As the do-it-yourself season draws to a close, many homeowners and homeowners associations alike, are feeling the pressure of crossing off the last few items off of their “To Do” lists before the snow and colder temperatures really set in.  While we commend that “go get ‘em” spirit, there are a few projects that you absolutely SHOULD allow yourself to push off until next year (go ahead, take a break, you’ve earned it).  Here are a few of the projects that you should NOT tackle this fall.

Exterior Painting

Whether it be your own happy home, or community buildings within your neighborhood, the desire to get that shiny new paint job completed before the season ends is a strong one.  That desire is often egged on by painting companies offering discounted rates, in order to fill up their calendars before they wrap up for the season.  However, Picasso beware, painting in the fall months is not always an advisable venture.  Many exterior paints require temperatures of at least 50 degrees (the exact temperature will vary according to brand) for a number of days after application, in order to properly cure.  If the temperatures dip during this crucial time, the paint will take longer to dry, leaving it open to attracting dirt and debris.  Not a good look.  Additionally, the colder temperatures during this process can drastically affect the life expectancy of the paint job.  This all means that, should you decide to rush the project and get it done before the snow falls and if you live in an area of the country where fall temperatures are a bit on the cooler side, you could be looking at a subpar paint job that could need to be revisited after only a couple of years.  Should you find yourself compelled to move forward, carefully consider your timeline and watch the forecast.  If it seems as though the weather may be working against you, table the brushes until next year.  

Overzealous Garden Clearing

It can be tempting to jump in, guns blazing, and tear everything out in order to start fresh next year.  However, in most cases, this is not best practice.  To be clear, however, we do not advise simply waving good-bye to your garden, where you have spent the hot summer months toiling away, just so that you can brag to neighbors about how the zucchini from your garden, “just taste better, ya know?” You will certainly want to do some tidying.  This should include getting rid of any weeds and debris, decreasing your odds for pests and weeds that can dig themselves in and sprout up just in time for your spring planting.  

If you’ve spent the season enjoying the splendor of your freshly planted perennials, be sure to leave these babies alone in your tenacious tidining of garden beds.  The wonder of these perpetual plants is that they will come back, year after year, with little interference needed on your part.  According to Oregon State University, in order to best care for your perennials, once they start to lose their leaves, cut them back a bit, so that the stems are about 6 inches above the ground.  After this little trim, you’ll want to give them some insulation to keep their roots nice and toasty through the winter.  You can do this by laying 2-5 inches of mulch.  This also allows the ground to hold in the right amount of moisture through the winter, something that your garden will need in order to spring back to life when the temperatures warm again.

Starting Major Projects

Generally speaking, if you have a big project, and we mean BIG, like building a deck, remodeling your community center, or adding a wing to your home (you know, just because you can), fall may not be the time to begin.  While fall is undeniably beautiful (your pictures at the pumpkin patch were lovely), the weather is more unpredictable than in the summer months, and grows more so as the season trudges on.  surprise  snow storms, drastic drops in temperatures and other unfavorable conditions mean that your project could experience the dreaded D-word… delays (ghasp).  You may find yourself delayed due to the weather that you are experiencing in your hometown, or delays in shipping and delivery of crucial supplies caused by weather in other parts of the country.  Either way, taking on major projects later in the year could mean a longer timeframe, and if you are paying contractors throughout this process, or are leaving parts of your home or community buildings exposed to the elements, you may want to look at your calendar and choose a date earlier next year.