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As every homeowner knows, maintaining a beautiful landscape is a year-round activity. It’s not just about planting in the spring, enjoying the fruits of a lush, green lawn in the summer, raking leaves in the fall and gazing out the window in the winter pining for warmer and livelier days.

And while there’s not much you can do for your lawn in the winter especially in northeast states such as New Jersey—there’s plenty you can do with fall landscapes in the autumn. Indeed, landscape preparation for fall is an overlooked yet very valuable way to ensure your lawn remains in good shape 365 days a year. Here are some fall landscaping tips to follow that will keep your lawn in the best condition possible!

Add to the landscape: Preparation for fall isn’t just about maintaining what you have and readying the lawn for winter. While spring is the most popular season during which to plant seeds, fall is actually the best season to do so because the less rainy weather will give homeowners more time to work in the yard, even if the actual number of daylight hours is drastically less. Fall is a good time to plant perennials as well as shrubs and trees. Feel free to plant cool-season vegetables such as carrots, turnips, potatoes and a variety of greens such as lettuce. Just make sure to plant these seeds six weeks in advance of the first freeze. There’s no reason fall landscaping can’t provide you further reasons to show off newer creations to friends, family and neighbors!

Take care of your container plants: Because these plants are in containers and not in the ground, they are often overlooked when it comes to moving vulnerable plants inside. Make sure, in particular, to get tropical plants inside well before the temperatures start heading south, because these plants won’t survive long during a sudden NJ cold snap. Taking perennials from containers, putting them straight into the garden and beginning to grow them while the weather is still relatively warm is also a popular fall landscaping choice.

Keep your property bird-friendly: This might sound like an odd bit of landscape preparation for fall, but the more birds you have surrounding your yard, the better you’ll control the insect population! And the birds snacking on pesky insects will, in turn, save you money since you won’t have to spray insecticides regularly.

Fertilize the lawn—twice, if possible: Fertilizing your lawn will strengthen its roots and provide a stronger base come spring. For best results, fertilize the lawn in October and again in November before the first freeze arrives. The best fertilization is a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Don’t skimp on the routine tasks: This is an underrated yet essential part of fall landscapes. Make sure to continue mowing the lawn, weeding out the garden and, especially, raking the leaves that fall. Keeping the lawn as clean as possible will help your growing efforts come spring.

Fall landscapes can be as gratifying and productive as landscaping efforts during any other time of the year. With the seasons about to change, make sure to start your fall landscape efforts in New Jersey as soon as possible!