Get Ready for Leaves and Make a Plan

Whether you are bagging leaves, blowing them to the curb for the city or county to vacuum, bringing in family or friends to rake them up and haul them out, composting them, or using them as mulch in your garden, make your plan of action now. Before you know it, leaves will be falling, and they can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t get started early. 

A trend-setting sustainable practice is to utilize all leaf debris as mulch and soil amendment. If your soil has a lot of clay, mulching and then rototilling leaves into the topsoil can help create that healthy layer that is often neglected when backfilling around new construction. If you work with a lawn care service provider, simply ask your service provider to use mulching blades and continue to mow the leaves through November and December. Remember that you must also strike a careful balance with your landscape, as too many leaves can block out the light for those grasses and cause your lawn to die back. 

At the same time that you are tending to your leaves, ensure your gutters are getting the proper attention they require. Ensure your roof, gutter, and downspouts are clear of debris. Blockages of debris can become particularly problematic with heavy fall rains and winter ice storms. If your downspouts lead to an underground pipe, know where it terminates and ensure it is free of debris. Underground blockages can often lead to water issues in your basement. We only use PVC for stormwater. If your existing landscape uses corrugated pipe, it is only a matter of time before it breaks.

And if you are going to clean your gutters yourself, invest in a ladder that stands at least 3 feet above your gutter when leaning against it, or hire a professional. Other common tools for tending to your gutters and underground stormwater solutions, include a backpack blower, pressure washer, Shop-Vac, or plumbing snake. 

Start Your Own Compost 

It’s time to start composting. Between leaves and plant debris from spent flowers, there are plenty of browns and organic material that will make any farmer smile. Grass clippings, not to mention vegetable food scraps, are other examples of nutritional gold that can help to bolster and enrich a compost pile. If you don’t have the space for a compost that is at least 4’ x 4’ with enough room to periodically turn it over with a shovel or pitch fork and sufficient clearance to allow proper air flow, consider purchasing a standing tumbler compost. 

Don’t Forget, Winter is Coming

Once the temperature dips into the twenties in November and December, you will need to make sure that any irrigation systems and outdoor faucets have been turned off and winterized. Before that happens, give all of your shrubs and trees a deep soak. If you have an older hose faucet, turn it off from the inside otherwise, you risk pipes bursting. Fortunately, newer hosecock bibs include valves that actually cut the water off from inside the thermal envelope of the house and therefore do not need to be checked. 

But It’s Not Just About Your Water

As those cool breezes pick up, it is important to take the time to ensure that your home is well-insulated for the winter months. High-value activities can include caulking exterior windows and other penetration points that can let cool air and critters into the house. If you are new to your home, consider scheduling time with an energy auditor to review your home with a thermal camera and identify which areas of the home you are losing the most heat through. 

Tactical Land Care

Tactical Land Care is net-zero to help protect our world and environment for all of us. We specialize in sustainable construction, conservation landscaping, and stormwater management solutions, including permeable hardscape and rain gardens. By working together, we can maximize the ecological benefit of your property.

Your yard endures a twelve-month cycle and our team at Tactical Land Care stands ready to work with you on all your fall and winter maintenance needs. Please give us a call at 703-879-7091, or email us at, where someone from our TLC team will develop a plan with you to help enhance your yard or property for many years to come.



Patrick Moran, PMP, LSC, HIC, LEED | CEO Tactical Land Care

Patrick utilizes his passion for the outdoors along with his professional skills as a licensed Landscape and Home Improvement contractor in Virginia and Maryland, as well as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and LEED Green Associate. Patrick has a BA from Yale University, where he studied climate change and its impact on society.