With the change of seasons, there are certain things you should pay attention to in your outdoor living room. Although here in Southern California we don’t experience the big weather and temperature shifts much of the rest of the country does, there are still some fall updates that you should attend to in order to preserve the integrity of your yard and outdoor furnishings.
With our moderate climate, your garden is still viable. In fact, fall is the perfect time of year to incorporate native California plants, such as Rabbit Brush, California Aster, Seaside Daisy, Cape Sebastian, White Chaparral Currant and many more. Native flora particularly likes the cooler temps and increased moisture of autumn to firmly establish their root systems.
Fall is also the ideal time to plant bulbs such as amaryllis, tulips, daffodils and freesias. Cold soil now is what bulbs need to emerge as beautiful flowers in the spring. Before planting, add mulch and blood and bone meal to the bed for fertilization.
Don’t give up on mowing your lawn just yet. Keep watering it and add fresh grass seed to brown or bare patches. Next, sprinkle with slow-release fertilizer or organic compost or mulch to provide needed nutrients. The moister weather allows new grass seed to germinate while fertilizer strengthens the grass to withstand cooler temperatures. To ensure that sun and fertilizer reach the seeds and grass, rake up leaves and debris and dethatch the lawn. The fall is also a great time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent spring weeds.
Light the Way
With shorter days, you will need to ensure your backyard oasis has enough lighting to make it usable. Although an outdoor fireplace helps provide illumination via entrancing flames, consider adding pathway lights to prevent tripping and falling. Light fixtures with shielded bulbs aimed low along the pathway are best for safety. Solar lights, although environmentally friendly and easy to maintain, are not good light producers. Consider adding an umbrella light to the underside of your outdoor table umbrella for subtle illumination when you are dining al fresco.
Care for Feathered Friends
With the onset of cooler temperatures, birds begin migrating south to Mexico for the winter. This is a fabulous time to watch for warblers, thrushes, sparrows and orioles. Ensure your feathered friends have a good source of drinking water, either in a birdbath or in pot saucers placed throughout your backyard. Be sure to change the water daily so it does not develop algae. Provide suet or seed for birds such as the white-crowned sparrow that winter over in Southern California.
There are a few additional fall updates to take care of. Consider trading out the breezy hues of summer pillows and upholstery cushions with the warm colors of autumn. Clean them with a good brushing or a swipe of a damp towel before stowing them away until next year. As temperatures cool, it may be time to take down umbrellas and shade features. Be sure that any furnishings that might be ruined by rain water are secured. Replace pots of summer blooms with colorful fall plants.
Whatever fall updates you do to prepare your backyard oasis for autumn in San Diego, don’t forget to have seasonal fun. Attend a harvest festival, pick pumpkins, go tide pooling – whatever it is you enjoy doing, make the time to do it!