Prepping Your Home for Fall

By Kristin Boza

With every change of the seasons, there’s a lot of work to be done to prep homes for the next one. Whether you need to clean up the yard after the leaves fall or batten down the hatches in anticipation of a frigid winter, many area businesses can help.


Beverly Environmental:

Beverly Environmental is a group of landscape architects and contractors whose services include fall clean-ups, edging landscape beds, fertilizing, plant installation and hardscape work such as brick paver patios and porches.

Rebecca Moran of Beverly Environmental suggests a fall fertilizer application to winterize your lawn. “A fall clean-up is a must in late November or early December,” she said. “It’s important to cut back perennials and remove all leaves and debris from your landscape beds going into the winter. This also makes getting ready for spring much easier.”

Moran recommends installing shrubs and sod in the fall. “The shorter days and average temperatures make October and early November a good time to transplant perennials and shrubs. Also, don’t forget to plant your bulbs for spring flowers.”

The Care of Trees:

Dan Krug, assistant district manager for The Care of Trees, said that fall is a great time to have your trees inspected by a Certified Arborist. “Doing so can provide a jump start for protecting the trees the following year,” he said. “Control of leaf diseases is done in the spring, so any trees heavily damaged by leaf spot disease can be identified now and a plan for treatment for the following season can be implemented to maintain a tree/landscape.”

Krug also recommends fall pruning. “Pruning lessens the weight in the upper canopies of the trees, which helps lessen stress in the event of a heavy snow or ice storm,” he said. “It also provides the opportunity to inspect for hollow or decay in the larger branching or main stem.”

“Tree care is truly an investment into the property and should be taken seriously. Trees become a part of your property’s personality and can build an emotional reaction for some people,” Krug said.

Kerry Masonry:

Kerry Masonry specializes in roofing and tuck pointing. Pierce Power, president, suggests homeowners inspect their chimneys in the fall to determine if there’s an issue before winter weather hits. “Look up at the chimney and see if you can find any open or cracked mortar joints,” he said. Moisture can weaken the mortar and cause deterioration of the brick when it freezes. If this happens, the brick is useless as it is not supporting the structure.

Olivia’s Garden:

Erin Enright, manager at Olivia’s Garden, said “Pull the weeds, discard any decayed plant material, mulch tender perennials or those most recently planted, add plant materials, such as leaves, to decompose and contribute to the health of your soil, and cut back perennials. Make sure you research which perennials should be cut back, some fare better being left alone until spring.” Olivia’s Garden offers a variety of bulbs and mums. “Some perennials can be planted in the fall, but make sure they are properly mulched only around the base of the plant to keep the roots warm in the winter,” Enright said.


Driscoll Construction:

Greg Driscoll of Driscoll Construction recommends weather-proofing your home for the winter. “All windows should be operable and able to be closed. Any broken glass should be replaced,” said Driscoll. “Also, repair or replace your roof prior to winter, and give your gutters and downspouts some TLC to prevent ice dams that can cause more damage to the roof or plaster interiors.”

Driscoll also suggests completing exterior painting, making sure to caulk or replace wood and tuck point brick. “If you’re planning a project for spring, now is the time to interview contractors and architects to get a feel for who would be best to blend [any new construction with your current home],” he said.

Driscoll typically works on interiors in the fall and winter, such as kitchens, bedrooms and basements.

O’Malley Decorating and Remodeling: 773-445-4582

O’Malley Decorating and Remodeling serves the Beverly/Morgan Park community, specializing in kitchen remodels. Call Mike O’Malley for a consultation.

RMH Interiors:

Local interior designer Robin Harmon loves the challenge of working with a client’s existing furniture and accessories to create something that feels new. In the fall, it’s time to start thinking about holiday design.

“Great holiday gatherings are well-planned and stress-free,” Harmon said. “‘Order early’ is my motto. Often, clients wait until early November to think about adding or changing existing drapery or ordering extra seating for family gatherings. Keep in mind that the holiday season is the busiest time of year for most work room and furniture companies.”

SAFE Electrical Service:

Make sure your home’s electrical system is safe in time for the cold weather and holiday light displays. “Anyone who uses portable heaters should have them on a separate circuit all to itself,” said Charles P. Otstott, owner of SAFE Electrical Service. He recommends dedicating certain outlets specifically for electric heaters and Christmas lights so that they do not overload and start fires.

Tinley Park Kitchen and Bath:

“Now is a great time to work on a construction project. People will soon be getting ready for the Chicago winter and paying more attention to the interior of their homes,” said Vicki Cancialosi who owns of Tinley Park Kitchen and Bath with her husband John. “Doing the project now will give you the update that you want for the holidays.”  Conversely, if you intend to start a project in the spring, now is the time to start planning. “Visit our showroom to see the variety of materials available, work out the details of the plan and get on the schedule,” Cancialosi said.

Uhlmann Home Improvement:

Uhlmann Home Improvement owner George Uhlmann recommends sealing your home as much as possible in preparation for the winter. “Clean out the gutters. We clean out the leaves and roof grids, seal the corners or repair or replace the downspouts,” he said. “Also, check all of your windows and doors for leaks. We offer free inspections. If homeowners have French windows, we can provide new storm windows on the outside or inside.”  The company also replaces garden windows, bay and bow windows, and a full range of doors.

Green Owl Services:

Green Owl Services uses a unique dry system to clean carpets and upholstery. “The moisture and heat used by steam cleaners wreak havoc, not only on the carpet, but on the floors underneath,” said Robert Boldt, owner. “A lot of houses in Beverly have hardwood floors underneath the carpeting. Wood is porous and is susceptible to warping and buckling over time with steam and wet cleaning.”  Green Owl Services uses a product that is Green Seal Certified and completely chemical-free.

Cinderfella Chimney Sweep: 773-238-9700

Cinderfella is a chimney cleaning service integral to keeping your fireplace, furnace flues, and dryer vents clear from damaging debris. They also are able to install rain caps.




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