Prepping Your Home and Garden for Fall

Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.-Shira Tamir.

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Photography by Abogabir Photography, see more here.

This article was published originally in LivingTC Magazine here.

The end of summer is a wild ride as families in the Mid-Columbia attend the fair, rodeo and any last minute family reunions or summer vacations. Back-to-school shopping seems to take over for parents with school aged kids and the mall is packed with students looking for the right first day of school outfits. Truly August slips by so fast and to borrow from Oscar Wilde, “all at once, summer collapses into fall.”

If you’re like me, I feel a little sorry to see summer go especially because for part of the day, I do not hear my children in the house as they are at school. My attention shifts from making summer memories for my children to prepping my yard and home for the upcoming season. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. No matter your age, you can appreciate the change in scenery with cooler temperatures and the variety of fall colors.

With the welcome cooler temperatures in the fall, it is fun to swap out your home fragrance from summer coconut and beachy scents to warming apple cider, cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Guests will love walking into your home and being greeted with the smell of fall. Put away summer décor, clothing and swim suits and break out the chunky sweaters, jeans and boots. Place thick throw blankets near the couches and replace summer travel guides with fall related magazines, books and décor on your coffee and end tables.

Stock the pantry with items you’ll need to have on hand for fall baking, Halloween Trick-or-Treaters and Thanksgiving company. Items that are useful to stock up on are canned pumpkin, stuffing, spice flavored cake mixes and chocolate chips! If you like to make fruit cobbler, stock up with canned fruit like cherries and peaches in heavy syrup. I like to get fall-themed paper plates and napkins and just have a stockpile in my pantry ready to go.

Easy Peach Cobbler


  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans sliced peaches in heavy syrup
  • ½ cup butter


  • Melt butter in 9 X 13 inch pan.
  • Mix together the flour, sugar, and milk. Pour mixture into the pan. Spread peaches, including syrup, evenly around the pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until the crust turns golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.-Recipe by Nancy,

With a little attention, your yard and home can have a second gardening season in the fall. Fill containers with fall plants and flowers and place around your home. Job’s Nursery in Pasco has a variety of fall shrubs and flowers. Maple and amber colored grasses, succulents and mums look stunning in a fall container garden. Big baskets of mums look very inviting on the front porch and are the perfect, seasonal companions to orange and white pumpkins. Place a beautiful, fall wreath on the front door; add lights next to the door or in the entry way for an extra touch of warmth.

Clear away the summer lawn and patio accessories. Deadhead any flowers and bring in any containers with plants that are sensitive to the cold. Trim any bushes or shrubs that are touching your home so that the wind won’t cause them to brush up against the exterior causing damage. Leave any major pruning to when the trees and shrubs are dormant, after the leaves have fallen and the first frost has come.

The last half of September is when you want to take care to invest in the health of your lawn. Aerating your lawn will improve drainage and open up space for new roots, which will thicken your lawn over time. Also if you have bare spots, overseed in those areas. Little holes from aerating provide a great place for seed to thrive. This is also a great time to fertilize your lawn.

Before winterizing your irrigation system, give your yard a good soaking. Afterward, walk around the outside of your home and make sure that water is draining away from the foundation of the home. Have the sprinklers blown out by a professional. Typically the charge is between $50 to $100 depending on your property and it is worth it to prevent any pipes from freezing and breaking. If you leave for vacation, leave your sinks at a very slow drip to prevent any of your home pipes from freezing and breaking.

Plant tulip and daffodil bulbs in the flower beds and be happy in early Spring that you did! The best time to plant your bulbs are when the temperatures fall below 70 degrees during the day. A striking way to plant tulips is to go for a monochromatic color scheme – all red or all purple. Another fun way is to plant bulbs in succession of when they bloom to maximize your enjoyment of them in the Spring.

Other ways you can prepare your home include clearing any debris from your gutters, having your furnace checked and tuned as well as replacing any furnace filters and air filters in your home. Replace all batteries in the fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. The last thing you need on a busy school night is the chirping of a fire alarm to go off. Make sure any regular maintenance is completed on your chimney or gas fireplace.

Whether you are attending school during the fall or not, hit up the library for a few good reads. Get a new blanket and a favorite warm drink to sip as you enjoy your fall home and garden. Read more seasonal ideas from Alicia Walters at and on Instagram @whenintricities.

More About Fall I Wanted to Write (not published): 

I look forward to the fall more than any other time of the year. Nature speaks more to me in the fall, it seems. Bugs bug off. Temperatures get cool. Light dances through pretty leaves and wind blown leaves crunch and splash like waves in the gutter. 

Around the 2nd week of October I like to drive around in my car looking for beautiful fall leaves. In Kennewick, in addition to Columbia Park, I like to drive up and down W. Grandridge Bld., W. 4th Ave. and W. Canal Drive into Downtown Kennewick. I also like to continue to Finley to Two Rivers Park for beautiful fall scenery. In Richland, in addition to Howard Amon Park, I like to visit Leslie Groves Park in the fall and drive up and down Bellerrive Dr. and take Bradley Blvd. and cut to the Riverfront Trail and walk to Columbia Point Marina Park. In Pasco, I like to take a bike and ride from Chiawana Park to Wade Park along the Sacajawea Heritage Trail. So there are many beautiful places to see gorgeous fall scenery! 

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” For me, fall sometimes feels like the “Monday morning” after an enjoyable summer break. I get a cleaning bug. I want to organize my home and my closet and make long overdue appointments to the hair salon and other regular appointments I’ve been avoiding. I make goals like “drink more water” and “go to bed before midnight” that I never keep. Fall will always be my happy place because growing up, that is when things started to get fun. My family would take a week vacation together to Sun Valley, Idaho and ride bikes along the trails with vivid fall colors on both sides. 

My mom always made decorating and celebrating Halloween so much fun for the kids – a tradition I keep up with for my own. I truly start thinking of costumes in August and what I’m going to do to help my kids have fun this fall. I love the big pumpkin patch events at Bill’s Berry Farm and Country Mercantile. I think that Job’s Nursery in Pasco does a perfect job for families on a budget who want to enjoy the pumpkin patch without the carnival. 

Thanks for reading When in Tri-Cities. I appreciate so much the opportunity to share what I love about this beautiful place. The word is getting out – people are moving here in droves. In the not distant future, it will be a completely different place. It has already changed so much in the eight years we’ve lived here. If you like, please recommend When in Tri-Cities to your friends. Thanks for reading! Alicia Walters 

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by writer Alicia Walters, contributor to print and digital magazines.

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