How do you prepare the yard and garden for winter? Here's a checklist:

  1. Remove old plant matter from the garden and put it into the compost bin.
  2. Rake leaves (this is good for the lawn because it will help to de-thatch the lawn) and use some of them as mulch for the garden beds.
  3. Winterize the compost bin (if you have one) by applying a layer of raked leaves on top and all around the perimeter, bagging the leaves if necessary to hold them in place.
  4. If you still have leaves left on your law, run the mower through them (be sure the grass catcher is attached). This is a quick and easy way to clean them up.  
  5. Winterize the lawn mower as per manufacturer's instructions.
  6. Winterize small fragile shrubs by building a lean-to or some other structure around it – to help keep heavy snow from damaging limbs.
  7. Give trees and shrubs a good watering before the ground freezes – this will help them get through the frozen months. 
  8. Winterize in-ground swimming pools or water gardens following manufacturers' recommendations. Take in garden statues and other items that may be damaged by cold and snow.
  9. Turn off water to the outdoor tap from the inside source and bring in the garden hose.
  10. Clean outdoor furniture and furnishings (MOLLY MAID house cleaners recommend warm water, a little detergent and elbow grease). If you don't have room inside the garden shed or the garage to store the furniture, group them together on the deck or outside the back door and cover them with a thick tarp.