The leaves have fallen and the cooler weather has filled the air. Although we’ve enjoyed a warmer that normal fall, the weather is here and it’s time to start thinking about getting your home ready for Winnipeg’s very first snowfall.

Even with new homes, it’s important to not only clean your yard and gardens, but look at the features within your home to make sure everything is sealed and prepared for winter. Keep in mind these five tips when getting ready for the winter months ahead.

Clean your Garden and Yard

Most of your annuals will need to be trimmed or removed from your garden. For perennial plants, which will come back next spring, the soil should be surrounded with leaves, or mulch, to insulate the root and continue its growth. Watering roots several times in the fall will help protect the plant, as dry soil will allow cold air to get to the roots, damaging or shortening the life of the plant. You’ll also want to empty your plastic planters as moist soil will expand causing the containers to crack.

Once all leaves have fallen from the trees, make sure to take a look to at your gutters. Even if you have gutter screens or a layer of protection over the gutter, some debris may still get in or pile up on top. By preventing these blockages, you will ensure proper drainage and avoid having icicles handing from your eavestrough during spring melting.

Protect your Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture is resistant to all types of weather conditions including wind, rain, sleet and even snow. What many people aren’t aware of is the damage UV rays can cause on your furniture. The power of UV rays can bleach fabrics and make them brittle and crack. To help prevent the chance of this happening, store the furniture in your shed or garage throughout the winter. As another option, you can wrap your patio set with a cover or tarp and it will survive the winter in perfect condition.

Turn off Exterior Faucets

Water in outdoor faucets will expand and freeze, which can destroy the faucet causing it to leak or burst. To prevent this from happening, drain all the remaining water in the pipes and hose and remember to detach your garden hose. Don’t forget to blow out your sprinkler system if you have one.

Inspect your home

Taking a few hours out of your day to look at your home’s features could save you from a headache in the dead of winter. Check your down spouts and sump pump pipes to make sure they are clear and have good drainage. If they are not performing correctly, this can cause flooding, ice build-up, or even damage to neighbouring homes if the water flows toward their foundation, especially in the spring.

You’ll also want to hire a professional to service your furnace and clean your fireplace. Check the weather stripping for any cracks, which can be the result of the house shifting. This could also be a good time to mark and pipes, lines, or drain spouts outside with markers, sticks or pegs so when the snow falls, you know where they are.

Restock Winter Essentials

When the first snowfall hits Winnipeg, you’ll want to make sure you are prepared and ready to go. Take a trip into the garage and bring out all your winter essentials – shovel, snow blower, scrapper – and make sure you have all the proper gear and nothing is broken or needs fixing.