How to winterize your lawn and garden

A lush lawn and blooming flower beds are the pride and joy of many homeowners. Canada’s harsh winters, however, can quickly squash the hard work you’ve put into nurturing and maintaining your outdoor spaces during the summer months. To ensure that your backyard gets off to a good start when spring arrives, a little prep work before the snow hits can do a world of good.

Help prepare your lawn and garden for colder weather this year by following these winterization tips.

Care for your annuals and perennials

When it comes to winterizing your garden beds, show your plants and flowers some love. Start by removing any annuals (plants that are only around for one growing season, such as sunflowers, tomatoes and varieties of lettuce). Removing annuals will rid your beds of lingering bacteria, and prevent any potential pests or diseases from building up during the winter.

For your perennial plants, give them a healthy trim back and a final water before the end of the season. Perennials with large and dense roots can be cut and divided into smaller plants to support better regrowth in the spring.

Bring delicate plants, such as succulents or potted bulbs, indoors to prevent frost damage. Cover any shrubs or plants that can’t be moved inside with landscape fabric or burlap to protect them from harsh weather conditions.

Get down in the dirt

Just like your plants, your soil also needs some help preparing for the winter ahead. Remove any weeds, dead plant debris and buried root vegetables from your soil before the first hard frost sets in. Spread mulch over your soil and around the base of trees to provide a protective layer from frost and a barrier that will help to keep moisture and temperature levels consistent for your plants. When cleaning up your soil, you may also want to consider planting bulbs for the following spring, such as crocus, tulips and daffodils.

Show your lawn a little TLC

The ground gets compacted and cold during the winter, which can make it difficult for lawns to recover post-thaw. Help your lawn out by aerating it in the fall to loosen soil and ensure better drainage. Instead of raking all of the tree leaves off of your lawn, cut your grass long — approximately two to three inches high — and leave a layer of shredded leaves on top. Mowing the leaves into tiny pieces will allow your lawn’s soil to absorb nutrients from the fallen debris more efficiently while still letting light and moisture through. In low-traffic areas where your lawn is patchy and damaged, overseed in the early fall for best results in the spring.

Add a boost of nutrients

As your garden prepares for hibernation, it helps to give your outdoor greens some needed nourishment.

If you have a compost bin, sprinkle this material on your flower beds to help them replenish their nutrients post-winter, and top up your bin with any leaves, grass clippings or debris from your winterization clean up. You can give your lawn a final dose of sustenance too with the help of special winter grass fertilizer that contains nitrogen and potash.

Not all of your fallen leaves have to end up in paper bags. Instead, add mulched leaves to your perennial flower beds and vegetable gardens as an insulating layer and a source of valuable nutrients for the soil.


How to prepare your home for winter

Preparing your home for winter can be a daunting task. Starting early and taking time between jobs will make it much more manageable.

Your efforts will keep out the cold, keep money in your pocket through energy savings and keep your home running efficiently.

Here are six ways to winterize your home this season.

Maintain machines and appliances

Having your furnace and ventilation system serviced by a professional in the fall can prevent potential emergency calls when the temperature drops. 

For improved air quality throughout your home, have your ducts cleaned annually before the onset of cold weather. Outdoor air conditioning units should be covered properly and their power disconnected during the off-season. While you’re at it, cover any lawn furniture or landscaping that will be exposed to the elements.

Conduct a thorough inspection on your yard tools too – drain fuel from your lawn mower and water from your pressure washer, and complete a maintenance check on your snowblower. This will prolong their lifespan and ensure they work efficiently when you need them. If you heat your home with wood, oil or propane, be sure to top up your supply before the cold months hit.

Seal windows, doors, decks and concrete

If the caulking or weather stripping around your windows and doors is cracked, it can let cold air and moisture in, damaging window sills while causing mildew, mold and significant heat loss. Repair and replace what is necessary and cover older windows with a protective window film until they can be replaced.

Decks, driveways and concrete surfaces are not impermeable. Purchase proper sealants or stains that you can apply yourself before ice and snow arrives, or hire a professional. Preserving the integrity of these large surfaces will only serve you in the long run, saving you from major repairs or full replacements.

Outside water

Before draining your pipes, disconnecting hoses or winterizing your  sprinkler system, always turn off the outside water supply. Leaving the outside water on during winter can cause pipes to burst, leading to flooding and damage to your property. If you haven’t already, you may want to consider insulating your water pipes, especially if you leave a summer home unattended off-season or vacation for extended periods of time in the winter months.

Check your gutters

Make sure the gutters are in good condition and properly secured to your home. Prevent damage by clearing out debris to allow snow to melt and drain easily, and point the downspout away from your home. Water should always be moving away from your property to avoid flooding and water damage.

Gutter guards are a worthy investment, as they can help to keep debris and pests out. Clogged gutters can result in leaks that lead to mold and mildew, and act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria.

Tend to the attic

Pests can cause damage to your home and your health. Safeguard your attic from birds and rodents who may move in during the winter by checking for access points and placing a screen under any vent. Contact pest control if you suspect an infestation.

To keep warm air from escaping through your roof, determine the R-Value of your current attic insulation and add more to areas not properly insulated, or completely replace the insulation if needed. For added warmth and energy efficiency, you can add insulation to your garage doors and basement.

Inspect your smoke detectors

This important task is not limited to just one season… Inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly, replacing batteries and cleaning them when necessary. Smart home devices can be installed to continuously monitor smoke detectors (and much more), providing added peace of mind.

If some of these tasks are not within your skillset or you simply don’t have the time, hire a general contractor for the small jobs and a certified technician for specialized tasks, such as inspecting the furnace.


Four home decor trends for fall that are more than just pumpkins

The season of pumpkin spice is once again upon us, and so are fall decorating traditions. For many of us, the transition from summer to fall is a nostalgic time to break out the spooky decor, unpack the turkey-themed table runner and adorn the front door with our favourite fall wreath. But, if dressing up the house with orange pumpkins and burlap year after year is getting a bit stale over time, there’s no harm in shaking up your fall decorating choices this season.

Here are four new 2023 fall decor trends you can try in your home (sans pumpkins):

Earthy tones

Fall colours are traditionally defined by shades of orange, red and brown. This year, more earth-like tones are making their way into home, including varieties of sage green, warm beige and caramel, rustic brick red and earthy terracotta. You can achieve this softer, more muted fall look through coloured glassware, cushion covers, ceramics, blankets and other housewares that are easy to swap out when the seasons change. If you’re looking to add a contrasting statement piece to your interior this fall, try introducing an eye-catching accent colour with a hint of black, indigo or copper.

Rustic touches

Rustic furniture is a staple in fall design this year. Building off of the theme of warm and earth-inspired interiors, distressed or vintage finds will bring a touch of charm to your home this season. The most economical and environmentally-friendly way to pull off this look is with the help of your local thrift store or online marketplaces, where you’re likely to find an array of second-hand furniture, rugs and trinkets. You don’t need to spend a lot to add a ton of character to your space.

Layered textures

As the temperature drops, we tend to layer up with different fabrics to keep our bodies warm – it’s no different for our homes.

This fall, mix and match different layers of textures and fabrics for an extra cozy feel. Whether it’s your bedding, accent cushions or rugs, get creative with different textiles, such as wool, knit, velvet, satin and cashmere. If your interior tastes are more neutral, you can still achieve this trend with a monochromatic colour palette to elevate your home.

Fruits and flowers

Move aside pumpkins – fruits are all the rage this year. Instead of opting for your typical array of white and orange gourds, fruits are taking centre stage in 2023. Seasonal fruits, such as apples, figs and pears, can be repurposed as place cards or arranged in bowls for a less expected fall centrepiece. Alternatively, you can showcase fruits through decorative flatware and table textiles, such as fabric napkins. If fruits aren’t really your thing, opt for dried florals instead like pampas grass, sunflowers or wheat stalks to add a touch of ‘Cottage Core’ to your living space.

Bonus tip: Give attention to outdoor spaces

Mild weather is known to last into mid-October in some parts of the country, meaning we can use our beloved outdoor spaces for longer periods of time. Show your balcony, patio or backyard some fall decor love too by dressing it up with lanterns, wreaths and seasonal flowers, such as chrysanthemums or hydrangeas. Add a touch of coziness around your outdoor fireplace or sitting area with water-resistant pillows and blankets in your favourite fall colours and patterns.


Prepping Your Home For Sale This Fall

Today’s housing market is different than it was just a few months ago. And if you’re thinking about selling your house, that may leave you wondering what you need to do differently as a result. The answer is simple. Taking the time upfront to prep your house appropriately and create a solid plan can help bring in the greatest return on your investment.

Here are a few simple tips to make sure you maximize the sale of your house this fall.

1. Price It Right

One of the first things buyers will notice is the price of your house. That’s because the price sends a message to home shoppers. Pricing your house too high to begin with could put you at a disadvantage by discouraging buyers from making an offer. On the flip side, pricing your house too low may make buyers worry there’s some underlying issue or something wrong with the home.

Your goal in pricing your house is to gain the attention of prospective buyers and get them to make an offer. And with price growth and buyer demand moderating, as well as a greater supply of homes available for sale, pricing your home appropriately for where the market is today has become more important than ever before.

But how do you know that perfect number? Pricing your house isn’t a guessing game. It takes skill and expertise. Work with a trusted real estate advisor to determine the current market value for your home.

2. Keep It Clean

It may sound simple but keeping your house clean is another key to making sure it gets the attention it deserves. As says in the Home Selling Checklist:

When selling your home, it’s important to keep everything tidy for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute tour.”

Before each buyer visits, assess your space and determine what needs your attention. Wash the dishes, make the beds, and put away any clutter. Doing these simple things can reduce potential distractions for buyers.

For more tips, check out this checklist for preparing your house for sale. Ultimately an agent is your best resource for tailored advice, but this list can help get you started.

3. Help Buyers Feel at Home

Finally, it’s important for buyers to see all the possible ways they can make your house their next home. An easy first step to create this blank canvas is removing personal items, like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. It’s also a good idea to remove any excess furniture to help the rooms feel bigger and make sure there’s ample space for touring buyers to stand and look at the layout.

If you’re unsure what should be packed away and what can stay, consult your trusted real estate advisor. Spending the time on this step can pay off in the long run. As a recent article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

Staging is the art of preparing a home to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers in your market. The right arrangements can move you into a higher price-point and help buyers fall in love the moment they walk through the door.”

Bottom Line

Selling a house requires prep work and expertise. If you’re looking to sell your house this season, let’s connect so you have advice on how to get it ready to list, how to help it stand out in today’s shifting market, and more.


Testimonial Tuesday! There is no greater feeling then a complement like this one! These amazing Buyers were on the ball for their purchase every step of the way! If you are thinking about buying I would love the opportunity to work with you!
Susan Colgate

2021 Had A Climbing Sales Market

2021 saw a CRAZY sellers market and as a result, BCNREB reports the average sale price is still climbing year over year and is currently up 14% from 2020 in the Northern Region!! Not enough inventory and too many buyers..... means you need skilled handling from an experienced real estate agent who knows all the ins and outs of the shifting housing market. Get a FREE No Obligation Consultation to discuss your real estate plans for this fast approaching new year with just a click of a mouse on my Home Evaluation site! Simple and Easy!


Top TIPS for preparing your home for the Market! #5!

Tackle the Bathroom!

Please remove all the toiletries you have on display in your bathroom (nobody wants to see them ;)) Invest in a new set of affordable towels, soap tray and tooth brush holder.  If you need to update the toilet seat, bath mat and shower curtain (be honest with yourself), now is an excellent time!

For any other questions about preparing your home, I would love to help!


Top TIPS for preparing your home for the Market! #4

Make an EXTRA set of Keys!   Prospective Buyers and their Agents will need access to your home, so you will need an extra set of keys to give to your listing Agent.  It is worth the extra time and money to get a set of keys.  Even if you don't normally lock your house, you don't want the potential buyers knowing your home is not locked...  

If you are thinking about Buying or Selling I would love to help!  #williamslakerealestate #Williamslake #susancolgate  


Top TIPS for preparing your home for the Market! #3

Day 3: Get Boxes & Duct Tape!

An important part of the adventure of selling is preparing the house! First impressions are key to capitalizing on a strong value for you investment.  One of the key and important tips is to DE-CLUTTER!  Removing items that are not necassary, removing personal photos and touching up the walls.  Packing up extra toys, books and cleaning out closets.  This will allow the potential purchasers to view the home and be able to see all aspects, in most cases it makes the home feel bigger.  Box it up and store the filled boaxes in a spare room or garage.

If you have any questions, I would love to hear from you. #susancolgate #williamslakerealestate



Top TIPS for preparing your home for the Market! #2


Buyers and Agents are going to ask a lot of Questions!  So start digging out all your paperwork now: Utility bills, tax bills, any renovations and updates, Any warranty documents, any previous surveys or apprasial, and any contract if applicable (rental, security etc.) If your property is a Strata unit or in a Mobile Home Park, all rules and regulations. 

If you have any questions, I would love to hear from you. #susancolgate #williamslakerealestate


Top TIPS for preparing your home for the Market!

Day 1: Change light bulbs and update light fixtures...

It's easy to forget abou the burnt out light bulbs, especially in rooms you don't use very often but it is REALLY important that your home is as bright as possible.  If you have dated light fixtures it might be worth a small investment to update them.  Bright is Better!!!  

If you have any further questions, I would love to hear from you. #susancolgaterealestate #interiorpropertiesrealestate #susancolgate #williamslakerealestate 


Now is the time to LIST!
Now is the time to prepare your home for the Market.  The Williams Lake are has a number of qualified buyers and there is a shortage of listing.  ILet meknow if you would like a FREE MARKET EVALUATION...  Call Susan 250-267-1088