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Fix up your home for fall, winter and spring

Put on your DIY gloves! The work you do now on your lawn and house can pay off all through winter, spring and summer. Here, do-it-yourself expert Lou Manfredini shares what you need to do to get your home ready for the next three seasons.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

The work you do now on your land and your house can pay off all through winter, spring and summer. So put on your gloves and get ready to start fixing up! Here, TODAY contributor and do-it-yourself expert Lou Manfredini shares what you need to do this weekend to get your home ready for the next three seasons.

Your lawnIf you have spent all summer maintaining your lawn, cutting, trimming, and taking care of bare spots you should be congratulated. Your work is not done just yet, your fall work will ensure the lawn comes back even stronger next year.

Start by renting a motorized lawn dethatcher, and lawn aerator. These units can be found at stores that offer rental equipment, they can be rented for the day or half a day. Using the power dethatcher will remove all the dead grass that can clog your lawn, your will be amazed at what come out of your lawn by using this machine. Once all the thatch is removed follow up with a core aerating machine. This unit removes plugs from the soil and allows air to enter the top layer of your lawn. To learn more about the benefits of using these units, go to

After all that work, it’s time to apply a winterizing fertilizer. Make certain you have removed the bulk of leaves that have fallen on your lawn, but it’s okay to mow some of them back into your lawn and then apply the fertilizer. The breakdown of the leaves combined with the fertilizer makes for some high potent nutrients for your lawn. A fall application of fertilizer promotes root growth during the winter and will have your lawn bouncing back more quickly come springtime. Scotts Winterizing fertilizer is the industry standard and one of the best products on the market. Apply according to the instructions on the bag with a proper spreader and your lawn work for this year is complete. You will find terrific lawn care advice at

Your guttersNow let’s address all those leave that end up in your gutters. The first step is to know your limitations when it comes to getting up on a ladder. Thousands of people end up in the emergency room every year due to accidents on ladders. Make sure the ladder you are using is in tip top shape and that you are comfortable climbing up on it. Ladders have weight limits which not only include your weight but whatever you are bringing up with you. Never over exceed the highest working level of a ladder which will also be spelled out on the safety sticker on the side of the ladder.

When using extension ladders, visually inspect to ensure there are no overhead power lines that you may come in contact with. And tie off the top of your extension ladder to avoid any top slipping. Once your ladder is set, never over reach to clean out the gutters. My trick is to not reach at all and use a leaf blower to clean out the gutters. While this will make a mess on the ground, you’ll be a lot safer on your own two feet pushing a broom on the ground. To get more safety tips you can go to

One of the best ways to stay safe as it pertains to cleaning your gutters is to not have to clean them at all. Over the last 15 years there have been a number of gutter systems available to combat clogged gutters. Many of these are professionally installed and can cost as much as $10-$15 a running foot to install on your home. And while they are very effective and a value added proposition in my opinion it can also cost thousands of dollars to have some of these systems installed.

Gutter Stuff is made from polyether foam and comes in four foot lengths. These sections fit into your standard gutters underneath the gutter straps. Once installed, you cannot see them from the ground and the wide spaces in the foam allow heavy water flow to enter the gutter and be channeled out through the downspouts. Some of the aluminum style gutter-capping systems are not very effective during heavy rain storms. The sections cost about $15.99 each which sounds expensive but the average home has about 200 feet of gutters which works out to about $3.99 a foot compared to $12 a foot for a professionally installed product. You can learn more at

If you have questions or comments, please visit Lou Manfredini at .