With the Indian summer in Wisconsin winding down and a beautiful Autumn approaching, there are a few maintenance items to put on the checklist for the month ahead to tackle before the weather turns inclement. The magical colors of fall in the air and surrounding the property of your luxury home will soon be doing more than providing the magic materials for the kids’ jumping piles and art projects.

Each fall, there are a handful of simple tasks to tackle as preventative measures to protect your dream home (and your investment) from the inevitable winter freeze to come. Making the list and checking it twice in early October ensures ample time to prepare, before the exhaustive sprint from Halloween to New Year’s Eve distracts; neglecting some simple details can lead to unnecessary maintenance and cost issues. When the leaves start falling, it’s time to tackle the first big task: yard clean-up and leaf removal.

While many luxury home owners may have a local landscaping or lawn service company assisting with fall yard clean up and winter protection for their landscaping investment, there are many families that welcome the yearly ritual of raking, piling, jumping and burning. There are also 2 ways to repurpose fallen leaves, commonly practiced by lawn care services: compost and mulch. Composting leaves allows for them to be used as an organic fertilizer, while grinding into mulch allows them to be used as a protective covering for plantings.

Once leaves begin to fall on the ground, one can be sure they have also begun to collect in gutters and drains. It is advised that cleaning out gutters twice a year, in fall and spring, will save greatly on maintenance time and cost. Experts will also advise not to wait until the last leaf has fallen in autumn to perform this task, as full gutters may cause unnecessary damage to the home in multiple ways and make cleaning even more cumbersome.

Clogged gutters and downspouts are not merely an annoyance due to water cascading over the sides or contributing to icicle formations; it impedes their intended functionality of moving water down the roof and away from the home’s foundation, allowing for proper drainage. If water drainage isn’t properly directed away from the house, pooling of water around the foundation results in the formation of cracks in the foundation when the water freezes and expands, leading to basement floods. Water overflowing from the gutters can also compromise the siding and paint of any lovingly cared for luxury home.

Additionally, dammed up water will find alternate ways to flow, working its ways into walls and ceilings. Once gutters become filled with debris, the majority of which are leaves, it becomes a sponge soaking up additional precipitation, the weight of which will create stress and ultimately damage both gutters and their brackets. And once the winter freeze is upon us, iced damming becomes an issue as the gutters freeze, forcing water back into the roof, damaging shingles, wood and causing leaks.

The simple solution for homeowners interested in protecting their investment: keep gutters, downspouts and other exterior drains clear of leaves and debris, making it a top priority once the colors change and leaves begin to fall.