If you’re like us, then you never want summertime to end. The cloudless skies, the days spent hanging by the pool, the evenings around a campfire — we love it all. And as most of us in Houston know, summer won’t really turn to fall for some time, and even when it does, it won’t get quite so cold.
But by September, we’re all looking for fall colors and we’re ready to put out pumpkins and sip warm apple cider. While you’re at it, your landscaping could use a little fall inspiration. Here are our favorite fall landscaping ideas and how our gutter cleaning service can get you ready for winter once the leaves start to fall.
Fall trees bring fall colors
As lovely as Houston is, it’s not exactly known for its fall foliage. People don’t come to Houston to watch the leaves change as they might in Rhode Island, Vermont or other northeastern states, but that doesn’t mean changing leaves are impossible to come by in Houston. You just have to have the right trees.
For that colorful look that usually comes to Houston by November rather than September or October, consider planting one of these trees:
- Sweet gums: These leaves turn a deep red in the fall, with highlights of golden shades of orange.
- Drummond Maple: It’s easy to spot a maple tree in fall. Just look for the bright red leaves.
- Oak: These powerhouse trees have mighty trunks, and in the fall, their leaves change to yellow and orange.
Now all of these are fairly large trees, and they will take up a lot of space on your property. If you decide in a few years that you don’t want the tree, it may be tough to take down or move. Before planting one of these big trees, make sure it’s one you want to keep.
Fall flowers for Houston
It’s not time to stop gardening just yet. You might think that planting season is over — and it is for most farmers — but some flowers can still be planted in the fall and stay through winter. Their bright colors will keep you cheerful even as the temperature outside drops.
The easiest way to bring color to your yard if you don’t have large, leave-changing trees is to plant annuals, a type of flower whose lifecycle is contained to one season or year. Usually small and easy to plant, annuals add pops of color around the yard, and they are great for window boxes or for lining the sidewalk up to your front door. Though they won’t grow back next year, annuals are great non-committal plants, which means you can change up your yard every year.
Of course, before you plant anything or pick out any plants from a garden center, think about the area you want to plant your flowers. Is it in direct sunlight? Shade? What’s the soil like? Some flowers, as we’ll see below, need lots of sun, while others cannot grow in certain types of soil. Make sure you know your garden before you start buying plants that won’t thrive.
Here are our three favorite fall annuals that grow well in Houston.
- Drummond’s Phlox
Many different types of flowers fall under the category of annuals, including the “Drummond’s Phlox.” This annual flowers in clusters, and each flower has five petals and white star-shaped center. These flowers come in pinks and purples, which stand out nicely next to a maple tree or near your front door. These Texas-based plants love a lot of sun and moisture, and they grow well in sandy soil.
If you’re looking for a hardier annual, look no further than primrose. These flowers don’t mind a cold snap, surviving even at 15 degrees, and they thrive usually between November and May. They need filtered sun or bright shade grow best in moist soil. Primrose comes in a variety of colors, from purples and pinks to yellows and oranges. They’re smaller flowers, so they’re great for lining your flower garden or adding depth among taller plants.
Perhaps a favorite for Houston, snapdragons are another hearty plant, often growing in areas where temperatures dip into the 20s. These tall, skinny flowers can grow to be several feet tall, and you can usually identify them right away by their vibrant shades. Reds, yellows, pinks and whites flower in the fall and often last right through spring. For best results, plant snapdragons in full or partial sun and make sure the soil drains well. This will prevent the roots from rotting.
Is your yard really decorated for fall if there aren’t any pumpkins to be seen? Pumpkins have been a fall favorite for generations, and with their bright orange color, they brighten up outside spaces and add interest to your landscape. When worked in with your existing plants, pumpkins bring an unusual texture to your garden and they look fall-ready among your flowers and trees.
Just setting a pumpkin on your front porch is boring, so try some of these looks:
- Line your front steps with pumpkins and other gourds. Choose a mix of pumpkins and other gourds in varying shapes, colors and sizes. Now mix and line them up on one side of your front steps. For a layered look, mix in ivy between the pumpkins and gourds to make it look like they’re all growing on one vine.
- Incorporate unusual planters: Sure, you can go to your home and garden center and pick up a few planters to display your pumpkins in, but in the fall, get creative. Have an old wagon or wheelbarrow lying around? Move it out to your front yard and prop up your pumpkins inside. Again, add ivy and if you can, move a few flower pots with bright, blooming flowers near the base to give it all more color.
- Hay isn’t just for horses: A barrel of hay can help you create a layered effect on your front porch if you don’t want to line up pumpkins and squash on your steps. Mix them altogether in front of and on top of your hay barrel for a festive fall look. When the hay is, well, past its heyday, throw it and your pumpkins on your compost pile. You’ll have fertile soil for next year’s flowers.
- Growing with cabbage and kale: Decorating can taste good too. Cabbage and kale are hearty plants, and their deep green colors will contrast nicely with your orange pumpkins. Put them in a planter and surround the planter with your pumpkins and gourds. That color will brighten your porch in no time.
Of course, don’t forget to carve pumpkins for Halloween and display them proudly on your front porch. Nothing says fall like the soft glow of a jack-o-lantern.
Don’t forget decor
So the leaves on your trees are changing colors, your snapdragons look divine and your pumpkins are standing proudly on your porch — are you finished?
Not quite. It’s time to finish off your fall landscape with a few decor touches that will make your home look warm and inviting. Here are a few fun ideas to set your home apart.
- Fall wreaths: Wreaths aren’t just for the winter holidays. You can pick one up at just about any home decor store, or you can craft your own. Simply take a wreath made of bare sticks bound together and add brightly colored leaves, ribbons or even small pumpkins or gourds. Get creative and make a wreath that speaks to your style.
- White or orange string lights: Again, white lights don’t have to be for winter holidays only. At your favorite craft store, pick up a garland of brightly colored leaves and twist the garland together with the lights. The lights will shine behind the leaves, turning the light shades of orange, red and yellow. This is an easy way to get some extra use out of your lights… and do some of your winter decorating a little early.
- Corn stalks and indian corn: Dried corn stalks have that rustic, farmhouse look to them, and when they’re wrapped around the columns on your front porch or even your mailbox post, they give your yard a strong fall vibe. Decorate even further by tying dried indian corn around the stalks to add color.
Bottom line: Have fun with your fall decor. A little creativity goes a long way.
General maintenance never ends
Even though it’s fall, you still need to be taking care of your landscape. Your grass may not grow as fast in the fall, but it will still grow and it needs to be trimmed.
As other plants in your backyard die, you need to be trimming and pruning them. Trimming trees and plants keeps them healthy, and it keeps those dead twigs and sticks from fall into your gutter. If you don’t, you’ll likely need a gutter cleaning service more than once a year.
You should also be monitoring the landscaping around the perimeter of your home as well as inside your garage and under your deck. During the fall months, rodents and other pests look for warm places to wait out the winter. They need shelter, but they also need good access to the outdoors so they can go find food. Rodents like rats and mice and insects such as wasps, ants and termites will be looking for ways into your cozy home, so by checking your home, you can spot potential points of entry and seal them up before any pest gets a good idea.
The fall months are also a good time to clean your power tools and any other equipment such as lawnmowers, weed wackers or wet/dry vacuum. Since you probably won’t use them much during the winter, you should be replacing any dull blades and cleaning out vacuum or grass clippings bags. Next year when you go to use your equipment, everything will be in good condition and ready to be used.
As fall fades, remember to schedule a gutter cleaning service
You love watching those leaves change color, but what happens when they actually fall? You can’t always control where leaves — be they from your tree or your neighbor’s tree — fall, and that can lead to some problems for your gutter. That’s why it’s so important to schedule a gutter cleaning service every fall to make sure the leaves don’t cause problems.
When leaves fall, they can clog your gutters and cause all sorts of problems. The leaves will cause water to stall and collect in your gutters, and as anyone with a pool will tell you, standing water is a favorite spot for mosquitoes to hang out. They love to lay their eggs near water, and if that spot happens to be near your front or back porch, then you’re going to be scratching a new bite every time you go out there. A gutter cleaning service will make sure no water stands still so mosquitoes won’t have a place to breed.
Another problem with standing water is that when it overflows onto a house, it can sometimes rot the wooden frame of the home. This can create all sorts of problems. The water can then seep into your home and cause damage to the walls and ceilings in your attic. If the wood rots enough to create a hole, then you also might be inviting unwanted guests to live in your home. Rodents and termites can find even the smallest holes to exploit, so scheduling a gutter cleaning service will stop that water build-up from rotting your wood.
A gutter cleaning service can also save you the time and hassle of doing the work yourself. If you don’t have a sturdy ladder at a good height, then there’s a chance you could fall and injure yourself. With a gutter cleaning service, the professional will take care of everything. Our experts at Advantage Pro Services have all the tools needed to get the job done, and our gutter cleaning service will leave your gutters looking like new again.
Tell us: How do you plan to decorate your landscape for fall? Share your design ideas with us in the comments and let us know how our gutter cleaning service can help you this fall.