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Why a little fall outdoor maintenance can go a long way

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Updated: 1/17/2013 10:10 am

(BPT) - After spending the summer enjoying the outdoors, it can be a little bittersweet to get the deck and yard ready for the cooler days ahead. The good news is getting outdoor areas ready for winter doesn't have to be a time-consuming process.

A few simple steps can minimize extra work when warmer weather rolls around again. For each area of the yard, there are a few procedures that can save you big headaches in the long run.

Start with the deck

The many homeowners that put a lot of time and money into building a deck know the importance of preserving that investment. A wood deck should be stained annually, however, many homeowners are turning to low-maintenance composite decking and railings, as composite options by manufacturers like TimberTech offer high-end aesthetics with low-maintenance qualities.

But that doesn't mean that composite decks are maintenance-free. TimberTech provides a 25-year warranty on all of its products, and with some simple annual maintenance, they can be kept looking great for years to come. The company's decking experts recommend the following tips for composite deck care and cleaning:

* Clear all debris to prohibit mold and mildew growth.

* When using a cleaner, be sure to use one that's compatible with your decking material and follow the instructions.

* Using a pressure washer is a great way to get a deep clean, but it's best not to exceed a pressure greater than 1,500 psi.

Lawn care tips

In addition to raking to keep the yard clear of leaves, dethatching can prevent a buildup of above-ground roots that can be a detriment to soil health. Aerating in the fall can also help lawns recover from a summer of heavy use, providing much needed oxygen for the turf's roots.

After particularly dry summers, it doesn't hurt to water trees with a soaker hose or root irrigator so they have some water to help them survive the winter. Fall is also the time to clear out both garden and flower beds, as you'll thank yourself in the spring for doing the work before winter set in. Be sure to get your fall-planting flower bulbs in before the ground freezes as well.

Around the house

Clearing all gutters of debris should be an annual fall task, as all the fallen leaves can easily jam up downspouts, which can damage gutters or cause ice dams in colder climates. It's also a good idea to clear the areas around the foundation of the house, as pests like to make their homes there when the weather gets cold.

By spending a temperate autumn day outside preparing your outdoor spaces for winter, you'll eliminate extra work for yourself in the spring. For more deck care tips, visit www.timbertech.com.

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