house, landscaped yard

Curb appeal is one of those real estate catch phrases that does, in fact, have some substance to it. Appearance may be the first step in getting potential buyers through your front door. With crisp air and rainier days descending on Vancouver, keeping up those appearances can be difficult.

The first and most important step in winterizing your lawn is knowing if you have cool-season grass or warm-season grass. Cool season grasses will need a winterizing fertilizer that’s higher in potassium to fortify roots in time for cooler temperatures while warm season grasses go dormant in the winter and therefore would have required an earlier dose of fertilizer. Your best bet in deciding how to proceed is taking a soil test for acidity levels as well as checking with your local greenhouse as to what type of lawn you have.

Don’t ditch the rake just yet: giving the lawn a good once-over will remove the last layer of dead turfgrass tissue otherwise known as “thatch”, and allow all-important water and nutrients (and possibly your fertilizer) to reach the grassroots. Raking leaves does this double-duty, while using a leaf-blower may de-clutter your yard, it won’t get down to the nitty-gritty.

Lastly, remove any weeds, cover plant beds with insulating topsoil or burlap, and repot small plants indoors. If you haven’t already, blowing out the irrigation system and removing debris from drains will keep things moving smoothly through the winter, as well as prevent your pipes from freezing.

Gardening may not be your forte, but everyone enjoys a well-groomed one to look at; whether they’re buying or selling. Consult with your local garden center on maintenance crews for hire, or share here if you’ve had a good experience with one.


window, rain, weatherproofing

Living in Vancouver means living with the rain. To coexist happily with this potentially damaging element, weatherproofing is a homeowner’s best friend. It not only keeps your home toasty warm from the wet and cold, but will also help keep your heating bills in check. The most crucial areas are windows, doors, basements and decks.

Weatherproofing your windows and doors will prevent the elements from infiltrating your home and heat from leaking out. Check around windows for caulking that has gone stiff or crumbly. Removing it is fairly simple with a screwdriver; take care to remove all of it before laying down a new bead of caulking in its place. Weatherstripping is common around doors to protect against drafts. Replacing peeling, cracked, or missing weatherstripping with new flexible vinyl weatherstripping is an important but quick fix.

More involved steps to fully weather-proofing your home include ensuring your pipes are cold-weather friendly to prevent bursting in extreme temperature changes, decks are weather-proofed against mould and mildew, and basements are properly insulated and crack-free. Easy for the ambitious DIYer, or research the best Pro in your area to help out with these last three.

If you have any weather-proofing tips for fellow Vancouverites or can recommend a good Pro, don’t hesitate to share below!

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