12 Simple Backyard Improvements to Do This Fall

Last Updated on October 11, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford

Having a backyard to enjoy is a wonderful thing. It’s your private slice of nature that you can escape to any time the mood strikes. However, just like with interior design, putting work and planning into the backyard will help to make a more welcoming, useable, and enjoyable space.

If your backyard is far from inspiring, we’ve got some simple backyard improvements you can do this fall. These tips will ensure it looks cared for and works better for your needs.

1. Trim Back Overgrown Hedges and Trees

1 trim trees this fall

Fall is the perfect time to do some basic pruning of hedges, bushes, and trees. You will get a clear picture of just how much growth took place this year, and how it may be infringing on other areas of your yard, garden, and even the house.

Experts tend to suggest that you do the trimming before the winter weather strikes, while the temperatures are still relatively stable.

If you’re worried about taking off too much, remember that mature bushes and shrubs tend to do better the following spring if you give them a good clipping in fall. And all the information you need about how much to prune your trees, bushes, and hedges is available on the internet.

2. Patch Up the Holes and Dog Proof the Yard

2 dog play area

For pet owners with dogs who like to dig, you may be dealing with an escape artist who is constantly getting out of the backyard – despite having a fence. As well as being a nuisance, this can leave your backyard looking uncared for.

There are a few tips you can use in this situation. You may need to add large rocks along the bottom of the fence or switch to a chain-link fence. You may also want to bury chicken wire along the boundary. If you want to read more about your options, check this guide from Northland Fence: How to keep pets from digging under your fence.

When you can do something more special as your budget allows it, you can create a dog playtime area. This is where only your imagination can stop you from creating something everyone would love, especially your best friend.

Related: 17 Fall Garden Cleanup Checklist

3. Create an Outdoor Lighting Plan

3 outdoor lighting

One of the tell-tale signs that fall is truly here is that it gets darker earlier in the day. This may impact how and when you’re able to use your backyard.

If you still want to be able to sit outdoors in the evening, an outdoor lighting plan can make all the difference in the world. Nowadays you can find so many different styles of lights such as garden lights, rope lights, up-lighting, and so forth – you can truly be creative with your plan.

The great thing about adding outdoor lighting is that it actually increases the security of your home. Most burglars only target those properties that are easy targets.

If you have a lot of lighting outside the house and in your yard, the risk to get caught is simply too high. And you will surely appreciate having better outdoor lights if you just want to have a walk during the night.

4. Heating Lamps Can Extend the Use of the Patio

4 heating lamps

If a fire table isn’t for you, but you still want to create warmth outdoors, then a heating lamp can certainly extend the use of the patio right into the winter months, depending on whether it snows. These can be positioned anywhere on a patio, making them extremely handy.

Each of these tips will help you to improve the functionality and look of your backyard, so you can enjoy it throughout the fall and into the winter season.

5. Keep The Lawn Lush

5 lawn lush

Having the perfect-looking lawn always takes a lot of ongoing maintenance, regardless of the season. It does not matter if it is summer or fall. You will need to make sure your lawn is looking great and this does involve specific tasks.

Check your lawn and get it ready for winter. If necessary, trim it and check for any area that needs some extra attention. Be aware of special care tasks that may be needed because of the weather in the area where you live. Some might be needed.

6. Fine-Tune Firewood Storage

6 firewood storage

One of the preferred ways to spend winter evenings is to sit in front of a cozy fire. You go outside to get some wood and then you light the fire inside the home. The problem is that it is not at all pleasant to collect some wood from a pile that is not arranged.

This fall, take some time to make firewood readily accessible. Also, make sure the wood is protected from the nasty effects of the weather and that it remains dry. You can do this by simply adding an alcove or a shed. Since you would be doing this, you can also make the storage shed look stylish, a big part of the yard.

Start by thinking about where the wood will be placed and consider design options. The storage area needs to be close to your house so it will be very easy to reach. Also, you need to avoid putting wood logs directly against your home. Doing this would welcome critters and they will actually be hidden so they might even find different ways inside the home.

As you create a storage area for your wood, make sure air circulation is perfect under and around the wood. This prevents the development of mold and moisture. Then, keep stacks small, at a height of under four feet. This simply makes it so easy to access wood when you need it.

The last thing to remember is that there might be some local regulations you need to respect in regards to where firewood can be stored. They tend to be strict, especially in areas where it is common to have wildfires. Check the rules first to be sure you do not break them.

7. Corral Tools

7 garden shed

Most people move garden equipment into a garage as winter comes. Why do that when you can easily add an outside storage area or even a garden shed? There are so many kits that are ready to install and available at most hardware stores. You do not need to work too much to put one in place.

Consider the tools that you have, like shovels, rakes, and all your small tools. Then, think about how much space is available. This will help you to choose a suitable storage option of the right size and shape. As a recommendation, when space is limited, you can always opt for a tall shed, one that is not too wide.

It can be good enough to hold your potting soils, pots, all tools, and even a lawnmower. It can be put in one of the corners of the yard.

When you have some extra free time and you are good with DIY projects, you can always opt for a personalized project. Discuss with local builders and craftspeople to see what you can come up with together. For very large projects, you do have to wait until spring comes but with smaller projects, everything is doable during fall.

Related: 25+ Fall Yard Decorations: Make Outdoor Displays with Pumpkins and More

8. Add Some Double-Duty Furniture

8 outdoor furniture

As you surely already figured out, fall backyard upgrades are all about practicality. So, think about what options you have so you could add a bench that has storage to the deck or the patio.

No matter what you choose, it is important the furniture is waterproof. Then, you can simply use your new storage space for an outdoor seating area with some pillows and cushions. Cushions do not really take up space and you will surely like them when you want to spend some time outside.

If you cannot buy new furniture, see if you have some unused planters. They can easily be turned into winter storage. Remove all the dirt and then line the planters for some extra protection. After this, all you have to do is add the items you will store and add some sort of waterproof cover.

9. Add A Walkway

9 garden walkway

If you want to and you can, you can even add two walkways. The premise of this recommendation is that increased accessibility always makes the entire area more enjoyable. Add some paths that can easily be navigated to your winter planting beds, greenhouses, bird feeders, and literally any important area of the yard.

You can easily go for a decomposed granite pathway or a very simple gravel pathway. These would add stability and can simply be removed or altered when they are not needed anymore. This is why they are actually preferred by landscape designers since walkways can easily improve the appearance of a yard and can fit an overall design theme.

If you decide to add something permanent, you can consider pavers, concrete, flagstones, and brick. However, these are projects that will require a more serious time investment. Also, there is a good possibility you will need to hire some professionals. You will depend on the weather so completing the project can become problematic.

10. Fix Your Fences And Gates

10 garden fence

Fall is the perfect time to survey your gates and fences. See if there are signs of damage or weakness. Some repairs can help a lot during this season before inclement weather will make what you found worse.

Fortunately, if you were diligent with your maintenance tasks, most of the necessary repairs will be simple, like replacing a board in your fence, staining, or replacing a lock.

When the damage you notice is more severe, you want to get in touch with professionals as early as possible during the season. They tend to be really busy with such projects during the fall.

Sometimes, the only thing that you can do is to start some patchwork repairs. Even so, this will help a lot to get ready for larger repairs in the future while you also protect your property with the extra protection you add.

11. Add A Cozy Fire Feature

11 backyard firepit

A hot trend for backyards right now is a fire table. These tables provide warmth and ambiance, and you can even roast marshmallows and hot dogs on them. They are perfect for entertaining on a crisp fall day or evening. Because they use propane, you simply turn them on and off just like a BBQ.

Adding a fire table or a fire tip can easily extend the time you spend outdoors during fall and winter. Take advantage of those options using portable gas-fueled sources like propane tanks. A gas model will be clean-burnings, smokeless, and very easy to operate. You just really need to have a stable surface where you add the fire feature. Preferably, choose one with space available for some nearby seating.

You can also go for a more permanent option. The fire table or pit you add can be fueled right from the gas line. When you choose this though, it is important to discuss project details with professionals. You need to respect many regulations and you have to be sure the installation will be completely safe.

Remember that adding fire features always brings in extra safety precautions. You have to see if you need a permit and local regulations need to be respected. Some restrictions about what fuel you could use, the duration of use, and location restrictions can apply.

To make the area safer, be sure to add some sort of fire mat.

Related: 25+ Best Backyard Grill Station Ideas and Designs

12. Get Your Plants Ready For Spring

One of the best things you could do is to build a greenhouse, one with a strong base, filigrees on top, and glass panels. However, this does take time and you might not even be able to get it done by the time winter comes. Fortunately, you can always build a smaller greenhouse, a low-key one where you start some seeds and protect your delicate plants from winter.

A very simple option is the greenhouse kit. You can choose one in various designs and styles. Assembly only takes around a weekend and you just need some extra heat sources when your winters tend to be very cold.