestions.

Reasons for choosing wood flooring

There are many advantages wooden floors have over ceramic or fitted carpet floors. Perhaps the most significant advantage lies in wood’s longevity. While initial costs may be higher when compared to other types of flooring, wooden floors have a shelf life of up to a century, if maintained regularly and adequately. Therefore, wood flooring is a good long-term investment.

Wooden floors require minimal maintenance and cleaning them is an easy and hassle-free task. As a result, wooden floors are ideal in those homes whose residents suffer from environmental allergies. There are never dust build-ups, animal dander and other allergens trapped in wooden floors.

Wooden floors are aesthetically pleasant. Wood adds a delicate and classy touch to any floor. Also, due to the huge variety of woods, wooden floors are highly versatile. Homeowners can choose to create both modern and traditional looks, since there is a colour, cut and style of wood for every need.

Last but not least, woods can be recycled and therefore are a green option when it comes to home decoration.

Wood types


Maple wood is a step above oak in terms of durability. The colour range goes from creamy white to brown, including some reddish tones. The lighter tones can be used in kitchens or living rooms, to open up the space and bring in some brightness. Darker tones can be combined with orange or cream-painted walls to create a welcoming and warm space.


Walnut is a relatively soft wood. Black walnut wood in particular will add a touch of formality to any room, therefore being ideal for office and studio floors. Combine a dark walnut wooden floor with a colour-block rug for a striking effect.


Ash wood is available in colours going from light cream to dark chocolate. Mix, match and contrast with your existing decoration to create a homely feel in bedrooms and living rooms.


Red oak is one of the most popular choices, although it is not as durable as white oak. The natural highlights in both white and red oak can immediately warm up a room, so they are ideal to be used in bedrooms. Red oak floors are a great match to rooms painted in vivacious colours, such as children’s rooms or modern studios.

Dark oak tones can be used to create a comfortable atmosphere in living rooms decorated in contrasting tones (such as deep reds or indigo blues).

Black oak is a rare wood that can add a sober and elegant touch to a room. It is a perfect match to a minimalist-style dining room.

And remember, wooden floors are always in style!

Save On Electricity Bills – Here’s How

The crucial first step in lower electric bills is finding out how much electricity is being used by various appliances and lights in your house. Just knowing this, most people change a few habits and end up reducing electricity bills by 5 to 10%. That can be another $100 in your pocket every year. Without even buying any energy-saving devices.

To reduce spending you first need to know where the money’s going. Until you track your spending, you really don’t know what are your biggest expenses and which are unimportant. When you do this there’s usually a few surprises. You’re likely to find you’re spending a lot on things that aren’t very important to you. So you prioritize, and realize some savings.

Saving energy is just like that. Tracking down all the electric loads in you home is a key part of any home energy audit (also called a home energy assessment). Once you have a list of electricity users, it’s easy to see which are the big items, and which surprise you. Often a few simple habits, like turning off lights and unplugging unused items, can result in big savings. That’s how most people save on electricity bills. A substantial purchase, like buying a new energy-efficient refrigerator, is at the other end of the spectrum. Knowing your actual energy use is a great help in going further. It gives you the knowledge and confidence that any purchases are worth their cost in energy savings. In most situations, you can easily cut your electricity bill by 10%, and sometimes as much as 30%.

You Need a Kilowatt Hour Meter

Basic energy audits usually just total typical wattage for each appliance times an estimated number of hours they’re used per day. Light bulbs and most appliances will list their wattage, but it can be hard to estimate how many hours per day they run. This can be especially important (and difficult) for major appliances like refrigerators, washers & dryers, microwaves, etc. Some appliances actual use is significantly less than the nameplate data, and some draw “phantom power” even when turned off.

The utility company has its kilowatt meter installed outside your house. So at no cost you can learn to read wattage and run back and forth turning appliances on and off to determine their wattage. Another type of home watt meter ties into the circuit-breaker of fuse box, and transmits to a portable display. But these usually require electrician to wire into breaker box. They’re more convenient (and fun), but can be rather expensive. But for both types the meter measures monitor the whole house not individual loads. Turning an appliance on and off identifies its wattage, but you still don’t know how many hours per day an appliance like a refrigerator is actually running.

But there’s an inexpensive tool to measure this.

What’s a Kill A Watt?

The aptly named Kill A Watt P3 is a great tool for cutting your electricity costs. The Kill-A-Watt model P4400 is a very easy to use electricity monitor that tells you exactly how much each appliance or lamp in your home is using. There’s no need for an electrician. You just plug it into the wall, then plug any 110/120 volt item you want to monitor into it.

P3 International makes several models. The P4400 has long been the “standard” home watt meter. Although the list price is around $50, you can find them for $30 or less, so it usually pays for itself several times over in just the first year of savings. Although inexpensive it’s quite accurate, specified as 0.2%. All the Kill A Watt models actually make several measurements. You can display voltage, amperage, wattage, power factor, and line frequency. And of course it’s a power usage monitor. As soon as you plug it in it automatically starts totaling watt-hours used and how many hours its been measuring. The P4460 is a bit more expensive but retains it’s power usage data if power is turned off and will convert its readings into daily, weekly, monthly, and annual costs.

Ready? Go!

Knowing your home’s “energy budget” is the key to lower electricity bills. All the Kill A Watt P3 models provide accurate measurements of the electrical power actually drawn by plug-in appliances. This is particularly important for appliances such as refrigerators (one of the largest home electricity users) where you don’t know exactly how many hours they run each day. A new energy-efficient appliance will save on electricity bills, and a home watt meter will tell you if the savings are worth the cost. Many home devices such as TVs use “phantom power” even when you think they’re off. The only way to find this for sure is to measure it. If it’s significant, then you’ve found an easy opportunity for reducing electricity bills.

I’ve always been a geek doing “science projects.” The Kill A Watt P3 power meter is one of my favorite toys. Er, tools.